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Can You Name This Story? (Part 37)

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for the title of a story read long ago.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

Sometime in the mid 1950s I read a short SF story (in a collection) about an alien entity that devoured its prey through the medium of television (which was a new and mysterious thing then). As the home-alone children watched, transfixed, the screen flickered “feed”. Then one day shortly thereafter, the TV screen flickered “fed”. You can guess what had happened.

– Harvey F.

Can you name this story?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

8 Comments on Can You Name This Story? (Part 37)

  1. Sounds like “The Twonky” by Henry Kutter & C.L. Moore. The device in the story is described more as a radio, but there was a bad 1953 movie adaptation that made it a tv.

  2. Cory smith // July 10, 2015 at 5:16 pm //

    sounds a little like “The Veldt” by Bradbury too, though I don’t remember the “feed” “fed” part in that… hmmm

  3. Mark Stackpole // July 10, 2015 at 6:29 pm //

    Rather than “The Twonky” (which was about a radio console), I think the killer TV story is Richard Matheson’s “Through Channels” (F&SF April 1951, reprinted many times).

  4. Sorry, Cory, but it’s definitely not “The Veldt”.

  5. Cory smith // July 10, 2015 at 8:19 pm //

    yeah Veldt was way off when I revisited it, I think Mr. Stackpole has it, here is a fan made youtube video of the short story “through channels”

  6. Definitely Matheson’s “Through Channels”. The story is told as a recording of an interview of a kid by a police detective after something has happened at the kid’s home. He describes seeing mouths on the screen at random times and the letters F-E-E-D. His parents thought it was just commercials of some kind. He comes home one night and finds something greasy and stinky on the floor in front of the set, his parents missing. On the screen one of the E’s fades away and the other three letters come together spelling out the new word.


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