Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"There Weren't Any Fingerprints on Atoms"

"Round About Rigel."
By J. Harvey Haggard (1912-2001).
First appearance: Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1937.
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE) (PDF).
"Raiders Meet Grim Starlight Justice in the Interstellar Void"
There's an old expression about going to the well once too often; in this instance, going to the same planet once too often can be just as risky . . .

Characters:
~ Lieutenant Eon Hermer of the Space Guard:
   ". . .  don’t get me wrong. I’ve never heard of you, and I’d never have been on Vaporia 
if I hadn’t been shoved off, very much against my will."
~ Jewel Collahan:
   "Shoved off! You were marooned! And I’ve been waiting for two years to get off this biological madhouse."
~ Alf and Mope, the Mason brothers:
   "Two grotesque figures, clad in transparent bell-like helmets with shoulder tanks, came cautiously out of a low airlock, each with dissembler at hip."

Typo: "a small dissembler revolver" ("disassembler" is probably meant).
~ ~ ~
"The Atombomb Clue."
By J. Harvey Haggard (1912-2001).
First appearance: 10-Story Detective Magazine, November 1946.
Short short short story (2 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE) (PDF).
"Professor Cadler aimed to make a getaway with an atombomb sample. But though he’d figured on homicide and grand larceny to help him, Cadler forgot to make the payoff to a little atomic tattletale."
You'd think a guy as brainy as our murderer would know better, but ego has a way of short circuiting clear thinking.

Characters:
~ Professor Nelton:
   ". . . the little scientist was nothing to look at. Only his bald head, with corrugated lines that encased a powerful brain, gave a suggestion at being stupendous. Very few knew that Professor Nelton was on the verge of creating a new atomic bomb out of radium."
~ Professor Cadler:
   ". . . he let the grey cells of Professor Nelton’s brain ooze gently into outer air through a bullethole that neatly intersected the frontal bone and the superciliary arch."
~ Wade Norrister:
   "Where did I get this?"
~ Fields, the police photographer:
   "Mind if I mug the guys, Sarge?"
~ Sergeant Brade Wesley:
   "Funny thing. Fields is a good photographer. All the other pictures came out fine. Except yours."

Typo: "to put a ballet through"

Resources:
- J. Harvey Haggard produced pulpy SF and crime fiction throughout the '30s and '40s; for more about Haggard see these Web sources (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).
- The star Rigel has been popular with science fictioneers for years; see more about it in fact (HERE) and fiction (HERE).

The bottom line: "The 20th century was a test bed for big ideas — fascism, communism, the atomic bomb."
P. J. O'Rourke

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