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…
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