Finding the Laxian Key


Subtext:  'The Laxian Key'  - for those who may wish to know - is the title of a short story first published in Galaxy Sci-Fi magazine sixty years ago.

Note: This is not the subject here. It only serves as a parallel for a far more real and urgent dilemma. 


The author was Robert Sheckley (1928-2005) and the storyline centred around the chance discovery of an indestructible alien artefact, a so-called 'free producer' dedicated to furnishing unlimited quantities of food for a race of other-worldly beings. Once activated, this machine taps into every type of power source and energy supply imaginable, overproducing so massively that blanketing the surface of an entire planet with its unceasing (and inedible) product is well within its prime directive.  


And it can only be shut down by using something called a Laxian Key, a device whose very nature and whereabouts had become well and truly lost with the passage of time. 


Last line: "...but, if you ever find a Laxian Key, come back. We'll erect ten statues to you!"

Write a new comment: (Click here)
Characters left: 160
DONE Sending...

John Cronin | Reply 08.05.2014 14.46

Thank you, Gerry.
I last read the story in my mid teens so you can imagine just how far back in time that was. But I still recall it. Is it online or on paper?

Gerry | Reply 08.05.2014 01.47

Just read the short story. The last line is "... if you ever find a Laxian key, come back. We'll erect ten statues to you!"

John | Reply 26.03.2014 01.51

I think, Martin, we may have lost ourselves in a maze of emails. Let's start again. Have you read through the entire Laxian Key and did you get my last email?

martin | Reply 26.03.2014 00.31

John. I read John Yorke--2007

Is that it?

John Cronin | Reply 26.03.2014 00.21

Martin, I'll be back in 20 mins. If you're still around, I'll try to sort something out then.

Martin | Reply 25.03.2014 23.32

JOHN! OK, I'm on the site--where's what you want me to read? Why not just attach it to an email, like I did. I'm not trying to be difficult.

t0m | Reply 31.05.2013 16.20


John Cronin 31.05.2013 16.40

Peace. One day at a time.

See all comments

| Reply

Latest comments

19.11 | 11:19

John, how would one know whether or not the observers weren't incorporating their biases into the results? .... Dave

19.11 | 11:12

Correct, David, there are no unbiased observers. But then, the randomness of the technique eliminates the need for such. It can work just as well without them.

18.11 | 21:55

There isn't an unbiased observer to conduct the monitoring, is there?

22.08 | 08:55

if I have described it that way, Keith, it's news to me. I can't see where I've done that but, if so, I can assure you it was quite unintentional.

You liked this page