Review of “The Eternal Wall” by Raymond Z. Gallun

SFFaudio Review

SFFaudio’s 7th Anniversary World Tour continues – we’ll have you know that no hotel rooms have been trashed to date. But there’s still time…

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Eternal Wall by Raymond Z. Gallun“The Eternal Wall”
By Raymond Z. Gallun; Read by Gregg Margarite
26 Minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Librivox
Published: 2009
Themes: / Science Fiction / Time Travel / Evolution / Time /

This story was published in November, 1942 in Amazing Stories magazine. It’s the first story by Raymond Z. Gallun that I’ve read. I was happy to come across it, since I recently ordered the Del Rey The Best of Raymond Z. Gallun paperback. Love those books.

“The Eternal Wall” is not included in that collection, which raises my expectations of the stories that were included, because this is a very good story. It starts with a guy driving a car quickly down the road. He’s late for a date with his girlfriend, so he pushes it too far and ends up flying off a cliff into deep alkali-rich water. Now pick up the story a few million years later. Humans have long since left the Earth, and the next phase of evolution has resulted in a race of prairie dog-like intelligent creatures that find a mummified body at an archaeological dig. Their technology is great, so they figure out how to re-animate the well-preserved body.

The end of the story didn’t ring true to me, but it contained the point of the story, or at least the reason the story was titled “The Eternal Wall”. The wall is time – the main character can’t go back in time, and the new intelligent life on Earth, despite their advanced technology, can’t do it either. It can easily be seen as a response to the time travel stories that permeated science fiction in the 40’s – a dose of scientific realism, perhaps?

But it’s not the view of time presented in the story that doesn’t ring true – it’s the reaction of the man after being re-animated. Oh, the drama! I wanted to slap him.

Gregg Margarite performs the story, hysterical re-animated man and all, and I’ll be looking for more from him. Thanks to Gregg, and thanks to Librivox for making it available!

A reminder – Librivox is looking for your help!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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Scott D.

Reviews Editor, SFFaudio

3 thoughts to “Review of “The Eternal Wall” by Raymond Z. Gallun”

  1. Scott:

    When I was younger and could only afford used books I made purchasing decisions based on the thickness of the paperback (bang for buck). Lester and Judy’s imprint was new and eventually I ended up owning all 20 of their “best of” series. It was these names that were first on my list of stories to record. You’re going to love that Ray Gallun book. Check out the other 19.

    This was one of the first stories I did for LV shortly after joining a little over a year ago. I like to think my delivery has improved since then. It’s nice to know my rookie stuff is still listenable. Rest assured that the appearance of any of “The Twenty” del Rey authors on Gutenberg automatically causes that story to bubble up in my queue… Ray Gallun included!

    Thanks;

    Gregg

  2. Gregg,

    Yes, I love those books – a recent rediscovery for me when I was writing a column called “Rocket Science” for The Fix: Short Fiction Review… looks like it’s still there, but it disappeared for while. (http://ttapress.com/fix/category/features/rocket-science/)

    I bought The Best of Eric Frank Russell (http://www.rivetsandtrees.com/rocketscience/BestOfEricFrankRussell.htm) for his story “Allamagoosa”. Then I started collecting them again – I know I don’t have 20 of them. Maybe half that.

    LOVE those books!

    And yes, your early narration is definitely listenable. I’ll sample some of your recent stuff at my earliest opportunity. Thanks again!

    –sd

  3. Hey, I found a list of those twenty books on LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com):

    The Best of C. L. Moore by C. L. Moore
    The Best of C. M. Kornbluth by C. M. Kornbluth
    The Best of Edmond Hamilton by Edmond Hamilton
    The Best of Eric Frank Russell by Eric Frank Russell
    The Best of Frederik Pohl by Frederik Pohl
    The Best of Fredric Brown by Fredric Brown
    The Best of Fritz Leiber by Fritz Leiber
    The Best of Hal Clement by Hal Clement
    The Best of Henry Kuttner by Henry Kuttner
    The Best of Jack Williamson by Jack Williamson
    The Best of James Blish by James Blish
    The Best of John W. Campbell by John W. Campbell
    The Best of L. Sprague De Camp by L. Sprague De Camp
    The Best of Leigh Brackett by Leigh Brackett
    The Best of Lester del Rey by Lester Del Rey
    The Best of Murray Leinster by Murray Leinster
    The Best of Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick
    The Best of Raymond Z. Gallun by Raymond Z. Gallun
    The Best of Robert Bloch by Robert Bloch
    The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum by Stanley G. Weinbaum

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