Friday, July 24, 2009

Murray Leinster's "Invasion" (novelette, war, free): When a "Martian" spaceship landed in Colorado, US!

Illustration accompanying the Project Gutenberg copy of the short story titled Invasion by Murray LeinsterThis is the third Leinster story I've seen about pre cold war US/Russia stand-off. In each of them, Russia builds some sort of superweapon & attacks US; then a lone US hero creates a happy ending for US.

Two of these stories - this one & "The Machine That Saved The World" - involve a hoax; so it takes a while for US to realize that it has been attacked! In "Morale", Russia is not explicitly named.

In this story, there is hero's girlfriend too - to make Russian lust after & for hero to save!

Story summary.

Two warring sides are renamed here: "United Nations" is a country that includes US; "Com-Pub" is the "Union of Communist Republics" that includes Russia.

An apparently Martian spaceship has landed in US; hero, a US military man named Thorn Hard & his girlfriend Sylva West, happen to be nearby.

Immediately on landing, "Martian" ship has erected an impenetrable & invisible 6 mile hemispherical barrier made up of some sort of magical force field around it. So the ship, hero, & his girlfriend are inside the dome; nothing can enter the dome nor exit it.

In the following days, while US military has been examining the strange dome & trying to communicate with the "Martians", it's also collecting much of its air force near dome. And our friendly "Martian" springs the trap - erecting another bigger impenetrable dome around original - so most US air forces are trapped between the two domes. That's when the main Com-Pub fleet attacks.

So it's up to the hero to now save the US. Which he will, of course.


In 2037
  1. "Televisors were still monochromatic."
  2. "Newspapers were printing flat pictures in three colors only".
  3. There is something interesting about the speed of fast planes too; I cannot locate the quote.

See also.

An invisible impenetrable spherical barrier appears in several stories, but this is the oldest I've seen with this structure. Some other stories that feature it:
  1. David Brin's "The Crystal Spheres" where they bar access to a solar system unless those inside open it.
  2. Arthur Clarke's "The Sentinel" where it protects the alien listening device on moon.
  3. Arthur Clarke's "What Goes Up" where a nuclear accident in Australia creates it as an unexplainable phenomenon around the site.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding Stories, March 1933.
Rating: B.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg or Manybooks. [via QuasarDragon]
Related: Stories of Murray Leinster.