Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clark Ashton Smith's "Phoenix" (short story, free): Reigniting a dead sun

Quote from short story titled Phoenix by Clark Ashton SmithSeveral millennia back, sun suddenly cooled & died - "in a term of years historic rather than geologic." Earth is now a frozen world - even the air is frozen. Descendants of the few survivors, now numbering only thousands, live in vast underground caverns.

Someone gets the bright idea of reigniting the sun! Drop a few carefully chosen ancient nuclear bombs at strategic locations on the sun, hopefully restarting the old chain reactions!

Team of 6 that flies to sun to execute the project will die because of a technical error, but sun (& hence earth) are reborn.

See also.

  1. Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air" (download text, MP3 reading, & MP3 of dramatization): A dark sun visiting Sol has stolen the earth, turning it into a frozen world as it moves away on its own path away from Sol.
  2. Fred Hoyle & Geoffrey Hoyle's "Rockets in Ursa Major": Strategic bombing of sun so it would produce more deadly radiation to drive away the alien raiders of earth!
  3. Hal Clement's "Half-Life": All life on earth is in crisis & is dying out, as if it's the natural end - a theme that briefly appears in "Phoenix" & is the starting point for the mad project of reigniting the sun.

Fact sheet.

First published: August Derleth (ed)'s "Time to Come" (anthology, 1954).
Download full text from Eldritch Dark.
Rating: A.
Related: Tuesday Classics; fiction from 1950s.