The Midas Plague by Frederik Pohl

SFFaudio Online Audio

“the curse of want gives way to the curse of plenty”
-Frederik Pohl, in the anthology Nightmare Age

Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, as a part of “The Shape of Things to Come” season in 1991 (a series of plays looking at the future) The Midas Plague was adapted from the acclaimed novella by Frederik Pohl.

Now, thanks to the terrific service RadioArchive.cc you can experience this positively smirk inducing satire of a consumer society flipped on it’s head.

Here’s my description of the premise:

Morey Fry lives in a post-scarcity world where cheap production has made commodities, consumer goods, and food ubiquitous. The “poor” are forced to spend their lives in a constant state of frantic consumption, continually upgrading their devices, clothes, jewelry, and appliances. But “poor” Morey can only wear-out his shirts so fast, and taking double cream in his coffee is giving a sick feeling. Meanwhile a black market in counterfeit ration book stamps flourishes, yet Morey is an honest man. When poverty stricken Morey marries a “rich” girl from the right side of the tracks they move into his well appointed mansion. There, the efficient household staff of robot butlers, valets, maids, cooks, and footmen foist endless consumer goods upon them both at a furious rate, something that upsets Morey’s new “wealthy” spouse – after all she’s is accustomed to a certain luxurious lifestyle.

The Midas Plague, illustrated by Emsh - from Galaxy, April 1954

BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccThe Midas Plague
Adapted by Mark Power from the story by Frederik Pohl; Performed by a full cast
1 MP3 (via TORRENT) – Approx. 44 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: September 4, 1991

Directed by Alec Reid

Cast:
Morrey Fry – Michael Drew
Cheri Fry – Diane White
Howland – Alan Covenay
Judge Elon – Eric Allen
Grace Elon – Caroline Hunt
Semmelweiss – Nick Chivers
Newman – Nick Chivers
Fairless – Clarence Smith
Sam – Clarence Smith
Wally – Richard Pearce
Blaine – Richard Pearce
Tanaquil – Catherine Neal
Wainwright – Fraser Kerr
Henry, the Robot – Geoffrey Collins
Profirio – Geoffrey Collins

More illustrations from the publication in Galaxy, April 1954:
The Midas Plague, illustrated by Emsh - from Galaxy, April 1954
The Midas Plague, illustrated by Emsh - from Galaxy, April 1954

The Midas Plague can also be found in…
Ballantine Books - Nightmare Age edited by Frederik Pohl

and…
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume II, B

Posted by Jesse Willis

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