Saturday, January 21, 2017

"When He Entered the Vault He Found That Its Contents, a Billion Dollars' Worth of Perfect, Flawless Diamonds, Had Completely Disappeared"

OUR STORY TODAY, his second to be published, was written by Charles Cloukey, whom FictionMags credits with only ten stories in four short years, due to his premature death 
(see "Resources" below).

By Charles Cloukey (1912-31).
First appearance: Amazing Stories, July 1928.
Short short story (9 pages).
Online at SFFAudio (HERE) (PDF).
"Here is a scientifiction story that bristles with good science, and at the same time provides you with a goodly number of thrills."
In the long and never-ending war between the criminal and the law, sometimes the criminal gains a technological advantage. In the late 21st century, a "super-criminal" known only as "M. W." has achieved that edge with . . .
". . . a mechanism [that] reduces an object to its constituent atoms. It then changes—transmutes—these atoms into a certain class of waves, which are transmitted through space to his receiver, where an intricate process, the inverse of the first, restores them to their original form."
With this gizmo, stolen from a radio engineer who has suddenly gone missing, M. W. has misappropriated a fortune in precious stones; but fortunately Dr. David Harris, "perhaps the most famous detective in the world at the present time," is on the case, and with the help of pilot-adventurer Richard Brown and a small but capable assault team will eventually track down M. W. and Co. to their remote lair, get involved in some shootouts, and—mirabile 
dictu—aviator Brown will even get the chance to retrieve a lost love.

Comment: Of course no one speaks English like these characters; Amazing's editor Hugo Gernsback, a rabid technophile, couldn't have cared less, because it was the ideas that mattered to him, and author Cloukey has just enough of them to excuse his awkward 
writing. At least by 2072 they've got the border situation under control.
Typo: "n such a way"
- The SFE (HERE) tells us that . . .
. . . "[Charles Cloukey's] death at the age of 19 robbed the field of a precocious talent. Cloukey's first sale was made when he was only fifteen . . . Cloukey entered Haverford College in 1931, where he won first honours as a freshman in the intelligence test, studying to become a chemical engineer. Alas, a few months later he died from typhoid fever. One can only wonder what he might have achieved in later years."
- Getting from here to there in the wink of an eye is a major plot element in a story we featured just the other day (HERE).

The bottom line:
(Click on image to enlarge.)

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