ng as though still dazed by the impact of the experience, but he was not the Pollard who had entered the chamber! He was transfigured, godlike! His body had literally expanded into a great figure of such physical power and beauty as we had not imagined could exist! He was many inches taller and broader, his skin a clear pink, every limb and muscle molded as though by some master sculptor.
The greatest change, though, was in his face. Pollard's homely, good-humored features were gone, replaced by a face whose perfectly-cut features held the stamp of immense intellectual power that shone almost overpoweringly from the dear dark eyes. It was not Pollard who stood before us, I told myself, but a being as far above us as the most advanced man of today is above the troglodyte!
He was stepping out of the cube and his voice reached our ears, clear and bell-like, triumphant.
"You see? It worked as I knew it would work! I'm fifty million years ahead of the rest of humanity in evolutionary developme
Was suprised at this, because having read Hamilton's great novel on here I expected this to be better. Sadly, it seemed rushed, ill-thought out and too pulpish for my liking. You can see what's coming, and the characters are badly drawn. Seems the author just wanted to pass on his message/idea on evolution and that kind of ruined what might have been a better story.
Augh! We're all going to be giant brains on the floor! Make it stop! Can't anyone make evolution stop!?!
No. But Edmond Hamilton can make it accelerate to a rate of fifty million evolutionary years for every fifteen minutes under the ill-conceived cosmic-ray lens. I've read a handful of Mr. Hamilton's stories, and I love their rough-cut disconnection from reality, especially the, uh, "science" part of reality. It seems that Hamilton did not let his tenuous grasp of any field of inquiry stand between him and a good yarn. I read this story when I was a kid (in Isaac Asimov's anthology The Golden Years, I think), and it made a big impression. I still think it's a lot of fun, with a few Gothic elements, including the complete destruction of the unholy site of the events and a survivor who ends up giggling mad in a sanitarium.
I had just finished Hamilton's City at Worlds End, which I enjoyed, and gave this a try. I was disappointed in the basic premise and had hoped for more. It is a short read, however, and if you are a fan of these early short-story sci-fi works you may want to give it a quick read.
This short story will appeal to fans of old 1950's scifi movies, as well as fans of the old Outer Limits series. In fact, it reminded me of an episode from that series called "The Sixth Finger", which also dealt with an experiment in evolution. Look past the bad science, and view it as a horror story.