Sunday, April 8, 2012

L Sprague de Camp's "Emperor's Fan" (short story, magic, humor): Emperor's ultimate defense against potential assassins!

Quote from short story Emperors Fan by L Sprague de Camp
Emperor, always fearful of assassination, has finally got the ultimate weapon against the potential assassins: an old magical fan. You open it, & fan it on someone; the one fanned at vanishes! Where do they vanish? "One theory ... is that they are translated to a higher dimension, coexistent with this one. Another holds that they are dispersed into constituent atoms, which, however, retain such mutual affinities that they can be reassembled when the signal for recall" is given.

This recall signal is in the form of a code. You fold the fan, & tap your left wrist, right wrist, & forehead in a certain sequence & a certain number of times. One code recalls the vanished kings, another vanished prime ministers, another vanished dragons, another vanished beggars, ... A little code book documents "all the categories of organic beings subject to the fan's power."

So we have fun as the king & sundry power usurpers use the fan, & adventures of one of them trying to reconstruct the lost code book experimentally.

Collected in.

  1. "The Best of L Sprague de Camp".

Fact sheet.

First published: Harry Harrison (ed)'s "Astounding: John W Campbell Memorial Anthology" (1973)
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of L Sprague de Camp.