Simple organisms do become complex ones, but the direction for evolution is reversed on the dimensional playing field. The scientist assumes, wrongly, that we become a superman living across vastly different time scales when we pass through the machine, sending all these volunteers through to fight our survival in the most epic way imaginable. What really happens is that we devolve into 4th-dimensional conglomerate intelligences engaged in eternal fisticuffs across all-time against other lumbering monstrous giants. We become demons.
LOL it's like a modern Anime mixed with a little Lovecraft, a B-Movie mixed with a clever Darwinian twist, even a satire lambasting our most cherished tenants. Yeah, it's also kind-of a bad story, too, but it tickled me. May 30, Alex Sarll added it. One of Simak's earliest stories, quietly buried during his lifetime, resurfaces as a free ebook because the Internet is marvellous and because copyright 'reform' seems less anxious to keep an iron grip on pulp SF than on sixties pop.
It's founded on some very s creative? This bears almost no resemblance to the elegiac pastoral of the works that made Simak's name - ex One of Simak's earliest stories, quietly buried during his lifetime, resurfaces as a free ebook because the Internet is marvellous and because copyright 'reform' seems less anxious to keep an iron grip on pulp SF than on sixties pop. This bears almost no resemblance to the elegiac pastoral of the works that made Simak's name - except perhaps in its ultimate refusal of a return to the status quo.
Really, it reads more like a collaboration between EE 'Doc' Smith and Lovecraft, possibly while they were both drunk because there are odd sentences which make no sense whatsoever. Despite all of which, I can't help but be charmed by its primitive vigour. I mean, how can you hate a story which is quite sincerely entitled 'Hellhounds of the Cosmos'? Feb 12, Janelle rated it it was ok Shelves: 2-stars , audiobooks-read , classics , fiction , science-fiction , short-stories.
A fiendish invader arrives on earth and literally starts eating everyone in its path.
It's going to take some far fetched science and a bevy of volunteers to stop the enemy in their tracks. This was a really weird story, and despite the decent writing, I didn't get much enjoyment from it. But I guess it would appeal to some. A short story with a name so bizarre I couldn't pass it up, Hellhounds of the Cosmos is a fun little unpolished mish-mash of Lovecraftian weirdness and kaiju monster beat-'em-up. It's unlikely I'll remember it a year from now, but as something to fill a bored afternoon with, it did quite nicely.
Apr 06, Byron 'Giggsy' Paul rated it liked it Recommends it for: pulp sci-fi fans. Shelves: speculative-fiction , novelette. Esta no tiene nada de malo, es una historia corta escrita en This book doesn't wear its age well. Some of it is clearly dated, and it reads as a sort of combination of War of the World's, The Time Machine and some sort of effort at multi-dimensions. But the author mixes too many ideas together without the skills of an H. Fun read. I have always enjoyed reading Clifford Simak and so should you. Old school classic Sci-fi by one of the greats. May 17, Keith rated it it was ok Shelves: science-fiction.
Feb 11, Jeff J. Fun pulp novel from a vastly underrated author. Aug 08, Andrewcharles rated it it was ok. Some unspeakable horror is terrorizing the world and poised to strike America. A scientist believes the source of the trouble manifests from the fourth dimension, so sends warriors to the other side to fight back. In the fourth dimension, all the humans incorporate into some single giant monster in an epic time-long battle with it's there long known enemy. This story reminded me of another of Clifford D. I liked the Some unspeakable horror is terrorizing the world and poised to strike America.
I also felt like the whole story was underdeveloped. Jan 16, Patrick Gibson rated it liked it Shelves: science-fiction. With a title like this -- how could you pass it up?
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An early novella by a Sci-Fi master. Nothing profound here. Just a fun read, packed with interesting ideas and some pretty dramatic fight scenes.
This lays the groundwork for future novels. So far, I am having a grand time going through this stuff. Robert rated it it was ok Sep 08, John rated it liked it Dec 29, Robert Kearney jr rated it liked it Oct 30, Adam Lewis rated it liked it Feb 28, Greg D'Agostino rated it did not like it Jun 18, Paul rated it really liked it Jul 26, Amanda rated it liked it Mar 18, Michael Grogan rated it really liked it Dec 13, Andrew K Edwards rated it liked it Dec 13, Charl rated it liked it Jun 27, Isca Silurum rated it liked it Apr 06, Alisha29 rated it liked it Mar 04, Path rated it it was ok May 20, I can do the same with men.
The doctor stepped to the control board of his strange machine. The servant had evidently worked with the old man enough to know what was expected of him. He stepped close to the floor disk and waited. The dog whined softly, sensing that all was not exactly right. The old scientist slowly shoved the lever toward the right, and as he did so a faint hum filled the room, rising to a stupendous roar as he advanced the lever. From both floor disk and upper disk leaped strange cones of blue light, which met midway to form an hour-glass shape of brilliance.
The light did not waver or sparkle. It did not glow. It seemed hard and brittle, like straight bars of force. The newspaperman, gazing with awe upon it, felt that terrific force was there. What had the old man said? Warp a third-dimensional being into another dimension! That would take force! As he watched, petrified by the spectacle, the servant stepped forward and, with a flip, tossed the little dog into the blue light. The animal could be discerned for a moment through the light and then it disappeared. He gasped. In the globe, deep within its milky center, glowed a picture that made his brain reel as he looked upon it.
It was a scene such as no man could have imagined unaided. It was a horribly distorted projection of an eccentric landscape, a landscape hardly analogous to anything on Earth. It is no more the fourth dimension than a shadow is three-dimensional. It, like a shadow, is merely a projection. It gives us a glimpse of what the fourth plane is like.
It is a shadow of that plane. Slowly it assumed definite form. It puzzled the reporter. It looked familiar. He could have sworn he had seen it somewhere before. It was alive, for it had moved. White again corrected him. Henry nodded. The other slowly began to return the lever to its original position. The roaring subsided, the light faded, the projection in the half-globe grew fainter. I shall send them out in an hour. As the reporter dashed out of the door, the light faded entirely from between the two disks and on the lower one a little dog crouched, quivering, softly whimpering.
He scooped the little animal from where it lay into his arms and patted the silky head. If you ask me, sir, they are a tough lot. They are born fighters. My one regret is that I have not been able to secure more like them. A thousand men such as they should be able to conquer any opponent.
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It was impossible. The others were poor soft fools. They laughed in my face. They thought I was an old fool--I, the man who alone stands between them and utter destruction. I hope not. Henry Woods appeared in the doorway. Why, man, it's the greatest story of all time. I'm going as special war correspondent. They are going to publish it? Maybe you think that story didn't stop the presses! I just took a chance. I thought they, too, would laugh at me. You really want to go?
Try to stop me. White glanced at his watch. The blue light, hissing, drove from disk to disk; the room thundered with the roar of the machine, before which stood Dr. White, his hand on the lever, his eyes glued on the instruments before him. In a line stood the men who were to fling themselves into the light to be warped into another dimension, there to seek out and fight an unknown enemy.
The line was headed by a tall man with hands like hams, with a weather-beaten face and a wild mop of hair.
Behind him stood a belligerent little cockney. Henry Woods stood fifth in line. They were a motley lot, adventurers every one of them, and some were obviously afraid as they stood before that column of light, with only a few seconds of the third dimension left to them. They had answered a weird advertisement, and had but a limited idea of what they were about to do.
Grimly, though, they accepted it as a job, a bizarre job, but a job. They faced it as they had faced other equally dangerous, but less unusual, jobs. The lever was all the way over now. The half-globe showed, within its milky interior, a hideously distorted landscape. The light had taken on a hard, brittle appearance and its hiss had risen to a scream.
The machine thundered steadily with a suggestion of horrible power. His foot reached the disk; another step and he was bathed in the light, a third and he glimmered momentarily, then vanished. Close on his heels followed the little cockney. With his nerves at almost a snapping point, Henry moved on behind the fourth man. He was horribly afraid, he wanted to break from the line and run, it didn't matter where, any place to get away from that steady, steely light in front of him.
He had seen three men step into it, glow for a second, and then disappear. A fourth man had placed his foot on the disk. Cold sweat stood out on his brow. Like an automaton he placed one foot on the disk. The fourth man had already disappeared. Henry lifted the other foot, caught his toe on the edge of the disk and stumbled headlong into the column of light.
He was conscious of intense heat which was instantly followed by equally intense cold. For a moment his body seemed to be under enormous pressure, then it seemed to be expanding, flying apart, bursting, exploding It was a land of somber color, with great gray moors, and beetling black cliffs. There was something queer about it, an intangible quality that baffled him. He looked about him, expecting to see his companions. He saw no one. He was absolutely alone in that desolate brooding land. Something dreadful had happened!
Was he the only one to be safely transported from the third dimension? Had some horrible accident occurred? Was he alone? Sudden panic seized him. If something had happened, if the others were not here, might it not be possible that the machine would not be able to bring him back to his own dimension? Was he doomed to remain marooned forever in this terrible plane? He looked down at his body and gasped in dismay. It was not his body! It was a grotesque caricature of a body, a horrible profane mass of flesh, like a phantasmagoric beast snatched from the dreams of a lunatic. It was real, however.
He felt it with his hands, but they were not hands. They were something like hands; they served the same purpose that hands served in the third dimension. He was, he realized, a being of the fourth dimension, but in his fourthdimensional brain still clung hard-fighting remnants of that faithful old thirddimensional brain. He could not, as yet, see with fourth-dimensional eyes, think purely fourth-dimensional thoughts. He had not oriented himself as yet to this new plane of existence. He was seeing the fourth dimension through the blurred lenses of millions of eons of third-dimensional existence.
He was seeing it much more clearly than he had seen it in the half-globe atop the machine in Dr. White's laboratory, but he would not see it clearly until every vestige of the third dimension was wiped from him. That, he knew, would come in time.
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He felt his weird body with those things that served as hands, and he found, beneath his groping, unearthly fingers, great rolling muscles, powerful tendons, and hard, wellconditioned flesh. A sense of well-being surged through him and he growled like an animal, like an animal of that horrible fourth plane. But the terrible sounds that came from between his slobbering lips were not those of his own voice, they were the voices of many men. He was not alone. Here, in this one body were the bodies, the brains, the power, the spirit, of those other ninety-eight men. In the fourth dimension, all the millions of third-dimensional things were one.
Perhaps that particular portion of the third dimension called the Earth had sprung from, or degenerated from, one single unit of a dissolving, worn-out fourth dimension. The third dimension, warped back to a higher plane, was automatically obeying the mystic laws of evolution by reforming in the shape of that old ancestor, unimaginably removed in time from the race he had begot.
He was no longer Henry Woods, newspaperman; he was an entity that had given birth, in the dim ages when the Earth was born, to a third dimension. Nor was he alone. This body of his was composed of other sons of that ancient entity. He felt himself grow, felt his body grow vaster, assume greater proportions, felt new vitality flow through him.
It was the other men, the men who were flinging themselves into the column of light in the laboratory to be warped back to this plane, to be incorporated in his body. It was not his body, however. His brain was not his alone. The pronoun, he realized, represented the sum total of those other men, his fellow adventurers.
Suddenly a new feeling came, a feeling of completeness, a feeling of supreme fitness. He knew that the last of the ninety-eight men had stepped across the disk, that all were here in this giant body. Now he could see more clearly. Things in the landscape, which had escaped him before, became recognizable. Awful thoughts ran through his brain, heavy, ponderous, black thoughts. He began to recognize the landscape as something familiar, something he had seen before, a thing with which he was intimate. Phenomena, which his thirddimensional intelligence would have gasped at, became commonplace.
He was finally seeing through fourth-dimensional eyes, thinking fourth-dimensional thoughts. Memory seeped into his brain and he had fleeting visions, visions of dark caverns lit by hellish flames, of huge seas that battered remorselessly with mile-high waves against towering headlands that reared titanic toward a glowering sky.
He remembered a red desert scattered with scarlet boulders, he remembered silver cliffs of gleaming metallic stone. Through all his thoughts ran something else, a scarlet thread of hate, an allconsuming passion, a fierce lust after the life of some other entity.
He was no longer a composite thing built of third-dimensional beings. He was a creature of another plane, a creature with a consuming hate, and suddenly he knew against whom this hate was directed and why. He knew also that this creature was near and his great fists closed and then spread wide as he knew it. How did he know it? Perhaps through some sense which he, as a being of another plane, held, but which was alien to the Earth. Later, he asked himself this question. At the time, however, there was no questioning on his part. He only knew that somewhere near was a hated enemy and he did not question the source of his knowledge At the foot of the hill he halted and from his throat issued a challenging roar that made the very crags surrounding the moor tremble.
The rocks flung back the roar as if in mockery. Again he shouted and in the shout he framed a lurid insult to the enemy that lurked there in the cliffs. Again the crags flung back the insult, but this time the echoes, booming over the moor, were drowned by another voice, the voice of the enemy. At the far end of the moor appeared a gigantic form, a form that shambled on grotesque, misshapen feet, growling angrily as he came. He came rapidly despite his clumsy gait, and as he came he mouthed terrific threats.
Close to the other he halted and only then did recognition dawn in his eyes. I have returned to wreak my vengeance. I have solved a mystery you have never guessed and I have come back. You did not imagine you were attacking me again when you sent your minions to that other plane to feed upon the beings there. It was I you were attacking, fool, and I am here to kill you. Mal Shaff felt the force of Ouglat, felt the sharp pain of a hammering fist, and lashed out with those horrible arms of his to smash at the leering face of his antagonist.
He felt his fists strike solid flesh, felt the bones creak and tremble beneath his blow. His nostrils were filled with the terrible stench of the other's foul breath and his filthy body. He teetered on his gnarled legs and side-stepped a vicious kick and then stepped in to gouge with straightened thumb at the other's eye. The thumb went true and Ouglat howled in pain. Mal Shaff leaped back as his opponent charged head down, and his knotted fist beat a thunderous tattoo as the misshapen beast closed in.
He felt clawing fingers seeking his throat, felt ghastly nails ripping at his shoulders. In desperation he struck blindly, and Ouglat reeled away. With a quick stride he shortened the distance between them and struck Ouglat a hard blow squarely on his slavering mouth. Pressing hard upon the reeling figure, he swung his fists like sledge-hammers, and Ouglat stumbled, falling in a heap on the sand. Mal Shaff leaped upon the fallen foe and kicked him with his taloned feet, ripping him wickedly.
There was no thought of fair play, no faintest glimmer of mercy. This was a battle to the death: there could be no quarter. His talons, seeking a hold, clawed deep. Mal Shaff, his brain a screaming maelstrom of weird emotions, aimed pile-driver blows at the enemy, clawed and ripped. Together the two rolled, locked tight in titanic battle, on the sandy plain and a great cloud of heavy dust marked where they struggled. In desperation Ouglat put every ounce of his strength into a heave that broke the other's grip and flung him away.
The two monstrosities surged to their feet, their eyes red with hate, glaring through the dust cloud at one another. Slowly Ouglat's hand stole to a black, wicked cylinder that hung on a belt at his waist. His fingers closed upon it and he drew the weapon. As he leveled it at Mal Shaff, his lips curled back and his features distorted into something that was not pleasant to see. Mal Shaff, with doubled fists, saw the great thumb of his enemy slowly depressing a button on the cylinder, and a great fear held him rooted in his tracks. In the back of his brain something was vainly trying to explain to him the horror of this thing which the other held.
Then a multicolored spiral, like a corkscrew column of vapor, sprang from the cylinder and flashed toward him. It struck him full on the chest and even as it did so he caught the ugly fire of triumph in the red eyes of his enemy. He felt a stinging sensation where the spiral struck, but that was all. He was astounded. He had feared this weapon, had been sure it portended some form of horrible death. But all it did was to produce a slight sting. For a split second he stood stock-still, then he surged forward and advanced upon Ouglat, his hands outspread like claws.
From his throat came those horrible sounds, the speech of the fourth dimension. Although you destroyed me long ago, I have returned. Throw away your puny weapon. I am of the lower dimension and am invulnerable to your engines of destruction. You bloated Ouglat, with every line of his face distorted with fear, flung the weapon from him, and turning, fled clumsily down the moor, with Mal Shaff at his heels. The two came down together, but Mal Shaff's grip was broken by the fall and the two regained their feet at almost the same instant.
The wild moor resounded to their throaty roaring and the high cliffs flung back the echoes of the bellowing of the two gladiators below. It was sheer strength now and flesh and bone were bruised and broken under the life-shaking blows that they dealt.
Great furrows were plowed in the sand by the sliding of heavy feet as the two fighters shifted to or away from attack. Blood, blood of fourth-dimensional creatures, covered the bodies of the two and stained the sand with its horrible hue. Perspiration streamed from them and their breath came in gulping gasps.
The lurid sun slid across the purple sky and still the two fought on. Ouglat, one of the ancients, and Mal Shaff, reincarnated. It was a battle of giants, a battle that must have beggared even the titanic tilting of forgotten gods and entities in the ages when the thirddimensional Earth was young. Mal Shaff had no conception of time. He may have fought seconds or hours.
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It seemed an eternity. He had attempted to fight scientifically, but had failed to do so. While one part of him had cried out to elude his opponent, to wait for openings, to conserve his strength, another part had shouted at him to step in and smash, smash, smash at the hated monstrosity pitted against him. It seemed Ouglat was growing in size, had become more agile, that his strength was greater. His punches hurt more; it was harder to hit him. Still Mal Shaff drilled in determinedly, head down, fists working like pistons. As the other seemed to grow stronger and larger, he seemed to become smaller and weaker.
It was queer. Ouglat should be tired, too. His punches should be weaker. He should move more slowly, be heavier on his feet. There was no doubt of it. Ouglat was growing larger, was drawing on some mysterious reserve of strength. From somewhere new force and life were flowing into his body. But from where was this strength coming? A huge fist smashed against Mal Shaff's jaw. He felt himself lifted, and the next moment he skidded across the sand. Lying there, gasping for breath, almost too fagged to rise, with the black bulk of the enemy looming through the dust cloud before him, he suddenly realized the source of the other's renewed strength.
Ouglat was recalling his minions from the third dimension! They were incorporating in his body, returning to their parent body! They were coming back from the third dimension to the fourth dimension to fight a third-dimensional thing reincarnated in the fourth-dimensional form it had lost millions of eons ago! This was the end, thought Mal Shaff.
But he staggered to his feet to meet the charge of the ancient enemy and a grim song, a death chant immeasurably old, suddenly and dimly remembered from out of the mists of countless millenniums, was on his lips as he swung a pile-driver blow into the suddenly astonished face of the rushing Ouglat White's laboratory glowed softly, and within that glow two figures seemed to struggle.
Before the machine, his hands still on the controls, stood Dr. Behind him the room was crowded with newspapermen and photographers. Hours had passed since the ninety-eight men--ninety-nine, counting Henry Woods--had stepped into the brittle column of light to be shunted back through unguessed time to a different plane of existence. The old scientist, during all those hours, had stood like a graven image before his machine, eyes staring fixedly at the globe. Through the open windows he had heard the cry of the newsboy as the Press put the greatest scoop of all time on the street.
The phone had rung like mad and George answered it. The doorbell buzzed repeatedly and George ushered in newspapermen who had asked innumerable questions, to which he had replied briefly, almost mechanically. The reporters had fought for the use of the one phone in the house and had finally drawn lots for it. A few had raced out to use other phones. Photographers came and flashes popped and cameras clicked.
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The room was in an uproar. On the rare occasions when the reporters were not using the phone the instrument buzzed shrilly. Authoritative voices demanded Dr. George, his eyes on the old man, stated that Dr. Silas White could not be disturbed, that he was busy. From the street below came the heavy-throated hum of thousands of voices. The street was packed with a jostling crowd of awed humanity, every eye fastened on the house of Dr.
Lines of police held them back. It looks like a slow motion picture. Maybe what is hours to us is only seconds to them. Time must flow more slowly there. Perhaps it is a bigger place than this third plane. That may account for it. They aren't moving slowly, they are fighting savagely. It's a fight to the death! Slowly the other twisted his body aside, but too slowly. The fist finally touched the head, still moving slowly forward, the body following as slowly. The head of the creature twisted, bent backward, and the body toppled back in a leisurely manner.
Can't you get a statement of some sort from him? Won't he talk at all? A hell of a fine reporter you are--can't even get a man to open his mouth. Ask him about Henry Woods. Get a human-interest slant on Woods walking into the light. Ask him how long this is going to last. Damn it all, man, do something, and don't bother me again until you have a real story--yes, I said a real story--are you hard of hearing? For God's sake, do something! Ask them if they're going to back up White. Go on, go on. Get busy How will you get them? I don't know. Just get them, that's all. Get them! Copy boys rushed about, white sheets clutched in their grimy hands.
Telephones jangled and strident voices blared through the haze that arose from the pipes and cigarettes of perspiring writers who feverishly transferred to paper the startling events that were rocking the world. The editor, his necktie off, his shirt open, his sleeves rolled to the elbow, drummed his fingers on the desk. It had been a hectic twenty-four hours and he had stayed at the desk every minute of the time.
He was dead tired. When the moment of relaxation came, when the tension snapped, he knew he would fall into an exhausted stupor of sleep, but the excitement was keeping him on his feet. There was work to do. There was news such as the world had never known before. Each new story meant a new front make-up, another extra. Even now the presses were thundering, even now papers with the ink hardly dry upon them were being snatched by the avid public from the hands of screaming newsboys. Sensing something unusual the others in the room crowded about as he laid the sheet before the editor. The paper was a wire dispatch.
It read: "Rome--The Black Horror is in full retreat. Although still apparently immune to the weapons being used against it, it is lifting the siege of this city. The cause is unknown. There was another dateline: "Madrid--The Black Horror, which has enclosed this city in a ring of dark terror for the last two days, is fleeing, rapidly disappearing There was an answering buzz. Yes, another extra. This will knock their eyes out! The editor seized it. What was that? White says he must have help.
I see. Woods and the others are weakening.