Science Fiction Short Story Review "The Eternal Wall" by Raymond Z. Gallun
This is another in the series of “It Came from the Pulps!” where I review science fiction short stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines of mid-20th century. Many of these have become available in electronic form as free downloads, particularly from Project Gutenberg, or for a low price.
Ned Vince was on his way to Hurley to meet his girl. Unfortunately, he was driving too fast along Pit Bend. When another car came around the curve, he was blinded by its headlights and swung his steering wheel to the right. The tires skidded on the loose gravel. The car went through the barrier and over the embankment. It struck a boulder that sent it and Ned sailing through the air and then down into the inky waters of the Pit, 50 feet below. It didn’t take long for the car to sink into the alkaline waters, but it took a little while longer for Ned, unable to get out of the car, to drown. He thought of the machine shop he and his dad ran, and of Betty, of how they were planning on going to the university this fall and of eventually marrying.
Time passed. Men went to the stars. Earth became very different. The pit was now dry lakebed. Archaeologists uncovered Ned’s car and were delighted to find that his remains, even his brain, were intact.
“A man!” they squeaked at each other in their own tongue for they weren’t human. They devised plans to revive him.
With all its improbabilities, this is an interesting little story. The prairie dog archaeologists of the future, while they have to be taken seriously, are also cute with their squeaking. They also provide the ultimate solution to the problem posed by reviving the last human on earth, one that helps both them and Ned. But there is also sadness and deception. While nothing profound, this is a worthy little tale.
Author Raymond Z. Gallun, who began publishing science fiction stories in pulp magazines in the late 1920s, was awarded the I-CON Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985 at I-CON IV. The award was later renamed The Raymond Z. Gallun Award.
Title: “The Eternal Wall” first published in Amazing Stories Nov. 1942
Author: Raymond Z. Gallun (1911-1994)
©2015 Denise Longrie
An earlier version of this review appeared on another site. It has been removed from that site and is no longer visible there are anywhere else. It has been updated and expanded for its inclusion in PP.
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