Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr's "Thanasphere" (short story)

Illustration accompanying a reprint in Wonder Stories magazine of short story Thanasphere by Kurt Vonnegut. Picture shows the rocket of the story in a near earth orbit.
This is Vonnegut's second published story. Going by the amount of space given to it in "Critical Companion to Kurt Vonnegut" (previous link), someone there thinks this is a very important story.

Story summary.

US sent a manned rocket ship to a lower earth orbit, the first such ship, to spy weather conditions over enemy territory & to warn of inbound atomic missiles. But it found near earth space already inhabited, in fact teeming, with ... ghosts - & that the man there in the rocket can see them & talk to them!

Here is the story's explanation of title: Beyond atmosphere, it's dead space. "Thanatos, that's Greek for death. May be instead of 'deadspace" you'd prefer 'Thanasphere'".

Fact sheet.

First published: Collier's, 2 September 1950.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Kurt Vonnegut.