“.....One of the novas of the SF cosmos.” The New Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction Almost a thousand years from now a new empire, governed by the immortals Joaquin Smith and his beautiful, but evil, sister Black Margot, has arisen on Earth after a planet wide holocaust. In the gigantic city of Urbs every aspect of life is monitored around the clock by security services, the inhabitants seem happy.....but in the wider world discontent is growing. This colourful vision of the future, in the novella “Dawn of Flame” and its sequel novel The Black Flame, is just one of the of the Other Earths in this remarkable book. The Leonaur Collected Science Fiction & Fantasy of Stanley G. Weinbaum brings together all of the author’s genre novels and shorter works in a uniform edition for the first time ever.
He rushed at the impassive guards, but before their challenge was uttered a thunderous roar reverberated in the vast hall like the rumbling thunder of a collapsing mountain.
A continuous screaming bellow like the clamor in hell rose in an ear-blasting crescendo, and beyond the glass doors rolled billowing clouds of steam, shot through with jagged fires.
Maddened to desperation, Tom Connor plunged against the doors. They swung inward and closed behind him, and he was in the room of the blast. Far down, be hind the Master’s throne, an erupting geyser of destruc tion appalled him—a mighty, roaring, billowing cloud of smoke-streaked steam that shrieked louder than the tor tured souls of the seventh circle of hell.
Crashing discharges of stray energy etched flames through the cloud, like lightning behind a thunder-head, and the reverberations echoed above the roar of the dis rupting hydrogen. The Master’s throne was hidden by the bellowing fires that grounded to it.
But even that holocaust had not yet filled the vast concave of the Throne Room. The end where Connor stood, momentarily bewildered, was as yet clouded only by shreds and streamers. He lowered his head, and charged into the inferno. Margaret was caught some where behind that hellish blast!
Scalding steam licked at him, swirling about his body. His bare legs and shoulders stung at the touch, his face burned, but he gained the line of thrones and paused a single moment on the shielded side. What an engine of destruction! A bomb that, instead of venting its force in a single blast, kept on exploding as successive billions of atoms shattered.
No need to look for the door. The detonation, the first blast, had blown the wall open. Instantly he made a dash over the scorching debris, where the mighty girders were fantastically twisted and bent away from the roaring cen ter, pointed up in the misty light. He launched himself at the edge of the opening, passing close to the very threshold of the trap door of Tophet.
Gamma radiations excoriated his body. The shriek of dying atoms thundered against his tortured eardrums, and he was burning—blistering. But an implacable thrust urged him on. He was responsible for this chaos, this holocaust, and Margaret of Urbs—He had violated his oath to the Master! Evanie had betrayed him into that! She had tricked him into sponsoring her plea for freedom, and because he had aided her this had hap pened! Jan Orm could have done no damage alone. Only Evanie, because of the inhuman blood in her, could have dealt with an amphimorph. Evanie, with whom he had thought himself in love!
And the Princess, whom he did love, was somewhere beyond. He raged on, his mind turbulent as the blast itself, into Martin Sair’s laboratory, a flaming outer re gion of hell clouded to invisibility. Suffocating, scorch ing, he crashed against its farther wall, slid along it, at last found the door.