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The Coming of the Ice   By: (1907-1968)

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The COMING of the ICE

By G. Peyton Wertenbaker

[Illustration: Strange men these creatures of the hundredth century ...]

Copyright, 1926, by E. P. Co., Inc.

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Amazing Stories July 1961 and was first published in Amazing Stories June 1926. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without note.

A Classic Reprint from AMAZING STORIES, June, 1926

Introduction by Sam Moskowitz

One of the gravest editorial problems faced by the editors of AMAZING STORIES when they launched its first issue, dated April, 1926, was the problem of finding or developing authors who could write the type of story they needed. As a stop gap, the first two issues of AMAZING STORIES were devoted entirely to reprints. But reprints were to constitute a declining portion of the publication's contents for the following four years. The first new story the magazine bought was Coming of the Ice , by G. Peyton Wertenbaker, which appeared in its third issue. Wertenbaker was not technically a newcomer to science fiction, since he had sold his first story to Gernsback's SCIENCE AND INVENTION, The Man From the Atom , in 1923 when he was only 16! Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he was appearing in the world's first truly complete science fiction magazine.

The scope of his imagination was truly impressive and, despite the author's youth, Coming of the Ice builds to a climax of considerable power.

Wertenbaker, under the name of Green Peyton, went on to sell his first novel, Black Cabin , in 1933. He eventually became an authority on the Southwest with many regional volumes to his credit: For God and Texas , America's Heartland , The Southwest , and San Antonio, City of the Sun . But he never lost his interest in space travel, assisting Hubertus Strughold on the writing of The Green and Red Planet , a scientific appraisal of the possibilities of life on the planet Mars published in 1953. He also served for a time as London correspondent for FORTUNE MAGAZINE.

It is strange to be alone, and so cold. To be the last man on earth....

The snow drives silently about me, ceaselessly, drearily. And I am isolated in this tiny white, indistinguishable corner of a blurred world, surely the loneliest creature in the universe. How many thousands of years is it since I last knew the true companionship? For a long time I have been lonely, but there were people, creatures of flesh and blood. Now they are gone. Now I have not even the stars to keep me company, for they are all lost in an infinity of snow and twilight here below.

If only I could know how long it has been since first I was imprisoned upon the earth. It cannot matter now. And yet some vague dissatisfaction, some faint instinct, asks over and over in my throbbing ears: What year? What year?

It was in the year 1930 that the great thing began in my life. There was then a very great man who performed operations on his fellows to compose their vitals we called such men surgeons. John Granden wore the title "Sir" before his name, in indication of nobility by birth according to the prevailing standards in England. But surgery was only a hobby of Sir John's, if I must be precise, for, while he had achieved an enormous reputation as a surgeon, he always felt that his real work lay in the experimental end of his profession. He was, in a way, a dreamer, but a dreamer who could make his dreams come true.

I was a very close friend of Sir John's. In fact, we shared the same apartments in London. I have never forgotten that day when he first mentioned to me his momentous discovery. I had just come in from a long sleigh ride in the country with Alice, and I was seated drowsily in the window seat, writing idly in my mind a description of the wind and the snow and the grey twilight of the evening... Continue reading book >>




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