Miller, P. Schuyler / Миллер, Питер Шуйлер - Коллекция повестей и рассказов (13 произведений) [1930-1952, fb2, ENG]

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P. Schuyler Miller - Коллекция повестей и рассказов

Годы выпуска: 1930-1952 г.
Автор: Miller, P. Schuyler / Миллер, Питер Шуйлер
Язык: Английский
Формат: fb2
Качество: OCR

Питер Шуйлер Миллер (Peter Schuyler Miller, 21 февраля 1912 - 13 октября 1974) — американский писатель-фантаст и критик.
Начал публиковаться в 1930 году в журналах Amazing Stories, Astounding, Comet, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Marvel Tales, Science Fiction Digest, Super Science Stories, Unknown, Weird Tales, Wonder Stories и других.
С середины 40-х стал публиковать свои критические заметки и обзоры в Astounding на регулярной основе. В начале 50-х отошел от писательской деятельности, его критика публиковалась в Astounding/Analog до конца его жизни.
The Red Plague 1930, fb2
Dust of Destruction 1931, fb2
Tetrahedra of Space / Пирамиды из космоса 1931, fb2
Forgotten (= The Forgotten Man of Space) / Забытый 1933, fb2
The Chrysalis 1936, fb2
The Sands of Time / Пески веков 1937, fb2
Spawn 1939, fb2
Living Isotopes 1940, fb2
Trouble on Tantalus / Злоключения на Танталусе 1941, fb2
As Never Was / Нож ниоткуда 1944, fb2
The Thing on Outer Shoal 1947, fb2
Status Quondam 1951, fb2
The Titan 1952, fb2

Wonder Stories, July, 1930

A LOW, circling range of crumbling red cliffs hem in a tiny valley in the heart of the desert—a pale green speck in a sea of red sand. At their base, a great cavity in the cliff-face gapes black, set about with little black and red cubicles of baked mud or sheet iron. The valley is a scant half mile in diameter, a dot lost in the red waste, but in its center rise tall slim domes of silvery white, two hundred feet or more in height and a fourth as much in diameter, reflecting the blinding rays of the setting sun. About their base clusters a little, restless smudge of black, ebbing and flowing about the three broad vanes and interset jets of each great machine, resting on the base of white concrete that fills the center of the valley. High above, in the cloudless sky, a scattered swarm of gnats drone dully through the flickering haze beneath the deep blue heavens, where already dozens of stars are rivaling the brilliance of the setting sun.
Darkness, spangled with silver and set with gems of blue and red and gold, falls suddenly, with no blaze of twilight, over the crimson desert. In the little cubicles near the cave, in many of the tiny black openings of the silver towers, lights blink into being. From the valley floor rise circling shafts of light, white or golden or red, that bathe the silver towers and stab up and up into the star-spangled night. From their bosom, the droning gnats are spiraling down to the valley floor, to spew forth lesser blots of black figures that join the silent throng in the center of the valley, now drawn back from the base of the three silent domes of white metal.
Far off on the horizon a single gem swims into view in the sea of black, a glowing ruby, blazing steadily against the velvet darkness. Somewhere, a gong strikes once, a low throbbing beat of golden sound. Silence falls over the restless throng of black mites. Again it rings, dull and muffled as from far below the surface of the ground. In answer comes a blinding blaze of golden flame, veined with crimson and shot with silver, and on its heels a shattering blast of sound that starts little trickles of boulders on the face of the cliffs. And after it comes a fine intermittent piping that is lost in the silence of the desert. Above, three dots of red flare into incandescent white and vanish. Below, three towering domes of silver are gone from the concrete center of the little valley, where the splotch of black is thinning, spreading out into the darkness, and the drone of gnats has risen once more.
So a wandering deity, roving carelessly through space in the neighborhood of an especially insignificant little sun, might have witnessed the going of Man’s three hopes out into the uncharted, untried sea of space, leaving their little planet Earth to seek charity and brotherhood from an alien race who must have solved the problem that was wasting away the life of the planet. As is the way of such minor deities, his interest might have been aroused by this puny onslaught of a race of mites, and he might hesitate in order to tamper mischievously with the wheel of Fate, balancing Success against Death in an eternal instant of indecision, then tossing down his choice and going his way, just a little bored, to create a sun or crush a solar system.
. . .

Spring Night

Korul drew farther back into the shadow of the tapestry.
He had found a place close to the wall of the great hall, half-hidden by a hanging, where he could watch without being drawn into the saturnalia. As First Man of the Blood-Givers, he must rule there as nominal master of the revels - man over Master, here and in every city of Mur - but the spectacle of Masters and Blood-givers wallowing in their own drunken lust brought a bitter taste to his mouth, and the old, black hatred back into his heart. The barriers were there, built up by blood and breeding for generations. Why must his people mock themselves and their servile place with this pretense that for one night, over half their dying world, Masters and Givers were equals.
Equality! That had ended long ago, farther than the oldest writing of the Searchers for Truth could reach. And yet, once it had been real. Once, they said - thousands of centuries ago, when the race was young and there were great cities where the crimson sands now lay - the two races had been one flesh and one blood. In that time the Masters came to the power that they had never lost. They looked upon themselves as a caste apart, born to rule, self-dedicated to contemplation and self-gratification while a servile breed worked to maintain the planetary culture they adorned. For thousands of years they lived as parasites, in ease and indulgence, and then those of them who still dabbled with science discovered a terrible thing!
In the blood of every man are certain substances, generated by the glands of his body to control its life-force and functions. Without them life seeps away or runs wild, uncontrolled and unpredictable. Somewhere, the Masters found, a germ of dissolution had found its way into their blood. Through centuries of inbreeding and inactivity, the vital glands were shriveling up or disappearing. The vital secretions were no longer generated, and in some of the most inbred strains subtle poisons were being created in their place. Men and women withered away in the prime of their years, if indeed they lived beyond infancy. Freaks were born in increasing numbers. And so the Blood-Givers were created.
Thanks to the labor to which they were born, the servile caste was physically as the gods had made it - strong, virile, with legs, arms, bodies, and minds created and trained to battle hostile Nature and to win. Their blood had not thinned; life and the love of living were still strong in them. And so the Masters decreed that these must be their lives as well.
. . .
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