Saturday, March 17, 2012

Harl Vincent's "Neutral Vessel" (novelette, kinetic weapon, free): NY WTC attacks' style plot from several decades before

Bad men don't hijack a plane here. They hijack a spaceship. And target is the destruction of an entire world. Accelerating a huge spaceship to unbelievable speeds & ramming it into a world.

According to Johnny Pez's introduction to the story, this story features "science fiction’s first kinetic weapon". He also talks of parallels of the plot with then about-to-start WWII & popular perceptions in the US then.

Story summary.

Venus & Mars are both inhabited. There is intermarriage across worlds - so presumably both are settled by humans. There has been a war going on between Mars & Venus. Earth has stayed neutral so far.

In this background, the drive & communications systems of a large passenger ship on earth-to-Venus run are sabotaged by Martian agents in a way that makes the ship accelerate uncontrollably to eventually hit Venus.

Can the captain & his crew be able to save themselves & a world...

See also.

  1. Pat Forde's "In Spirit" (download): A collection of 9/11 stories where one of the culprits is forced to experience the event from victims' perspective.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, January 1940.
Download full text from Johnny Pez's blog (story is distributed over 5 pages; links to other pages available with the story).
Rating: B.
Among the stories edited by John Campbell for Astounding/Analog.