Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Raymond Z Gallun's "Big Pill" (novelette, free): Terraforming Titan

Illustration accompanying the Project Gutenberg copy of the short story Big Pill by Raymond Z Gallun
It's view of Titan is very outdated, & technique of terraforming very magical, but it's a good old-fashioned happy-go-lucky fun adventure.

Story summary.

Bill Lauren is an evil well-connected industrial monopolist who controls space colonization supplies. One of his substandard equipment has just killed several human colonists on Titan.

Doc Kramer has invented a daring method to terraform Titan, but Bill has managed to keep him away (Doc will eventually get murdered). Now this accident has made a hero out of Bert Kraskow, one of the colonists, who will go ahead with Doc's terrafroming plan with his wife & a friend - with police (goaded by Bill) on his chase.

Plan involves:
  1. Dropping a big hydrogen bomb ("Big Pill") with carefully calculated yield on the side of Titan opposite the colonists camp, setting in motion a transformation of local elements that will create earth like atmosphere in double quick time - only a few days!
  2. And giving Titan a new sun to keep it warm - by burning a big fission pile in a stable orbit above the surface.
Of course the plan is wildly successful, after much adventure.

Fact sheet.

First published: Planet Stories, September 1952.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, Feedbooks.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Raymond Z Gallun; Terraforming fiction; Fiction from 1950s.