He’s A Proper Caution, That Arlok

I am deeply grateful to Odd Ends for posting a link to Astounding Stories Of Super-Science, January 1931. Why so? Readers already know – or ought to know – that I am no aficionado of SF, though oddly it seems some SF-minded persons are keen on my work. Mine not to reason why.

There is one writer in the field, however, cruelly neglected, whom I adore, unreservedly. I speak of course of Hal K Wells, a man whose prose was forever pitched at hysteria level. Lap up those adverbs and adjectives!

I have just realised that I raved about Mr Wells as recently as last April. No doubt my forgetfulness can be adduced to the shuddering miasma of crepitant dread to which my brain has been reduced by reading this newly-posted story, entitled The Gate To Xoran:

The attack of the Xoranians was hideously effective. Clouds of dense yellow fog belched from countless projectors in the hands of the bluish-gray hosts, and beneath that deadly miasma all animal and plant life on the doomed planet was crumbling, dying, and rotting into a liquid slime. Then even the slime was swiftly obliterated, and the Xoranians were left triumphant upon a world starkly desolate.

“That was one of the minor planets in the swarm that make up the solar system of the sun that your astronomers call Canopus,” Arlok explained.

“Our first task in conquering a world is to rid it of the unclean surface scum of animal and plant life. When this noxious surface mold is eliminated, the planet is then ready to furnish us sustenance, for we Xoranians live directly upon the metallic elements of the planet itself. Our bodies are of a substance of which your scientists have never even dreamed – deathless, invincible, living metal!”

You know you should just stop whatever else you are doing and go and read the whole brain-bedizening story right now. Then unjangle your nerves with a nice cup of piping hot tea.

NOTE : Checking the link back to that April postage, I have noted – not for the first time – some kind of formatting problem in older posts resulting in the appearance of extraneous characters. I think this happened after the tumultuous and terrifying hacker attack of some months ago. Steps will be taken, gingerly, to eradicate these alien hoofprints. Until then, just try to ignore them.

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