The Automated Goliath – William F Temple (1962)
‘Man – yes; Machine – no!
While the age of automation had brought leisure and luxury to Earth, it was also bringing disaster down upon the human race. For a group of unmerciful migratory monsters settled down on Earth, to enjoy for themselves the results of our progress. In no time at all, they would be able to turn the world of automation into one single master machine, which they alone would control.’
Blurb from the 1962 F-129 Ace paperback edition
Magellan is intrigued when a rather forceful woman insists that she will be buying his home in Hampstead. Little does Magellan realise that the woman is working on behalf of the Mackees, alien invaders who have exploited humanity’s need for automation in order to take control of the planet.
Magellan, and presumably Temple, is against the impersonal automation of the jobs that humans used to do. In an odd moment of prescient extrapolation he describes a time when one may visit a bank and not speak to a human teller at all. In fact, your withdrawal will be dispensed from a machine along with a printed receipt showing your balance.
The Mackees also have devices built into TVs that can mass-hypnotise the world so their victory is soon complete.
It is up to Magellan to defeat the invaders and take back back the Earth.
It’s nice to see a British view of such shenanigans. The action, a refreshing change, is centred in the UK and, at the finale, an alien world.
It’s definitely one of the more readable Ace Doubles, oddly structured with other character viewpoints in a couple of sections, but is not really anything out of the ordinary.