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The Captain peered into the eyepiece of the telescope. He adjusted the focus quickly. "It was an atomic fission we saw, all right," he said presently. He sighed and pushed the eyepiece away. "Any of you who wants to look may do so. But it's not a pretty sight." "Let me look," Tance the archeologist said. He bent down to look, squinting. "Good Lord!" He leaped violently back, knocking against Dorle, the Chief Navigator. "Why did we come all... more...

PREFACE In the course of my experience as an occasional lecturer during the past twelve years, I have been much impressed by the keen interest evinced, even by the most unlettered persons, when astronomical subjects are dealt with in plain untechnical language which they can really grasp and understand. The pertinent questions which have been addressed to me privately by members of my audiences have clearly indicated that there is ample scope... more...

The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and... more...

Thirty minutes to Litchfield. Conn Maxwell, at the armor-glass front of the observation deck, watched the landscape rush out of the horizon and vanish beneath the ship, ten thousand feet down. He thought he knew how an hourglass must feel with the sand slowly draining out. It had been six months to Litchfield when the Mizar lifted out of La Plata Spaceport and he watched Terra dwindle away. It had been two months to Litchfield when he boarded... more...

CHAPTER I Pirates of Space Apparently motionless to her passengers and crew, the Interplanetary liner Hyperion bored serenely onward through space at normal acceleration. In the railed-off sanctum in one corner of the control room a bell tinkled, a smothered whirr was heard, and Captain Bradley frowned as he studied the brief message upon the tape of the recorder--a message flashed to his desk from the operator's panel. He beckoned, and the... more...


"What is this opportunity?" Conger asked. "Go on. I'm interested." The room was silent; all faces were fixed on Conger—still in the drab prison uniform. The Speaker leaned forward slowly. "Before you went to prison your trading business was paying well—all illegal—all very profitable. Now you have nothing, except the prospect of another six years in a cell." Conger scowled. "There is a certain situation, very important to... more...

HEN it comes to picking locks and cracking safes I admit to no master. The door to Inskipp's private quarters had an old-fashioned tumbler drum that was easier to pick than my teeth. I must have gone through that door without breaking step. Quiet as I was though, Inskipp still heard me. The light came on and there he was sitting up in bed pointing a .75 caliber recoilless at my sternum. "You should have more brains than that, diGriz," he... more...

One minute after the regular report call from the planet Eden was overdue, the communications operator summoned his supervisor. His finger hesitated over the key reluctantly, then he gritted his teeth and pressed it down. The supervisor came boiling out of his cubicle, half-running down the long aisle between the forty operators hunched over their panels. "What is it? What is it?" he quarreled, even before he came to a stop. "Eden's due.... more...

Chapter One It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven! But this is not the... more...

The big armor-tender vibrated, gently and not unpleasantly, as the contragravity field alternated on and off. Sometimes it rocked slightly, like a boat on the water, and, in the big screen which served in lieu of a window at the front of the control-cabin, the dingy-yellow landscape would seem to tilt a little. The air was faintly yellow, the sky was yellow with a greenish cast, and the clouds were green-gray. No human had ever set foot on the... more...