Facing a six-hour deadline of death, young Larry raids a hostile world of rat-men and tinkling Devil Crystals.
ion of the "Cave of Blue Flames" of which Joan had written.
* * * * *
He arrived at the foot of the dune's slope without incident. But there he came to an abrupt halt as the silence was suddenly shattered by a strange sound from the shrubbery-covered crest just above him. It was a musical, tinkling crash, oddly suggestive of a handful of thin glass plates shattering upon a stone floor. A second later there came the agonized scream of some creature in its death throes.
The tinkling, crashing sound promptly swelled to a steady pulsing song like that of a brittle river of crystalline glass surging and breaking over granite boulders. There was an eery beauty in that tinkling burst of melody, yet with the beauty there was an intangible suggestion of horror that made Powell's flesh creep.
The crystalline song swelled to a crescendo climax. Then there came another sound, a single resonant note like that given when a string of a bass viol is violently plucked--and the tinkling melody abrup
If you like formula fiction, this one's for you.
Pure pulp sci-fi adventure. I'm not sure why, but I enjoyed this more than most of its ilk. A scientist returns to his lab with his assistant, Larry, to find Joan his daughter standing in his Atomic Ray. She disappears to a parallel world where protons are negatively charged and electrons positively. When they recall her, her homing belt returns on the skeleton of a huge rat.
Larry grabs an extra belt and two .45 automatics (he can shoot with either or both hands) and heads out to rescue Joan. Luckily, positively charged proton bullets work on the hideous ratmen of Arret (spell it backwards.)
I didn't learn anything new about science, and Larry and Joan make kind of a vacuous couple, but it was entertaining.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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