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Cover – Beyond the End of Space – Two Short Novels by John W. Campbell Jr.

Beyond the End of Space – Two Short Novels by John W. Campbell Jr.

Two short novels that warn how great inventions can be stolen and used by unscrupulous power brokers to enrich only themselves and control the world.

Book Details

Book Details

Beyond the End of Space – Two short novels that warn how great inventions can be stolen and used by unscrupulous power brokers to enrich only themselves and control the world.

The Battery of Hate (1933)

Bruce Kennedy saw the good his invention of the fuel battery would bring the world. A plate of graphite, cheaper and more plentiful than coal, down there in the Archiazoic Period, oxygen from the air, a plate of copper, plated with a thin layer of gold merely to collect current, and a cheaply made solution. Power. Power as he said, at “ten dollars a ton.”

• • •

Gardner had been looking at his desk, thinking deeply, his head in his hands. He looked up slowly. “My God, man, he’ll ruin the world! It’s going to ruin ME. I won’t have a cent left after this panic gets over.” His face was going white. Oil— dead! Power— dead! Automobile corporations— save one— dead!” His voice took on a cold, steely menace. . . . God, but he hated the man who invented that battery!

An eleven chapter short novel.

Beyond the End of Space (1933)

“What were the aims?”

“Energy of matter,” replied Warren grimly.

“Hmmm—that would cause an earthquake. In fact it might well cause several dozen earthquakes. It would certainly cause an earthquake on Wall Street.

• • •

Nestor’s eyes were bright. There was a calculating gleam behind them. “That’s an interesting theory, and quite possible— if you really did succeed in smashing the atom.”

“But I didn’t. I destroyed it. It wasn’t merely broken, it was annihilated, I believe.”

A nineteen chapter, two part serial novel.

John Wood Campbell Jr. (June 8, 1910 – July 11, 1971) was an American science fiction writer and editor. He was editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact) from late 1937 until his death and was part of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Campbell wrote super-science space opera under his own name and stories under his primary pseudonym, Don A. Stuart.

Beyond the End of Space has 3 illustrations.


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Excerpt: Beyond the End of Space

Chapter I

HOLD ‘er there for a while, Tom. I want to get three more electroscopes and a recording bolometer. The thermopile doesn’t record, you know. The recording electroscope will give us a photographic record— but no immediate information as the experiment progresses,” called Dr. Randolph Warren, He swung himself to the three-inch thick fused quartz tube, wrapped his hands around its milky column, and slid down the shaft forty feet to the ground below, A whining hum of electric motors and the slap-slap-slap of the silk ribbons mounting to the huge aluminum sphere above, drowned out the call of Tom Blamen, inside the sphere. Tom wanted to know if he might try the thing on low voltage once. Tom didn’t get an answer, but he looked at the meters, and saw a needle quivering at the point marked “17” on the master meter.

“17,000,000— and I’ll have to discharge somehow before he can place the ladder to climb back. It’s a shame to waste all that—” He looked out of his observation window, a conducting window made of two sheets of plate glass separated by a layer of dilute sulphuric acid. Set in the aluminum sphere it maintained the conductivity of the metal across the gap.

Twenty-five feet away a weird mushroom rose from the concrete floor of the concrete laboratory. Set on a tripod of carefully designed insulators, the half-sphere seemed some strange growth. The polished aluminum with its discharge points pitted and scarred by the lashing force of terrific discharges was joined to the sphere by a clear tube of fused quartz. This seemed swollen half-way between, and the three-inch tube opened to the size of a foot-ball. Around this swelling, held in position by strings of insulators depending from the ceiling twenty feet above, were three tremendous magnets. The swelling in the tube contained a smaller globe or sphere and in this was a filament of iron wire. The inner tube was very highly evacuated, one of the dozen tubes Sanderson brought back with him from his voyage to space beyond the earth’s atmosphere in fact. In 1952 there had been a dozen tubes, now in 1955, only three years later, but four remained, so those absolutely evacuated tubes were very valuable. Opened, then sealed while in empty space, they were the only EMPTY tubes on earth. It spoke of the importance of this experiment that the University had permitted this tube to be used.

Blamen’s gaze shifted back to the mushroom tower, down its insulated base to the powerful electric motor which drove a white ribbon of silk. The ribbon of silk brushed against a bit of CHARGITE, a specially designed compound which gave the silk a charge of electricity, The endless belt whisked the charge up to the sphere above, where points collected it and carried it away to the sphere. Like an endless-chain bucket conveyor the silk ribbon was bringing electric charges up, as a similar ribbon carried equal—but opposite charges to the control sphere where he sat.

Tom Blamen was in a whirl of hesitancy and doubt. He looked nervously about. He could discharge the spheres in a bolt of lightning to the heavy metal conductors thirty-five feet away by simply running out the discharge-arms. But it seemed a waste of energy—

Ran Warren was back— he stood in the door looking up at the man in the window of the sphere.

“Shall I discharge through the tube?” asked Blamen, eagerly.

Warren didn’t hear, but as anyone might, nodded in annoyance, “Yes—discharge to towers— send down the ladder, of course.”

Blamen accepted it as authority to do what he wanted. He gave a glance at the dials —17.6 million volts now— He stopped the motors, and the bands slowed with a doleful slap-slap-slap. He threw another switch, and the three enormous magnets surged with terrific, hitherto unused, power, a magnetic field of compressive force, three tremendous magnetic fields opposing each other, and pressing down simultaneously on that little inner tube. The fine iron filament-wire trembled. Suddenly it burst into blazing, explosive incandescence as a tremendous current rushed through it— and simultaneously the terrific, stored energy at 17.6 million volts smashed through the iron vapor in the little tube. Seventeen and six tenth millions of volts leaping across a gap of eight inches!

Warren leaped forward in amazed surprise. “Tom, you fool— don’t—” He stopped, and froze as a terrible cry came to his ears.

In the tube a light had formed. The discharge was all over— should have been. But in the tube was a virulent thing that glowed some indescribable color, a violet so tremendously deep that it seemed a red-black. A wave of energy struck Warren, that made him throw a protective hand across his eyes, and stagger back from that room of incandescence, back, and out to the corridor beyond. His eyes were in torture, his whole body felt crisp and dry. Still that terrific light was glowing around the corner of the door, beating out at him, and still the feeling of heat and some terrible, impact of energy parched his body. There were faint mutterings, shakings and quivers in the building now, the light from within was growing stronger. Suddenly there was a terrific explosion. The light grew bluer, and more brilliant, it seemed to increase rapidly, and the man staggered under a wave of beating, destroying energy, invisible, but terribly tangible.

Then in an instant it was over, and only a heaving and restless movement of the building remained. Warren slumped to the floor as cries of panic echoed from other parts of the Heavy Apparatus Laboratories.

A crowd of men was collected about him, a doctor bending over him and two stretcher bearers nearby, when he regained consciousness. He groaned in agony as he woke. His whole body was stiff and sore. He could feel a terrific coat of sunburn over all its surface except where something as thick as his belt or shoes had protected him.

“Burn— radiation burn of some kind. Take him to the infirmary and coat him with 732-aE. It’s serious. How’s the other man?”

“Dead— very. Burned raw, and looks as though he might have been electrocuted first. We’d better clear out, the wall is cracked badly.”

“Wh—what happened?” asked Warren blankly and inanely.

“If you don’t know, nobody can tell you, Warren,” replied Jordan of Chemical Processes, who stood beside him now. “You started an earthquake though that darned near knocked the building down. We all left, then discovered you two hadn’t, and came back. You were lying here, and Blamen— he’s gone, Ran,” he concluded gravely.

“Blamen— started the tube— something happened. I called him and told him to discharge to the towers— to the ground— but he discharged through the tube. Is the apparatus all right?” Warren asked anxiously.

“The Sanderson Tube is gone— everything else O.K.”

Warren groaned. “Oh Lord, I could replace anything but that!”

The stretcher bearers were carrying him away before he got a chance to say any more, and the pain of the burns came back. He groaned softly. “The Sanderson tube!”

Excerpt From: John W. Campbell, Jr.. “Beyond the End of Space”

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