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Radio Drama: "Subject 428A" (1964)

Subject 428A"Subject 428A"

Original air date: October 2, 1964, from the series Theatre Five.

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Thoughts Before Listening

I’m thinking this will be about a prisoner or a patient or an experiment or a prisoner patient experiment. Also thinking that it would be really neat if this was about zombie unicorns. It probably isn’t. It might be though.

Thoughts While Listening

A very angry fellow is saying that his name is Adam Gates and he is warning us that no one is going to call him Subject 428A. I think it is safe to assume that this story is going to be about how someone tries to call him that anyway.

Please let Adam be a zombie unicorn please please please please.

There was a gunshot and I think Aforementioned Adam said ‘I warned you! And that goes for all of you!’ The more I think of this, the less sense it makes.

A kindly gentleman called Max who sounds like he is an elderly hobbit is telling us this is a taped recording which, on his death, will be taken to the Council of Philosophers who will decide whether or not to play this for the FBI OMG WHY IS THAT SO ADORABLE.

When I think of ‘Council of Philosophers’, I think of Gandalf, Dumbledore and Santa Claus sitting at a picnic table talking about art.

I have a very poor understanding of the phrase ‘Council of Philosophers’.

Some key questions have just been asked and answered- Who killed Filo Benton? Adam Gates. Who killed Adam Gates? Filo Benton.


Roommate just asked if I was listening to a Bollywood movie.

So Filo Benton is a science person who was lecturing other science people. Adam Gates was there but he was not supposed to be there because he was an English instructor and in those days, it was against American culture for English instructors to attend science lectures. Also there was a computer.

Wow ok so Filo was conducting experiments on Max and Adam and other people which involved being hooked up to machines and being asked personal questions. So rude and also Scientology.

Max never thought to ask what these experiments were for because maybe that seemed like a good idea to him at the time.

I suddenly feel really bad for Tom Cruise but not so much for John Travolta.

Filo was dating “Adam’s girl”. What if when people say ‘so-and-so’s girl’, they actually mean ‘so-and-so’s toilet cosy’?

Max was classy and referred to her as a ‘young lady.’ I guess like most women, she doesn’t have a name.

This is a Bollywood movie actually.

Google says there’s no such thing as a toilet cosy.

Filo and Adam are fighting now. Words like ‘bosh’ and ‘bunkum’ are being thrown hither and thither with absolutely no regard for Indian culture or American culture even.

Max just said ‘Why don’t you stop being so personal- it’s rather embarrassing you know.’ Max is a classy guy but he doesn’t ask what’s up when people do experiments on him.

So Filo took enormous amounts of data from everyone and this was absorbed by the computer, which, apart from being highly absorbent, is “the most remarkable instrument ever devised by any man in the history of the world”. This computer now knows everything about everybody and can predict every action of every person all the time forever.





Maybe not Microsoft paint. Or maybe it is idk.

Filo just said no one has ever had free will and Adam is like nuh-uh, Shakespeare and a number of white dudes, including himself, have/used to have free will so there.

How come only white dudes get all the cool stuff like free will?

Adam and Max are now meeting in a coffee shop. We know it is a coffee shop because there are birds tweeting.

Adam can’t believe that anyone would want a life where our entire personalities are reduced to something you can put into a computer.

He’s says this like it’s a bad thing.

There are a lot of birds inside this coffee shop.

Adam is going to prove he has free will by revealing that he roots for the Washington Senators.

This is probably not the most effective way to prove you have free will imho.

Adam is now trying to have a showdown and Filo is like yeah but I already knew all this was going to happen because of my awesome computer skills and Adam is like you know I don’t like onions and Filo is like yeah and Adam is like BUT I HAD STEWED ONIONS FOR LUNCH MOTHERFUCKER

He didn’t say motherfucker actually.

What are stewed onions?

Google has some very depressing pictures of stewed onions.

While I was investigating stewed onions, Aforementioned Adam got shot.

Why do I feel this was my fault?


Ok the most absorbent and remarkable instrument ever devised by any man in the history of the world knew Adam had a gun but for some reason didn’t know Max had a gun.

Acquaintance suggests that this may have been because Max was hiding the gun in his “science pants”.

Max has now killed Filo and all the scientific people are destroying the computer, which sounds like it is made from very sturdy timber.

Max just said that he did all that for our freedom which kinda makes me feel bad but not really.

Thoughts After Listening

This was great, not because the computer that knew everything clearly didn’t know everything, but because the humans killed it with free will and we won. I’m a fan of free will narratives because nowadays, thanks to technology, scientific progress and multiculturalism, free will is portrayed as something everyone might have. So later, when the machines or aliens or mutant lawn furniture try to take over the world, all of us can free will like the dickens and win all the wars. Even if we don’t have science pants. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.