Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Henry Kuttner's "When the Earth Lived" (short story, doomsday, free): When a mad scientist defeated God

This appears to be among the earliest science fiction stories of Kuttner.

Story summary.

Our universe is but an atom in a larger "super-universe". Alien scientists experimenting in one of their labs have been subjecting some matter to the "cosmic ray" generated by a device in their lab - the ray that creates life! "The power of the cosmic ray--the life ray--at first gave life to only those elements which could readily acquire it--organic entities, protoplasm, evolving to man. Now that the cosmic ray is stepped up, the mysterious life force is spreading to all things throughout the Universe."

So the universe has gone bonkers - with rock, sand, metal, & sundry artifacts acquiring a will of their own! Our mad scientist will debug the cause & build a machine to destroy the alien source of cosmic ray. Recently animated matter goes back to its animate state because it hasn't been alive long enough, so life can go on!

Fact sheet.

First published: Thrilling Wonder Stories, October 1937.
Read online at UNZ.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Henry Kuttner.