I posted about this story, as part of a larger LibriVox collection, back in 2009. Then, I described it thusly:
The Coming Of The Ice explains the strange and sad fate of a man who undergoes an operation to make him immortal (and sterile).
I had somehow forgotten about it. But, as I heard someone describe it recently I was reminded of it, tracked it down again, and enjoyed it wholly afresh today.
The Coming Of The Ice deserves to be far better known. Not only is it a really terrific story, but the narration, by Giles Baker, is absolutely outstanding too!
Sam Moskowitz, in his introduction to the 1961 reprint of The Coming Of The Ice wrote the following about it:
One of the gravest editorial problems faced by the editors of AMAZING STORIES when they launched its first issue, dated April, 1926, was the problem of finding or developing authors who could write the type of story they needed. As a stop-gap, the first two issues of AMAZING STORIES were devoted entirely to reprints. But reprints were to constitute a declining portion of the publication’s contents for the following four years. The first new story the magazine bought was Coming Of The Ice, by G. Peyton Wertenbaker, which appeared in its third issue. Wertenbaker was not technically a newcomer to science fiction, since he had sold his first story to Gernsback’s SCIENCE AND INVENTION, The Man From the Atom, in 1923 when he was only 16! Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he was appearing in the world’s first truely complete science fiction magazine. The scope of his imagination was truly impressive and, despite the author’s youth, Coming of
the Ice builds to a climax of considerable power.
Back in 1926 the editorial introduction, presumably by Hugo Gernsback himself, said this about The Coming Of The Ice:
This powerful and tragic story by the author of “The Man From The Atom” tells of a man who acquired terrestrial immortality – tells of a world many centuries hence – a time when everything is changed. This one man remains as a relic of the 20th century, He is alone with strangely developed human beings, the product of ages of evolution. Climactic changes are taking place. The world begins to grow cold. New York is almost in the Arctic region and Italy is covered with snow all the year around. In spite of their enormous intellectual development, all human beings must perish. Our hero alone can withstand the intense cold. He wanted eternal life – and he got it – eternal life, purely intellectual. What does he do with all his years? And how does he enjoy them?, Read this powerful story.
The Coming Of The Ice
By G. Peyton Wertenbaker; Read by Giles Baker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 4, 2009
“Strange men, these creatures of the hundredth century, men with huge brains and tiny, shriveled bodies, atrophied limbs, and slow, ponderous movements on their little conveyances … it was then that I was forced to produced my tattered old paper, proving my identity and my story.” First published in Amazing Stories, June 1926.
Here are two PDF versions:
[Thanks also to David T. and Carlo!]
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #201 – The Inn by Guy de Maupassant, read by Mirko Stauch. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (34 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Mirko.
Talked about on today’s show:
Where and why, more and more Maupassant, is there a definitive list of Guy de Maupassant SFF stories?, German translations, the BBC audio drama adaptation of The Inn, RadioArchive.cc, a ghost story, the twist in the end or the twist middle, great writing, an ambiguous ghost story, a psychological happening, the dog’s reaction, revenant, “it becomes the monster”, Louise Hauser, is Ulrich dead?, Gaspard, The Others, Maupassant tricks us, “they bury themselves”, Ulrich is punished for no reason, the voice, white noise, Ulrich’s religious beliefs, Cologne on a cold night, the ravens!, the audio drama improves on the short story!, a filling metaphor, “the immense ocean of pale mountain summits”, mainstream, the vertical issue, Wolfgang von Goethe, “only a very stable character”, a proto-cosmic horror, The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft, a Christmas story, describing nature, the second meaning, “arose from the snow itself”, “he’s alone on the Moon”, being alone, cabin fever, we are alone in the cosmos, community allows us to hide from the harsh truth, gambling, “I would have brought a bunch of books”, “illiterate mountain peasants”, a lonely island, did Gaspard fall into a crevasse?, nature is the monster, the unknown is more terrifying, the terror of the soul, undeserved guilt, “eighteen degrees of frost”, “he was of a sleepy nature”, 1886, Guy de Maupassant visited the Alps, riddled with disease, the Inn at Schwarenbach, The Shining by Stephen King, an internal flaw, “he could speak no human words”, Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin, Perry Rhodan, Silent Running, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, the dog as a symbol, the dog as a companion, the importance of routine for the lonely, the demon of loneliness, “all is busy work before the grave”, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Castaway, The Piece Of String (aka The Piece Of Yarn), “eating a sandwich that you find on the sidewalk”, he dies alone and unloved, “two feets”, every Norman is trapped in disbelief, it could have happened to us!, his hair turned white, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, “the unseen”, “the outer blackness”, able to appreciate the immensity of reality, Honey Boo Boo, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, The Call Of Cthulhu, “when I think of H.P. Lovecraft I don’t think of immense tentacles.”
Posted by Jesse Willis