An unidentified space ship lands in a Colorado lake. Equipped with a paralyzing ray weapon, the creatures begin taking human prisoners. A loan land surveyor and a journalist are trapped inside the Army cordon, which is helpless against the mysterious enemy. Can they stop the aliens before it is too late?
voice came through again, at once raging and despairing, "They won't believe me. They'll think I'm a crackpot. You get the news to somebody who'll investigate. I see the thing, Lockley. I can see it now. At this instant. And Jill's over at the construction camp--"
Lockley was unreasonably relieved. If Jill was at the camp, at least she wasn't alone with a man gone out of his mind. The reaction was normal. Lockley had seen nothing out of the ordinary, so Vale's report seemed insane.
"Listen here!" panted Vale again. "The thing came down. There was a terrific explosion. It vanished. Nothing happened for a while. Then it came up and found a place where it could come to shore. Things came out of it. I can't describe them. They're motes even in my binoculars. But they aren't human! A lot of them came out. They began to land things. Equipment. They set it up. I don't know what it is. Some of them went exploring. I saw a puff of steam where something moved. Lockley?"
A fairly absorbing story of a space ship that lands in a remote lake and begins to manipulate the military and government actions using a paralysing ray. A government surveyor grabs a woman he has a crush on, and tries to escape the area to bring what he's learned to the authorities.
It's a cold war story, and the attitudes of people reflect the time. The hero is so resourceful and inventive that the invaders are almost no match for him. The ending reflects a politics and society that is long gone.
The writing kept me reading and ignoring implausibilities.
Sorry to contradict all the other reviewers here, but I found this book predictable, even while recognising that it's a book of a certain era.
The conclusion is a real disappointment. You can see what's coming from about half way into the book. The fact that the central characters are so accepting of the revealed situation at the end is also completely bizarre! It's very difficult to explain further without giving away the story, so I'll stop there..
This is a definite must read! I had the best time with it. MacGiver had nothing on our hero "Lockley." If you own a transistor radio and a cheese grater, I promise you that after reading this you will look upon them with renewed respect! It is a glorious romp--absolutely wonderful. Do not, do not, do not miss it!
Murray Leinster (1896 - 1975) was a nom de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins, a very prolific writer of science fiction and alternative history tales and Operation Terror is an excellent platform for his storytelling abilities.
In this novella, an international incident is created when an alien spaceship crashes into Boulder Lake interrupting a major government project turning the area into a managed wildlife resort. Everybody flees except for a surveyor named Lockley (oddly enough we are never given his first name) who returns to base camp to rescue Jill Holmes, a journalist who stayed behind to locate her fiancé.
As the alien invaders wield their terror ray over civilians and military alike, Lockley and Holmes attempt an escape from the area only to discover that the story of the alien invasion is more complicated and far more stranger than what they originally believed.
An exciting tale from the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Operation Terror will not fail to entertain and mystify.
Craig Alan Loewen
Everything from Murray is delightful and extremely entertaining. Kick yourself now for me if you don't download and try one of his books. Don't kick too hard, I wouldn't want to leave a bruise.