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Saturday, August 1st, 2020

The Winged Man

Categories: [ Books/Retro Hugo 1945 ]

A.E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1944-June 1944)

An American submarine in the Pacific is transported from 1944 to the year 1,000,000. The crew meets a society of winged men who live in a city floating in the air, above a planet Earth mostly covered in water (brought several hundreds of thousands of years earlier by meteorites) where solid ground is not anymore solid and therefore unsuitable for building and living. They learn that the humans at the time water started to raise have designed two new species, winged men and fishmen who live in a city under water. The fishmen have access to natural resources and devices inherited from the original humans, and have decided to get rid of the winged men by attracting the flying city towards the water. The winged men, who have not access to natural resources and build no devices, have used a time-travel device to fetch war machines from various times in the past. The humans' submarine, equipped with explosive torpedoes, is the only one able to destroy the underwater city of the fishmen. All are promised to be sent back to their time once the city is destroyed. As the commander of the submarine has been taken by the fishmen and is presumed dead, the first officer is taken to the flying city to meet the “council”, an omniscient computer that shows him the lives of both the winged men and the fishmen. He is then returned to the submarine who has been taken over by warlike women from the year 10,000 who are in a hurry to go back to their time. But they do not know how to operate a diesel submarine, allowing the first officer to retake his ship and instead of destroying the whole city, only destroys its core that controls the devices inherited from the humans ancestors, putting the fishmen and winged men on equal footing. As promised, all are then returned to their own time.

[ Posted on August 1st, 2020 at 20:01 | no comment | ]