It does, however, stand as a poignant reminder of a time when a mushroom cloud could serve as a symbol of natural wonder, rather than man-mind destruction….
Using a variation of the gun-propelled vehicle concept popularised by Jules Verne in his lunar adventures, this story posits a future where vessels launched from gigantic cannons are regularly used as a method of passenger flight faster than conventional aircraft. But despite her intelligence she fails to keep her mind on her job, instead being distracted by thoughts of home-owning and marriage, and her craft is hit by disaster: it overshoots its target destination of New York and lands in the sea. In the water, it hits a rusted-up World War I-era submarine — with bizarre results.
The impact awakes an occupant of the submarine, one Lieutenant Commander Roger Wells, who had been lying in a state of suspended imagination for two centuries. Despite feeling like a relic in this strange new era, Roger possesses a hands-on knowledge seemingly missing from the modern world, and hits upon a way of blasting the projectile out of the sea using radium. In this story by a German author, traveller Sir George William Armstrong meets a yogi who tells him of a small valley in the Himalayas that is purportedly inhabited by demons.
Sir George and his companion John Bannister travel to the valley and find not demons but enormous plants — species that seem to Armstrong so strange as to be almost demonic. In the middle of a glade is a flower nearly ten-feet in height, which suddenly grabs Sir George with an internal appendage and swallows him. Bannister hacks the plant open to save him; George turns out to be alive, but so traumatised that he later dies in an insane asylum.
But then the awful thing came to pass. The flower slowly opened, and something bright and flesh-colored shot out of it. What darted so suddenly?
Was it the sucking arms of an octopus? Was it the soft arms of a woman? From Sir George there came a scream that cut to the very marrow, and John Bannister, frozen stiff with fright, saw his master lifted by his shoulders, up, higher and higher, saw him hanging for a couple of seconds in uncertain balance, and finally disappearing slowly into the calyx of the atrocious, malignant flower, whose petals once more drew themselves together with a start.
In this way Sir George celebrated a symbolic marriage with nature, a festival more overcoming, but also more horrible than that for which he had prepared himself. The magazine takes pains to make a case for the botanical plausibility of this story. The editorial introduction stresses the existence of plants that can eat small mammals; while printed alongside the story are a photograph illustrating the cross-section of an insectivorous plant, and a short article reprinted from Science and Invention about large flowers such as the Amorphophallus titanum.
The two engineers agree on an unorthodox method: they hold their duel on an elaborate deathtrap that will electrocute whichever one falls over; their weapons are poles which they use to knock each other to the deadly platform below. The duel ends in a terrible draw as both men knock each other over at the same time. Reprinted from a issue of Science and Invention , this one page story is so short that it is not even listed in the contents page.
It is also presented as a report of a genuine incident — at least until the very end, when Gernsback delivers a punchline by revealing the whole affair to be a dream he had after eating Welsh rarebit before bedtime. A dream of the rarebit fiend, as Winsor McCay would have put it…. Accompanied by his friend Brian, the narrator of this story visits an acquaintance, one Dr. There, the doctor performs an unsightly act: he applies a greenish-black substance to his arm, causing the flesh to blacken and shrivel; he then slices off the affected portion of flesh and carries on with his work.
The protagonist explains to the reader that such behaviour makes him uncomfortable around the doctor, despite their friendship. Before they depart, the doctor shows the two visitors a stone cat. Shortly after this visit, Brian disappears. The narrator recruits a detective nephew, Richard, to find his missing friend.
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Fleckinger finds them, but after a scuffle, Richard succeeds in throwing the doctor into a vat of the mysterious liquid. A brief story built around an effective but not particularly original image. The protagonist is placed in such dire straits that he is forced to kill a fellow survivor, although he finds time to contemplate the workings of the Martians and their various machines; he theorises that the aliens may once have been closer to humans, but their evolution forced them down a strange path as they grew increasingly dependent on their technology.
The War of the Worlds is one of the truly canonical works of science fiction, and its influence on the field will be felt for generations to come. Its brooding conclusion is also an appropriate addition to an Amazing Stories issue which has — between extraterrestrial diseases, chemically-created spectres, man-eating plants, electric deathtraps and people being turned to stone — been rather morbid in its choice of subject matter.
Meanwhile, the contest entries inspired by the December cover are still being discussed.
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Alfred H. Richards praises Cyril G. Frank Kallenberg states that he considered entering the contest himself; but instead of a story, the cover illustration of a floating device inspired him to try out an engineering experiment. A great many of the would-be scientists try to weave an air of mystery about this topic and their reasoning for the most part is hazy and absurd.
A couple of readers were inspired to draw parallels between fact and fiction. Robert M. Gerfin submits a Philadelphia Enquirer clipping about a newly-discovered variety of tree which reminds him of the arboreal horrors in A. William C.
The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 1: Beyond Lies the Wub
Dreher, Jr. It must be a germ. On a more positive note, British reader A. He then goes on to enthusiastically state his familiarity with the real-life locations used in The War of the Worlds. Edgar Luia compares A. If age is merely an exhaustion of cells, what else should a youth-giving potion do but rehabilitate a person by rejuvenating the cells?
This intimacy was a feature of all journeys made by a small number of people. This is most obvious when the White Lady, who has hidden in the middle of the valley, probes the man as he approaches:. With a shock she realised that the monsters mind was almost empty of surface mental processes. Below the shallow layers of surface thought its mind was a dreadful thing. The finding of the living-rock was equated with the concepts of wealth, sexual achievements, social power and status. Ignorance rather than ambition had brought the human here. It did not understand the forces within it, and it believed that possession of the living-rock would satisfy its needs and somehow atone for the wasted years of its past life.
She should not be wasting time. While she escapes the two fur sprites distract the man by throwing snowballs at him, but they are shot and killed. The man recovers their bodies, and the White Lady senses that this is so he can eat them later: she and the others are horrified, and they follow him in order to recover their fallen comrades.
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When the man stops they distract him and retrieve the two dead sprites. The story concludes with the group returning to Homeland. En route they meet the troll from the prologue and, as they approach the seam of living rock spoiler , the man arrives and the story comes to a bloody and brutal climax, one which is even more jarring given the almost fairytale feel of most of the rest of the story.
Whereas the first two could be identified as the work of a new writer, this one is considerably more polished. In this one the scientist invents a highly calorific substance called DMM. Brain Wave by Stuart Palmer 3 and Jennifer Palmer has a college student telepathically contacted by aliens:. But there it was, a little lost erratic light where no light should reasonably be. He could see it just as well with his eyes closed as open, which was odd.
The apparition was faintly prismatic, in subdued technicolor. And it was somehow attractive, too—just as a lure skipping the surface of a stream might be attractive to a fish down below. The message now seemed to come clearer and stronger.
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