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Islands in the Air

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Published: 1929
Language: English
Wordcount: 9,205 / 26 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 74.8
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,122
Added to site: 2007.04.26 16691

The slavery of weight, which chains us to this planet and to the ground, is far more serious than we appreciate, simply because we have always been "earthbound". But, sooner or later, it will be possible to bring about such conditions as our author describes so vividly in this excellent short story. When it does, aviation will be helped tremendously, and indeed the conditions of our entire world will be revolutionized literally.

Show Excerpt

The Professor stared blankly a moment, then rushed away to the office. We followed breathlessly.

The outer door had been forced, its lock being broken, but beyond this no damage had been done so far as we could discover. Anxiously we ran over the papers--not a print was missing.

"Nothing gone," said the Professor. "Yet the place has been entered. What for?"

"Perhaps the thief was frightened away before he could grab anything," Isuggested.

"I don't see how he got in," said McCann. "I have made sure that every guard was at his post throughout the night."

"I hold you personally responsible, McCann," said the Professor severely. "See that it doesn't happen again." And with that he turned and walked away leaving McCann with a crestfallen air.

I felt sorry for the Scotchman. He seemed devoted to the Professor, and I believed the rebuke to be undeserved.

The ridge which the Professor had selected for his daring experiment was the center of an unbroken wilderness far r

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 2 from 3 reviews: **
JoJo Biggins

Bad science, cardboard characters, no plot. This story is a real loser.

C. Alan Loewen

Written in 1929, this short story is a rather dated, urbane tale of two scientists in competition with each other over designing large rafts that would float above the ground. The ultimate goal would be to create "service stations" in the air for airplanes (which at the time of writing was a fascinating new technology). This gives the story a rather light "steampunk" feel to it.

However, the ending discourse on how man is not yet ready for the marvels of science turns the story into a soapbox that contradicts the original positive emphasis of the story.


Wacky but fun short story about a mad scientist's invention of an anti-gravity machine. If you like watching old, low-budget sci-fi movies, you'll probably like this story.



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Elin Barnes
Elin Barnes has done many different things in her life, like being a flight instructor, working for a criminal appeals lawyer and working for many big name technology companies in Silicon Valley (Microsoft, Google etc.). But the one thing that she never thought would actually happen is to write (and finish) a book. Her debut novel, Justification for Murder, has, in the meantime, earned rave reviews and grown into a series. As our author of the day, Barnes reveals why she picked Silicon Valley as the backdrop, her inspiration behind writing a biomedical thriller and how she went for ride-alongs with the San Jose Police Department.
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