Welcome to the exciting world of The Future! I’m your host, Dave Lartigue, and I’ll be taking you on an exciting and educational journey into the time to come! Sit back, pull up a cosmo chair, pour a space drink, and enjoy!
You’re all familiar with Silver Age stories in which some writer got hold of a single scientific fact and then developed a quick six-pager around it. Today we’re looking at something a little bit different, because this time it’s a six-page story without any scientific facts in it whatsoever. In fact, if you have any science nearby you might want to move it away from your screen.
Our story takes place around the year 2066, and Earth is in a terrible situation!
People are naming their kids Orton Boone! Also, we’re running out of gas. Dynium is the rare element that makes space travel possible, and Earth is almost out of it. (We’d been running low since the 2020s, but any suggestions that we try to find other methods of powering space travel were laughed at by Conservatives.)
Orton Boone here has a mission: find more Dynium! His method?
Simply land on whatever space object comes along and hope for the best! Sadly, this well-thought-out plan has come up empty so far. Boone’s running on Dynium fumes when he receives a distress call from an asteroid named Hermes. Getting there will use up all his remaining fuel but it’s not like he can ignore an SOS! The good news is, it turns out Hermes is full of Dynium!
So let’s talk about Hermes. Right now its immediate problem is that it’s got a wildly eccentric orbit and is about to fall into the Sun. So, that’s not good. But there’s an additional problem:
Anti-gravity! Boone can’t land on Hermes because unlike a regular planet with gravity, Hermes’ anti-gravity pushes everything away from it! (Except the atmosphere. And the people. And the Sun. And everything else.) Now, you might think that Boone’s spacecraft has to be able to work against this force for the same reason it can take off from Earth, but that’s just a little voice named Science whispering in your head and seriously, you’re going to want to shut that down real soon.
Okay, so here’s the deal with that. See, there used to be a planet between Mars and Jupiter called Asteroidia. IT was home to the usual super-scientific civilization until a “terrible nuclear bomb war” put a ruthless tyrant in charge.
The exiles make do on the wild, metal-less, reverse-gravitied moon Hermes and before too long the ravaged husk of their homeworld explodes because it was in the hands of a bunch of nuclear-bomb-loving violent jerks. This propels Hermes on its weird, irregular orbit around the Sun, an orbit that’s no longer going to take the long way around.
Meanwhile, Orton Boone can’t land on the place because anti-gravity! Thankfully, Mama Boone didn’t raise no dummies, and he gets a tremendously clever idea.
Boone fills his ship with hydrogen gas and before you can say, “Oh, the humanity!” his ship has successfully touched down on Hermes! Once there it’s child’s play to build cement rocket tubes and turn the dynium on the moon into fuel. Soon Hermes is itself a giant rocket and flies away from the Sun!
Somehow they are able to maneuver this thing into orbit around Earth, and plans are made to rescue the citizens of Hermes, grab all their precious, precious dynium, and then blow up the crazy anti-gravity moon, presumably with hydrogen bombs.
The Hermesians only have one question:
It’s a win-win! The Hermesians get to have their home of centuries gutted and destroyed, and the Earthlings get to not have to come up with any alternative fuel sources! I’m trying to think if there are any real-world parallels to this, but I don’t think there are!
Now, we’ve had a lot of goofy fun here today japing with this story, but if this opening splash panel doesn’t give you a funny feeling in your tummy then brother, I don’t want you reading my blog anymore.
“The Boomerang World!”
Mystery in Space #30 (DC, February-March 1956)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Frank Giacoia
Inker: Joe Giella
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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