Series:Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Stories Collection
When Shadows Fall
Listen to an excerpt
In a future where Mother Earth has cast her children to the distant stars to begin anew and colonize the cosmos, the planet remains depleted of natural resources. Its air polluted by caustic iron and belching smoke, Earth faces her last desperate days in the grip of global environmental collapse.
In one final and feeble effort, Earth's Grand President Mankin musters the dregs of his fleet and sends three separate missions to the deepest reaches of space. Their mission: solicit help from far-flung colonial civilizations, or watch the planet die.
Also includes the science fiction adventures, Battling Bolto, the story of a giant, con man who's running an interstellar scam, while the biggest trick of all lies right under his nose; and Tough Old Man, in which an aging constable's lack of feelings is not a matter of insensitivity, but of a secret—and surprising—side of his character.
By the spring of 1938, L. Ron Hubbard's stature as a writer was well established. As author and critic Robert Silverberg puts it: he had become a “master of the art of narrative." Mr. Hubbard's editors urged him to apply his gift for succinct characterization, original plot, deft pacing and imaginative action to a genre that was new, and essentially foreign, to him—science fiction and fantasy. The rest is Sci-Fi history.
When Shadows Fall Glossary
Stories from the Golden Age reflect the words and expressions used in the 1930s and 1940s, adding unique flavor and authenticity to the tales. While a character’s speech may often reflect regional origins, it also can convey attitudes common in the day. So that readers can better grasp such cultural and historical terms, uncommon words or expressions of the era, the following glossary has been provided.
alpha: first in order of brightness.
ballyhoo: to attract the attention of customers by raising a clamor. The ballyhoo is a sophisticated “commercial,” usually illustrated with quick appearances by the performers given to draw a crowd to see a show.
bead, drawing a rifle: variation of “to draw a bead on”; taking aim at. This term alludes to the bead, a small metal knob on a firearm used as a front sight.
bilge: worthless talk; nonsense.
blathery: unsubstantial; rotten; trashy.
braying: uttering loudly and harshly.
bucks: men, especially strong or spirited young men.
chilblain: inflammation, followed by itchy irritation on hands, feet or ears that have been exposed to moist cold.
coming over or come over: deceiving or taking advantage of someone.
complection: complexion; general appearance or nature.
constable: a law enforcement officer.
crookt: crooked; bent.
ergs: units of energy.
Eternal, by the: used to express surprise or emphasis; the Eternal refers to God.
flimdoodle, don’t give a: variation of “don’t give a hoot”; to not care about something at all.
flimflam: to trick, deceive, swindle or cheat.
gibbous: of the moon, between the half-moon and the full moon.
G-men: government men; agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
golblamed: goddamned; used as an expression of anger, disgust, etc.
hicks: people regarded as gullible or unsophisticated.
horizon blue and gold: a uniform; a field uniform the color of horizon blue, a variable color averaging a light greenish blue to blue, with gold buttons.
hummocks: ridges or hills of ice in an ice field.
ill-starred: doomed to end in failure or disaster.
import: 1. consequence or importance; matter. 2. meaning; implication.
limned: outlined in clear detail; delineated.
mackinaw: a thick heavy woolen cloth, usually with a plaid design.
mean: inferior in grade or quality.
patch on, isn’t a: to not be as good as someone or something else.
physiognomy: the features of somebody’s face, especially when they are used as indicators of that person’s character or temperament.
plugged: (of a coin) with the center removed and replaced with a worthless metal.
proof: 1. tested or proved strength, as of armor. 2. capable of resisting harm, injury or damage.
quarters, at: at a proper or assigned station or place, as for officers and crew on a warship.
Scheherazade: the female narrator of The Arabian Nights, who during one thousand and one adventurous nights saved her life by entertaining her husband, the king, with stories.
shod: covered for protection, strength or ornament.
subscriptions: funds raised through sums of money pledged.
tramp: a freight vessel that does not run regularly between fixed ports, but takes a cargo wherever shippers desire.