What is the name of the short story about an attractive, smart teenage girl living on an asteroid with her asteroid-miner parents? They pay a special doctor to make the girl less intelligent and less attractive, to suppress her desire to leave the asteroid and go to college. Early to mid-fifties.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! This is a good start, but maybe there can be some additional details you can add after checking out the suggestions for writing story-identification questions. For example, do you remember where you read it?
    – DavidW
    Apr 1 '19 at 4:12
  • There is at least one other story with the same idea: A man is going to be subjected to have his IQ lowered by a device which he short-circuits; there is also the Vonnegut Harrison Bergeron story. There is yet another story in which a father discourages all curiosity in his bright son but his IQ is measured as too high and the kid is euthanized.
    – releseabe
    Apr 1 '19 at 8:20
  • 1
    Do you remember any of the following details: The mental alteration being called "ego-alter"? The physical alteration being called "re-physical"? A visiting junior physician threatening to resign on the grounds that the procedures were unethical? The senior physician who peformed the procedures brainwashing the junior physician to stay using a drug concealed in an alcoholic drink? Apr 1 '19 at 10:22

"No Charge for Alterations" (full text at Project Gutenberg) by H. L. Gold. Published in 1953 so it matches your time frame.

It's set on the planet Deneb and the girl is Avis Emery.

Dr. Kalmar went to his office and had his nurse, Miss Dupont, send in the first patient. It was a girl of 17, Avis Emery, who had been brought by her parents. She sat sullenly, dark-haired, too daintily pretty and delicately shapely for a frontier world like this, while Mr. Emery put the file from Social Control on the doctor's desk.

"We're farmers--" the man began.

Dr. Kalmar interrupted, "The information is in the summary. Avis is to be assigned her mate next year, but she wants to go to Earth and become a nightclub singer. She refuses to marry a boy who'd be able to help around the farm, and she won't work on it herself." He looked up severely at the parents. "This is your own fault, you know. You pampered her. Farm labor is too valuable for pampering. We can't afford it.

  • Had to look for the text; yes they really call the planet "Deneb." It's justified in-story, but I still think it sounds strange.
    – DavidW
    Apr 1 '19 at 16:20

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