Thursday, December 16, 2021

"It Was Almost As If Something Were Trying to Enter His Mind!"

"The Mystery of Deneb IV."
By Robert Silverberg (born 1935).
Illustration by Llewellyn (HERE).
First appearance: Fantastic, February 1957.
Short story (12 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archives (HERE; go down to text page 56).
(Note: Text faded but readable.)

     "It was a pulsing mass of protoplasm some twenty feet across, floating in a bath of some thick gray-green fluid that roiled obscenely beneath its bulk."

. . . and you certainly wouldn't want to get it riled up . . . .

Main characters:
~ Dave Carter:
  "Go ahead. Hypnotize my spaceship! Make it turn around!"
~ Gendron:
  "SOS? What SOS?"
~ Sherman:
  "He jumped me first."
~ The Khethlani:
  "I order you to kneel."

References and resources:
- "Carter drew his blaster": It makes a Glock look like a capgun:
  "A raygun is a science-fiction directed-energy weapon that releases energy, usually with destructive effect. They have various alternate names: ray gun, death ray, beam gun, blaster, laser gun, laser pistol, phaser, zap gun, etc. In most stories, when activated, a raygun emits a ray, typically visible, usually lethal if it hits a human target, often destructive if it hits mechanical objects, with properties and other effects unspecified or varying" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "Rigel IV": The original Star Trek series had its own version of this planet:
  "Rigel IV was the inhabited fourth planet of the Rigel system in the Alpha Quadrant. It was home to the Rigel IV natives, including the Hill People, and had deposits of boridium and murinite" (Memory Alpha HERE; also see Wikipedia HERE).
- "Ophiuchus VII": Star Trek just missed this one:
  "The Ophiucus system was an inhabited planetary system in the Alpha Quadrant. Inhabited planets in this system included Ophiucus III and Ophiucus VI" (Memory Alpha HERE; also see Wikipedia HERE).
- Deneb (Wikipedia HERE) is a real star assumed for the moment to be about 2,600 light-years from Earth, although that's subject to change.
- A decidedly different Deneb IV was featured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot (WARNING! SPOILERS! Memory Alpha HERE).
- "titanium-plate rebuild": A useful feature of titanium is that it's biocompatible:
  "Titanium is used from head to toe in biomedical implants. One can find titanium in neurosurgery, bone conduction hearing aids, false eye implants, spinal fusion cages, pacemakers, toe implants, and shoulder/elbow/hip/knee replacements along with many more" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "SOS! SOS! General rescue call!": It's a signaling method that's never gone out of style:
  "SOS is a distinctive Morse code sequence and not an abbreviation, but in popular usage it is associated with phrases such as 'Save Our Souls' and 'Save Our Ship.' Moreover, due to its high profile use in emergencies, the phrase 'SOS' has entered general usage to informally indicate a crisis or the need for action" (Wikipedia HERE).
- If you've read much SFF, then you might recognize the similarities between the Big Bad in today's story and a species (HERE), invented by author Larry Niven, which made its way to the small screen (HERE).
- The latest story that we have covered which we're certain was written by Robert Silverberg was "Twelve Hours to Blow!" (HERE).

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