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The Best of John W. Campbell

by John W. Campbell, Jr.

Cover artist: H.R. Van Dongen

Publisher: Ballantine

Pub year: 1976

Cover price: $1.95


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The Visions of John W. Campbell

Here in one volume are 11 of the finest stories and one penetrating article by the man who almost single-handedly created modern science fiction — stories rich in imagination and outstanding in their sweep and sense of that wonder which is science fiction at its best.

He was a mere hitchhiker now; but he had once seen the far, far future ... and had returned to mourn what he had seen!

The Machine
The machine was ultimately benevolent ... so benevolent that it gave mankind the ultimate, but most unwanted gift!

They were like children in the museum of Earth's glorious past ... children who had forgotten so much, but whose powers were those of gods!

Cloak of Aesir
The Sarn Mother had grown weary during her long rule over Earth ... but neither her daughters nor mankind would grant her peace!

Who Goes There?
The Thing was the most dreadful threat men had ever faced ... a thing that could be any one — or all — of them!

Plus six more stories of wonder — and an important view of the future by the writer who taught a generation to dream ... and to write of all possible futures.

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Interior text

The Law of the Sarn

The Sarn Mother looked down at the Earth-man with unblinking, golden eyes. "The Sarn make the laws. Men obey them. That was settled once and for all time four thousand years ago. Is it clear?"

Grayth looked up at her, up the strange, rope-flexible legs, up the rounded, golden body to the four twined arms. "Before ever the Sarn came to this world, to conquer our people and enslave them, your race was ruled by a matriarchy. It is natural, for among you the females born in a generation outnumber the males five to one. But what is natural for your race is an unnatural crime on ours."

The Sarn Mother, on her inlaid throne of State, looked with unwinking golden eyes at Grayth.

"You may go," she said at last. "But the Law of the Sarn, that there shall be five of females to only one of males is the law of the planet. Kill four out of every five men!"