A short story in Isaac Asimov's series of robot stories about Elijah Baley and Daneel Olivaw. In "Mirror Image", Elijah must solve a problem concerning two mathematicians. Each mathematician has accused the other one of stealing his important idea. The mathematicians are Spacers and will not submit to being interrogated by an Earthman. Elijah has to find out who is guilty by interviewing their robot servants, although robots will lie if ordered to do so or to protect humans from harm.

"Mirror Image" is the 21st episode of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in February of 1960. It starred Vera Miles, most famous for her role in Psycho. This is the second episode of the Twilight Zone, after The Hitch-Hiker, to feature a female protagonist.

Millicent Barnes, a young career woman, is waiting in a bus station (probably Greyhound, although this is not specifically stated), in Upstate New York. The bus is late, and the ticket agent is churlish: when she asks him about the late bus, he tells her that she has asked three times already, although she doesn't remember asking at all. And then she sees her suitcase behind the counter, and becomes increasingly mystified about what is going on.

I was mystified as well, and this is perhaps my favorite Twilight Zone episode so far. Although I have liked Twilight Zone episodes that attempt hard science fiction, I like the show more as a purveyor of the eerie than as either a science-fiction or horror program. The mystery in this episode is signalled in the most subtle ways possible: a misplaced suitcase, a unremembered conversation, a flash of reflection in a bathroom mirror. Although the episode does eventually offer a half-explanation, it doesn't even need to do that: the crux of the episode is in the mere feeling that there are unexplainable inconsistencies in our environment. Perhaps I understood this episode myself because its setting is so mundane, and states of disassociation in Greyhound bus stations are a way of life with me.

Another thing about this episode was how The Twilight Zone managed to both predict and avoid "The Sixties". If this episode was shown 10 years later, viewers would have immediately taken Barnes' lapses in reality as a "bad trip". There is something psychedelic about this episode, but it hardly matches the bright, vibrating day glo psychdelia of the Summer of Love. After all, "The Twilight Zone" is a place of muted color, and a place of mystery, not revelation. The fragmented glimpse of reality in this episode was ahead of the gentler psychedelia that would grip American culture in five year's time.

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