The Man with the Strange Head and Other Early Science Fiction Stories

By Miles J. Breuer; Michael R. Page | Go to book overview

The Finger of the Past

Waldo Swift, dapper young salesman of “Palaeoscopes, Inc.,” shifted his necktie infinitesimally into the position of utmost nicety, squared back his shoulders, and then picked up his little black case from beside the elevator door and stepped briskly and energetically toward Herodias Buffum’s office. And indeed, the prospect upon whom he was about to call was regarded among salesmen as a tough nut to crack. He had been known to eject salesmen physically into the outer corridor. Therefore, Waldo Swift, in spite of the confidence he had in the appeal of the marvelous and astonishing invention he was “distributing,” gathered together all the courage he had before he opened the door.

He found himself in the luxuriously furnished reception-room belonging to the executive offices of The Radionic Remedies Company, located on the 127th floor of The Manufacturers’ Building. There were two other doors in addition to the one by which he had entered. Beyond one of them was the faint hum of typewriting machines, while the other, which bore the name of “Herodias Buffum, President,” was slightly ajar. As Swift let his eyes rove about the room taking in first one elegant object and then another, he could not help hearing clearly the sounds that came from Buffum’s office.

A distant door closed faintly, and a tinkling voice said:

“Good morning, sir!”

It was Miss Peacheline Fairchild, the stenographer, who glided efficiently into the room, even before Buffum had ceased jabbing the button on his desk.

“We’ve got a lot of work today,” Buffum said deep down in his throat. “Starting on something new.”

Miss Fairchild was already sitting with notebook ready and pencil

-339-

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The Man with the Strange Head and Other Early Science Fiction Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Science Fiction Pioneer of the Nebraska Plains ix
  • The Man with the Strange Head 1
  • The Appendix and the Spectacles 12
  • The Gostak and the Doshes 25
  • Paradise and Iron 44
  • A Problem in Communication 257
  • On Board the Martian Liner 285
  • Mechanocracy 312
  • The Finger of the Past 339
  • Millions for Defense 350
  • Mars Colonizes 366
  • The Oversight 394
  • Appendix 1- The Future of Scientifiction 415
  • Appendix 2- Selected Letters 419
  • Source Acknowledgments 427
  • Breuer's Science Fiction 429
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