Thursday, October 17, 2013

A E van Vogt's "Secret Unattainable" (novella, teleporting gadget, free)

One of the illustrations by Kramer accompanying the original publication in Astounding magazine of the novella Secret Unattainable by A E van Vogt. Image shows the scenario where military troops can teleport behind enemy lines using the gadget in the story.
This is van Vogt at his best. Far off concept, but very entertaining story.

Story summary.

Early in the beginning of WWII, a great German scientist is working on a cool gadget: you "focus" it anywhere in the universe, &, through an "orifice" that is part of the gadget, you can directly reach that location.
  1. Want crude? Focus it inside an oil well anywhere, & help yourself!
  2. Want to attack London? Focus it on someplace in the city you want your tanks in, & just drive through the "orifice"!
  3. Want to put an enemy ship out of action at sea? Just drain its fuel tank!
  4. ...
Scientist comes to the notice of establishment. Establishment wants his gadget, but the man cannot be trusted - his brother was executed by Nazis for political reasons sometime back. So they get him working on the gadget under careful watch, & arrest him as soon as the gadget is finished. Only the gadget is not going to do them any good, because the scientist indeed was using it as a tool for revenge...

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, July 1942.
Download full text as part of the scans of the magazine it originally appeared in.
Rating: A.
Among the stories from Analog/Astounding issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of A E van Vogt.