“The Blinding Shadows” by Donald WandreiOctober 15, 2010
The Book: “The Blinding Shadows” by Donald Wandrei. Originally published in the May 1934 edition of Astounding Stories. Edition read in Beachheads in Space, edited by August Derleth, published by Berkeley Books in 1952.
The Setting: New York City, Earth.
The Story: A scientist proves that a four-dimensional world overlaps with ours, with disastrous results. He gets eaten by a three dimensional shadow of a four dimensional creature.
The Science: This story starts out great, with real science that makes sense. Can something exists in the space between? After all, matter is less solid that we suppose – atoms are mostly empty space. (I once read that all the matter in the human body could be condensed to a point the size of a pin head.) So, the scientist expects, there are worlds that exist there. Four dimensional worlds. With three dimensional shadows. And he makes a mirror to see them. The whole mirror thing seems a bit sketchy to me. I don’t buy it. But it starts out all sciencey.
The Reaction: I liked it. It was explicit science fiction which gets a bit spook story at the end. But worth the read.
The Cover: Alas, no cover art credit for this book. Because it has got a really awesome spaceship on the cover, and an outpost on a hill, and is very lovely science-fictiony in general. Awesome.
Etc: A note on the title – beachhead is not a word in my vocabulary. I would have guessed in was like “deadhead” or maybe a synonym for lighthouse. But no, it’s a military term. Not likely to be understood these days.
Next Up: “Repetition” by A.E. Van Gogt.