Openers: The secret itself was still safe. It was clear that the public not yet could have learned it. No; the nature of the tremendous and terrific Discovery remained ocked in the breast of the men who had made it. No one had broken so badly under the burden of it that he had let slip any actual details of what had been learned.
But the fact that there was a secret, of incomparable importance, was out.
David Randell received plenty of proof of it, as he stood at the liner's rail, and the radiograms from shore were brought to him. He had had seven, all of the same sort, within the hour, and here was another.
He held it without opening it while he gazed across the sparkling water at the nearing shores of Long Island beyond which lay New York. Strange that, in a city which he could not yet see, men could be so excited about his errand, while the fellow-passengers, at his elbow, glanced at him only with mild curiosity at the sudden frequency of radiograms for him.
They would be far less indifferent, if they had read them.
The first, arriving less than a hour ago, offered him one thousand dollars for first and exclusive information -- to be withheld from all others for twelve hours -- of what he carried in his black box. It was signed by the most famous newspaper in New York.
Haardly had the messenger started back to the radio station wneh a second boy appeared with a message from another newspaper: "Two thousand dollars for first information of your business in New York."
-- When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer (1933)
The message was one of doom. Scientists in the Southern Hemisphere had discovered that two rogue planets -- one the size of Uranus, the other the size of Earth, with the smaller orbiting around the larger -- had entered the solar system. Exact calculations showed that the two wandering planets would just miss striking Earth on its first path but, after orbiting the sun, the Larger of the two would strike Earth, completely obliverating it. There was a chance that the second, smaller planet may have the qualities needed for life, despite the fact that it had been frozen during its millions of years traveling through space.
The scientists are building rockets that would take a few -- selected for their intelligence and for being the most biologially useful -- to that new world where humanity might have a chance of survival.
But the secret leaked, sparking a world-wide struggle among mankind for an invidual chance of escaping certain death.
The story of Earth facing disaster from a collision with an extrasolar body is an old one in science fiction. Jules Verne and H. G. Wells both played with the idea in novels. A number of writers in the early twentieth century wrote Noah's Ark-type stories in which humanity tried to escape doom. Wylie and Bulmer's book, however, managed to hit a public nerve and the novel has not been out of print since its inception. The cover of the 1973 Waner Paperback Library printing which I read has the tag line, "America's most famous science fiction classic that ranks with 1984 and Brave New World." It helped that the theme was used by Alex Raymond the following year in his Flash Gordon comic strip. The theme of escape from a doomed planet via rocket ship also formed the basis of Siegel and Shuster's Superman comic book. The very successful 1951 George Pal film When Worlds Collide also helped cement the book's fame. Wylie and Balmer followed the book with a sequel, After World's Collide (1934), which has also remained in print. The comic strip Speed Spaulding, in part based on the two books, was created by Edwin Balmer and Marvin Brdley and ran from 1938 through 1941.
Today the story is a chestnut, but it is still readble and can be enjoyed.
Philip Wylie (1902-1971) was a popular author and social critic who defined the term "Momism." Wylie's fiction covered the gamut from mysteries to his 69 popular stories about fishing in his Crunch and Des series. His greatest fistional impact was on the science fiction and related genres. Among his books:
- Gladiator (1931), the story of a superhuman created by eugenics and a major inflluence on the creation of Superman
- The Murderer Invisible (1932), this, along with the H. G. Wells novel, provided the plot of the firt draft of the 1933 film The Invisible Man; the fianl version of the film relied more heavily on the Wells novel, as adapted by R, C, sherriff, with an assist from Preston Sturges
- The Savage Gentleman (1932) which features a Doc Savage prototype
- Night Unto Night (1934) a posthumous fantasy; it was made into a 1949 Ronald Reagan film
- Blunder: The Story of the End of the World (1946) about the dangers of atomic power
- The Disappearance (1951) in which the world is split into two dimensions -- one with all men and one with all women
- The Smuggled Atom Bomb (1956) a thriller about the threat of an atomic bomb
- The Answer (1955) in which Americans and Russians mistakenly kill an angel
- Tomorrow! (1954) about the dangers of nuclear war
- Triumph (1963) in which Americans are rescued from a deep shelter
- The Spy Who Spoke Porpoise (1969) a political thriller
- Los Angeles: A.D. 2017 (1971) A novelization of Wtlie's script for and episode of television's The Name of the Game series; the episode, BTW, was directed by Stephen Spielberg; by this time, Wylie's attention was drawn away from nuclear holocaust and directed at ecological disaster
- The End of the Dream (1972) Wylie's final novel and published posthumously; another warning about ecological disaster
- Florida Man Rick Meyers, 30, of Titusville, was charged with picking magic mushrooms while carrying an alligator. And if these two charges weren't enough, he was also charged with violating his parole. Soooo...HAT TRICK!
- If any Florida Man has ever shown remorse, it's Geoff Gaylord. The 38-year-old Jacksonville man "killed" his imaginary friend, Mr. Happy, and the turned himself in. Gaylord said that he stabbed Mr. Happy repeatedly with a kitchen knife, chopped up the body with a hatchet, and uried the remains in his back yard. Drugs were involved.
- Eladio Garcia-Gasca, a 50-year-old North St. Petersburg Florida Man, has been arrested for th theft and slaughter of a horse last year. When the owner and deputies searched the general area, they found the horse dead with most of its meat removed. Eww!
- Florida Man Brendan Doaln-King, 23, of Clearwater, is evidently a fan of an ex-President-not-to-be-named He waas arrested with five ecstacy pilles in the shape of the ex-President-not-to-be-named face. And, yes, the pills were orange.
- Here's an oldie but goodie from 2016: Florida Man Joseph Robinson, 45 at the time, of Orange country got into a heated arguement with 69-year-old John Stubbs. When Stubbs, who had eleven children and whose wife had dies of cancer six months before, tried to walk away, Robinson attacked him with ax and killed him. The argument? It ws over lottery tickets and beer.
- Cmpany mimics spiders to create fax silk the is 1000% more energy efficient https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/company-mimics-spiders-to-create-faux-silk-1000x-more-energy-efficient/
- 16-year-old buys contents of storage lockers to returned contents to former owners https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/shane-jones-buys-repossessed-storage-units-to-help-owners/
- Co-workers donate kidneys to save each other's husbands https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/co-workers-donate-their-kidneys-to-save-each-others-husbands/
- America honors 98-year-old woman whose storn warnings delayed D-Day invation, thus saving the war https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/irish-woman-whose-weather-report-saved-the-d-day-landings-honored-by-congress/
- I like this one: coffee is now linked to reduced risk of many ailmentss, including liver disease, Parkinson's, melanoma, obesity, and even suicide https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/all-of-coffees-beneficial-effects-liver-disease-cancers-obesity/
- A cure for hiccups? Scientists Have Figured Out How to Instantly Cure Hiccups (goodnewsnetwork.org)