Saturday, July 26, 2014

Henry Kuttner's "The Time Trap" (novella, adventure, free)

This is readable enough, but in a mindless sort of way.

Story summary.

A disparate group of apparently good samaritans come together from several eras - hero from 1930s, heroine & hero's sidekick from 5000 years ago from what is now Arabia, & a friend from sometime in future. They're chasing two villains - both from future - through time. In the process, they'll have lot of adventures in exotic locales & among exotic species at different times in earth's history.

Two curious things stood out for me. One is a factual error - in the story, the moon has come much closer to earth in far future; I thought it is going away a few centimeters every year. Other is something you see a lot on pulp magazine covers but not in actual stories - here, heroine is nude at least a half dozen times - sometimes an object of lust, other times as part of torture, yet another time as part of worship! I haven't read many stories from Marvel, but I wonder if the magazine specialized in titillation?

Title refers a metallic device that looks like a pair of obelisks, planted in some remote corner of Arabia by the main villain. The device will live to the end of earth, & is a trap: whenever someone is within range of device &, simultaneously, lightening strikes the device, the person is sent to about 3000 BC!

Fact sheet.

First published: Marvel Science Stories, November 1938.
Download full text from AlfaLib.
Rating: B.
Nominated for Retro Hugo Awards 1939 in novella category.
Related: Stories of Henry Kuttner.


Matt H said...

That the Moon's orbit is taking it further away from the Earth may not have been well established until after the Apollo program left a laser reflector on the Moon that allowed precision measurements of its distance.