Science Fiction Short Story Review: "The Monster" by Randall Garrett
When we first meet Fred Trent, newspaperman, he’s busy trying to talk Joan Drake into not forgetting their date that night. She’s out walking Brutus, Dr. Fenwick’s Great Dane. Or maybe Brutus is walking her. Trent also wants to talk her into giving up her job and settling down, which she’s agreed to do as soon as he gets a raise and a bonus as a down payment on a house. Trent needs the biggest scoop in Arizona history.
Trent is on his way to the Proving Grounds outside Tucson where a rocket is going to be launched with a live cat to test the effects of cosmic rays on living animals. Joan mentions that one of the scientists working on the project, Blair Gaddon, happens to be in the office consulting with Dr. Fenwick right now. Trent decides to offer the renowned physicist a ride back to the Proving Grounds and pick his brain on the way.
He dislikes the British Gaddon immediately, though lets him talk. Gaddon lets it slip (he’s quite full of himself) that he and the other physicist on the project, Dr. Mathieson, don’t agree on what cosmic rays will do to living tissue. Mathieson in his American ignorance thinks that cosmic rays are lethal. Gaddon thinks—he KNOWS—they are the source of life energy, a sort of fountain of youth.
This is something of a Greek tragedy. Everybody dies and hubris gets paid back in horrible, horrible terms. But the intrepid Trent prevails and gets the girl. And bummer for the poor cat who never did any harm to anyone. It was, IMHO, much longer than it needed to be.
Title: “The Monster” first published in Amazing Stories April 1949
Author: Randall Garrett (1927-1987)
Source: Not listed under Randall Garrett's publications. Published with pseudonym S. M. Tenneshaw, used by a number of different authors. ISFDB listed the author as "unknown," but elsewhere the author is listed as Randall Garrett.
CalmGemini supplied info that was incredibly helpful in finding this out. I want to thank her.
Last review: “The Bus-Conductor” by E. F. Benson
Last sci-fi review: “The Hammer of Thor” by Charles W Diffin
Also by Randall Garrett: “ Heist Job on Thizar ”
© 2015 Denise Longrie
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