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

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

The Oversight

John C. Hastings, senior medical student in the Nebraska State University Medical School at Omaha, looked out of the window of the Packard sedan he was driving down the road along the top of the bluff, and out in the middle of the Missouri River he saw a Roman galley, sweeping down midstream with three tiers of huge oars.

A pang of alarm shot through him. The study of medicine is a terrible grind; he had been working hard. In a recent psychiatry class they had touched upon hysterical delusions and illusions. Was his mind slipping? Or was this some sort of optical delusion? He had stolen away from Omaha with Celestine Newbury to enjoy the green and open freshness of the country like a couple of stifled city folks. Perhaps the nearest he had come to foolishness had been when the stars had looked like her eyes and he had pointed out Mars and talked of flying with her to visit that mysterious red planet.

“Do you see it too?” he gasped at Celestine.

She saw it, too, and heard the creak of oars and the thumping of a drum; there floated up to them a hoarse chant, rhythmic but not musical, broken into by rough voices that might have been cursing.

It was a clumsy vessel, built of heavy timbers, with a high-beaked prow. There was a short mast and a red-and-yellow sail that bulged in the breeze. The long oars looked tremendously heavy and unwieldy, and swung in long, slow strokes, swirling up the muddy water and throwing up a yellow bow-wave. The decks were crowded with men, from whom came the gleam of metal shields, swords, and helmets.

“Some advertising scheme I suppose,” muttered John cynically.

“Or some traveling show, trying to be original,” Celestine suggested.

-394-

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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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