Tuesday, September 25, 2012

John Campbell's "The Invaders" (short story) & "Rebellion" (novelette)

These two, in sequence, are often listed as part of a 3-story series, with the first story as "The Machine". But these two are only marginally related to "The Machine". And these two stories are actually one long story, split probably because of publishing constraints of the day.

Story summary.

At the beginning of "The Invaders", earth is an idyllic place; The Machine had eliminated all threats to humans, including microbes, thousands of years ago. And humans are a bit like Eloi in "The Time Machine" of H G Wells - intellectually degenerated into animals because no skills are required to survive in this world.

That's when alien invaders come & make earth their own. They domesticate the humans, treating & breeding them as animals. There is a very moving scene at the beginning of invasion where aliens are dissecting a woman while her man watches helplessly, not understanding the enormity of what is happening.

"Rebellion" happens several thousand years later. Aliens are well entrenched. Humans are bred into many different strains. Accidentally, a mutation gives back a human the power to lie. And circumstances place him in a situation where he can forge official breeding records.

The mutation is stealthily propagated, until eventually the descendents build a gadget that can overcome the firepower of ruling aliens & the rebels force the aliens to leave earth.

Collected in.

  1. Lester del Rey (ed)'s "The Best of John W Campbell".

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, June 1935 ("The Invaders") & August 1935 ("Rebellion).
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of John Campbell.