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"We were essentially being shell-shocked by rapid change. That was one of the things you needed science-fiction writers for back in the Sixties, because we could cope with the future."
- Peter Watts

Rex Regenerator (Mechanotherapist)  
  Mechanotherapy device cures homicidal urges.  

Elwood Caswell was quite mad; but, fortunately, he knew he had a problem and went straight to the 43rd Stree branch of Home Therapy Appliances, Inc.

"...What have you got for homicidal mania?"

The clerk pursed his lips. "Schizophrenic or manic-depressive origins?"

"I don't know," Caswell admitted, somewhat taken aback.

"It really doesn't matter," the clerk told him. "Just a private theory of my own. From my experience in the store, redheads and blonds are prone to schizophrenia, while brunettes incline toward the manic-depressive."

"That's interesting. Have you worked here long?"

"A week. Now then, here is just what you need, sir." He put his hand affectionately on a squat black machine with chrome trim.

"What's that?"

"That, sir, is the Rex Regenerator, built by General Motors. Isn't it handsome? It can go with any decor and opens up into a well-stocked bar. Your friends, family, loved ones need never know--"

"Will it cure a homicidal urge?" Caswell asked. "A strong one?"

"Absolutely. Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models. This is a hefty, heavy-duty, twenty-five amp machine for a really deep-rooted major condition."

"That's what I've got," said Caswell, with pardonable pride.

"This baby'll jolt it out of you. Big, heavy-duty thrust bearings! Oversize heat absorbers! Completely insulated! Sensitivity range of over--"

"I'll take it," Caswell said. "Right now. I'll pay cash."

From Bad Medicine, by Robert Sheckley.
Published by Not known in 1956
Additional resources -

Here are the directions for proper use:

To Operate All Rex Model Regenerators:
  1. Place the Regenerator near a comfortable couch. (A comfortable couch can be purchased as an additional accessory from any General Motors dealer.)
  2. Plug in the machine.
  3. Affix the adjustable contact-band to the forehead.
And that's all! Your Regenerator will do the rest! There will be no language bar or dialect problem, since the Regenerator communicates by Direct Sense Contact (Patent Pending).

Unfortunately, Mr. Caswell was in a hurry, and took the model off the sales floor. Which was intended for use by Martians. Who can't even process the concept of homicide. This turns out to be a problem.

Compare this device with the robot psyche tester from Colony (1953) by Philip K. Dick, Sigrid von Shrink from Gateway (1970) by Frederik Pohl, the machine psychologist from James Blish's Cities in Flight, Dr. Smile, from Dick's 1964 novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Bad Medicine
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Sheckley
  Tech news articles related to Bad Medicine
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Sheckley

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