The whole fighting fleet of the United Nations is caught in Kreynborg's marvelous, unique trap.
per, which the wind caught and swept away, and suddenly wrapped about a definite section of an arc. More and more of the tiny smoke-bombs released their masses of cloudlike stuff. In mid-air a dome began to take form, outlined by the trailing streaks of gray. It began to be more definitely traced by interlinings. An aerial lattice spread about a portion of a six-mile hemisphere. The top was fifteen thousand feet above the rocket-ship, twenty-five thousand feet from sea-level, as high as Mount Everest itself.
Tiny motes hovered even there, where the smallest of visible specks was a ten-man cruiser. And one of the biggest of the aircraft came gingerly up to the very inner edge of the lattice-work of fog and hung motionless, holding itself aloft by powerful helicopter screws. Men were working from a trailing stage--scientists examining the barrier even hexynitrate would not break down.
* * * * *
Thorn set to work. He had come toilsomely to the neighborhood of the rocket-ship because he would
Murray Leinster never had a particularly sophisticated writing style but plenty of imagination and sense of adventure. As for sexual metaphors in his works, he wasn't that subtle. Sometimes, as we all should recognize, a cigar is only a cigar.
This is probably one of his earlier stories, and cannot be recommended for anything more than laughs, but look at his other efforts for greater value.
As phallic metaphors go, few names get campier than the hero of this story: Thorn Hard. Set in the distant future of 2037, and pre-dating 1987’s “Red Dawn” by 53 years, the villains here are all dastardly Russians with outrageous accents that are pure embarrassment. There is a single female character as well, Thorn’s fiancée, who doesn’t talk so much as “pant hysterically,” and must suffer from some terrible deteriorating sickness of the brain, hampering her ability to do almost anything except sob loudly and get rescued, since Thorn is constantly scooping her up over his manly shoulder and running away with her right before whatever room they’re in explodes. If you’re still worried about them pesky Russkies (this time skulking around the Colorado wilderness) or desperately need to root for the United Nations as the saviors of mankind, then this story is for you. For the rest of us there are much better tales of adventure and daring-do out there, even if they don’t contain the line, “Thorn shot upright and quivered.” (I wonder what Dr. Freud would have made of that?)