In this short story, a male character commutes to or from work. He's constantly in conversation with his wife at home. If I remember correctly, there's also always music in all the places he goes through (like, train/bus station, carriages on the train, etc). At one points, for just one minute, he turns his "phone" device off and this creates panic for his relatives.

I believe this is by Ray Bradbury, but unsure.

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    Likely a duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/162587/… and scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/141994/… (The Murderer by Ray Bradbury).
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 21:55
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    The panic scene is when the protagonist is on a bus and turns on a diathermy machine to block all electronic communication: I switched on my diathermy! Static! Interference! All wives cut off from husbands grousing about a hard day at the office. All husbands cut off from wives who had just seen their children break a window! The “Vienna Woods” chopped down, the canary mangled. Silence! A terrible, unexpected silence. The bus inhabitants faced with having to converse with each other. Panic! Sheer, animal panic! Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 4:19
  • Another science-fiction-becomes-fact book, except that vocal communication has become written communication. Heck even music everywhere all the time is accurate!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


As per Valorum's comment, this is probably Ray Bradbury's "The Murderer".

A psychologist exits the noisy environment to confront a patient confined to a small safe-room. The psychologist notes that its patient has ripped the radio out of the wall to silence it. The room seems unnaturally quiet to the psychologist, yet the patient seems perfectly at ease, even happy. The patient, Albert Brock, calls himself 'The Murderer', and demonstrates his murderous ability by destroying the psychologist's wrist radio.

Questioning reveals that the man had one day been driven mad by the constant expectations of communication inflicted upon him by society- his wife and children could speak with him whenever they wished, wherever they were; any person could call on him, and many did, simply to make use of their communications devices. He gives a striking image of a world in which humans are constantly bombarded by music, advertisement, propaganda and communication. He then describes his revelation; that if he shut off his phone, he could not be bothered by it. When he arrived home on that day, he discovered his wife, frantic at being out of touch with him for so long. This apparently drives home to him their terrible addiction to technology of communication. He begins to destroy things - his phone, his wrist radio, the televisor, any thing that could disrupt the peace he seeks. The man regrets only destroying the Insinkerator, which he used to mangle another piece of equipment. The Insinkerator, a sink drain disposal, he says, was a machine with a good solid purpose which did not disturb him with its functions, did not demand his attention, which only functioned when he asked it to.

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