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Authors: David Drake,Eric Flint,Jim Baen

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The World Turned Upside Down

BOOK: The World Turned Upside Down
Edited by
David Drake
Eric Flint
Jim Baen


This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2004 by David Drake, Eric Flint & Jim Baen
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.
A Baen Books Original
Baen Publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471
ISBN: 0-7434-9874-7
Cover art by Thomas Kidd
First printing, January 2005
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The world turned upside down / edited by David Drake, Eric Flint, and Jim Baen.
p. cm.
ISBN 0-7434-9874-7
1. Science fiction, American. 2. Science fiction, English. I. Drake, David.
II. Flint, Eric. III. Baen, Jim.
PS648.S3W647 2005
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Production by Windhaven Press, Auburn, NH
Printed in the United States of America



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For a complete list of Baen Books
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Copyright information for
The World Turned Upside Down

Stories are listed in order of -publication date:

C.L. Moore, "Shambleau" was first published in
Weird Tales
in November, 1933. Reprinted by permission of Don Congdon Associates. Copyright © 1933 by Popular Fiction Company, renewed 1961 by C.L. Moore.

John W. Campbell, Jr. (writing as Don A. Stuart), "Who Goes There?" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in August, 1938.

A.E. Van Vogt, "Black Destroyer" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in July, 1939.

Lee Gregor, "Heavy Planet" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in August, 1939.

P. Schuyler Miller, "Spawn" was first published in
Weird Tales
in August, 1939.

Ross Rocklynne, "Quietus" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in September, 1940.

Chester S. Geier, "Environment" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in May, 1944.

Arthur C. Clarke, "Rescue Party" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in May, 1946. Reprinted by permission of the author and the author's agents, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency, Inc.

Theodore Sturgeon, "Thunder and Roses" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in November, 1947.

C.M. Kornbluth, "The Only Thing We Learn" was first published in
Startling Stories
in July, 1949. Copyright © 1949 by C.M. Kornbluth. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Wyman Guin (writing as Norman Menasco), "Trigger Tide" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in October, 1950.

Jack Vance, "Liane the Wayfarer" first appeared as part of Jack Vance,
The Dying Earth
, published by Hillman in 1950.

Fritz Leiber, "A Pail of Air" was first published in
in December, 1951.

Michael Shaara, "All the Way Back" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in July, 1952.

Poul Anderson, "Turning Point" was first published in
in May, 1953.

Robert Ernest Gilbert, "Thy Rocks and Rills" was first published in
in September, 1953.

Tom Godwin, "The Cold Equations" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in August, 1954.

Fredric Brown, "Answer" first appeared in Fredric Brown's anthology
Angels and Spaceships,
published by E.P. Dutton in 1954.

Robert Sheckley, "Hunting Problem" was first published in
in September, 1955.

L. Sprague de Camp, "A Gun For Dinosaur" was first published in
in March, 1956.

Isaac Asimov, "The Last Question," copyright © 1956 by Columbia Publications Inc., from
Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories of Vol I
by Isaac Asimov. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

H. Beam Piper, "Omnilingual" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in February, 1957.

Robert A. Heinlein, "The Menace From Earth" was first published in
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
in August, 1957.

Gordon R. Dickson, "St. Dragon and the George" was first published in
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
in September, 1957.

Christopher Anvil, "The Gentle Earth" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in November, 1957.

Murray Leinster, "The Aliens" was first published in
Astounding Science Fiction
in August, 1959.

Rick Raphael, "Code Three" was first published in
in February, 1963.

James H. Schmitz, "Goblin Night" was first published in
in April, 1965.

Keith Laumer, "The Last Command" was first published in
in January, 1967.


This anthology started in the course of a conversation I had with Jim Baen regarding possible future prospects for reissuing old science fiction authors. In the course of advancing this or that idea, Jim interrupted me and said what he'd like to see immediately would be for Dave Drake and myself to select those stories which had the most impact on us as teenagers and got us interested in science fiction in the first place. "Call it
The World Turned Upside Down,"
he said.

I liked the idea, and so did Dave when Jim and I raised it with him. The one change Dave proposed, however, was that Jim serve as one of the editors of the volume, not simply as the publisher. That seemed eminently rational, given that by then Jim had already advanced half a dozen stories he wanted included in it because of the effect they'd had on him as a teenager.

So. This does not purport to be an anthology that contains "the best stories of science fiction"—although all of us think this volume contains a superb collection of stories. But that was not the fundamental criterion by which we made our selection. The stories were selected because of the impact they had on us several decades ago, as we were growing up in the '50s and '60s.

Some authors are missing, unfortunately. In some cases—Andre Norton being the major example, here—because the stories the author wrote which had such an effect on us were novels, and there just wasn't room in such an anthology for novel-length works. In other cases, because we were unable to obtain the rights for the stories we wanted from the agencies representing some of the estates.

We got most of what we wanted, though. And . . . here it is.

The World Turned Upside Down. 

—Eric Flint
March 2004

Rescue Party
by Arthur C. Clarke

Preface by Eric Flint

I'm certain this wasn't the first science fiction story I ever read, because I still remember those vividly. Three novels, all read when I was twelve years old and living in the small town of Shaver Lake (pop. 500) in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California: Robert Heinlein's
Citizen of the Galaxy,
Tom Godwin's
The Survivors
and Andre Norton's
Star Rangers.
I must have started reading Arthur C. Clarke soon thereafter, though. The two stories that introduced me to him—as I remember, anyway—were this one and "Jupiter V," and those two stories fixed Clarke permanently as one of the central triad in my own personal pantheon of SF's great writers. (The other two being Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton.)
We chose this one, rather than "Jupiter V," at my request. I wanted this one because, of all the stories ever written in science fiction, this is the one which first demonstrated to me that science fiction could be inspirational as well as fascinating. So I thought at the age of twelve or possibly thirteen. More than four decades have now gone by, and I haven't changed my mind at all.


Who was to blame? For three days Alveron's thoughts had come back to that question, and still he had found no answer. A creature of a less civilized or a less sensitive race would never have let it torture his mind, and would have satisfied himself with the assurance that no one could be responsible for the working of fate. But Alveron and his kind had been lords of the Universe since the dawn of history, since that far distant age when the Time Barrier had been folded round the cosmos by the unknown powers that lay beyond the Beginning. To them had been given all knowledge—and with infinite knowledge went infinite responsibility. If there were mistakes and errors in the administration of the galaxy, the fault lay on the heads of Alveron and his people. And this was no mere mistake: it was one of the greatest tragedies in history.

The crew still knew nothing. Even Rugon, his closest friend and the ship's deputy captain, had been told only part of the truth. But now the doomed worlds lay less than a billion miles ahead. In a few hours, they would be landing on the third planet.

Once again Alveron read the message from Base; then, with a flick of a tentacle that no human eye could have followed, he pressed the "General Attention" button. Throughout the mile-long cylinder that was the Galactic Survey Ship S9000, creatures of many races laid down their work to listen to the words of their captain.

"I know you have all been wondering," began Alveron, "why we were ordered to abandon our survey and to proceed at such an acceleration to this region of space. Some of you may realize what this acceleration means. Our ship is on its last voyage: the generators have already been running for sixty hours at Ultimate Overload. We will be very lucky if we return to Base under our own power.

"We are approaching a sun which is about to become a Nova. Detonation will occur in seven hours, with an uncertainty of one hour, leaving us a maximum of only four hours for exploration. There are ten planets in the system about to be destroyed—and there is a civilization on the third. That fact was discovered only a few days ago. It is our tragic mission to contact that doomed race and if possible to save some of its members. I know that there is little we can do in so short a time with this single ship. No other machine can possibly reach the system before detonation occurs."

There was a long pause during which there could have been no sound or movement in the whole of the mighty ship as it sped silently toward the worlds ahead. Alveron knew what his companions were thinking and he tried to answer their unspoken question.

"You will wonder how such a disaster, the greatest of which we have any record, has been allowed to occur. On one point I can reassure you. The fault does not lie with the Survey.

"As you know, with our present fleet of under twelve thousand ships, it is possible to re-examine each of the eight thousand million solar systems in the Galaxy at intervals of about a million years. Most worlds change very little in so short a time as that.

"Less than four hundred thousand years ago, the survey ship S5060 examined the planets of the system we are approaching. It found intelligence on none of them, though the third planet was teeming with animal life and two other worlds had once been inhabited. The usual report was submitted and the system is due for its next examination in six hundred thousand years.

"It now appears that in the incredibly short period since the last survey, intelligent life has appeared in the system. The first intimation of this occurred when unknown radio signals were detected on the planet Kulath in the system X29.35, Y34.76, Z27.93. Bearings were taken on them; they were coming from the system ahead.

"Kulath is two hundred light-years from here, so those radio waves had been on their way for two centuries. Thus for at least that period of time a civilization has existed on one of these worlds—a civilization that can generate electromagnetic waves and all that that implies.

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