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Grove of the Unborn   By:

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Glamorous Lyn Venable of Dallas, Texas, makes a first appearance in these pages (but by no means her first appearance in this field), with this sensitive story of a young man who needn't have run. A contributor to William Nolan's (OF TIME AND TEXAS, November, 1956, Fantastic Universe) famous Ray Bradbury Review , Miss Venable wants, very very much, to be a part, albeit small, of the comeback of science fiction that is seen today, as she wrote us recently.

grove of the unborn


Bheel still stood on the patio, transfixed with horror. He heard the terrified cry "Dheb Tyn Dall" and then the vigilant Guardians got him....

Tyndall heard the rockets begin to roar, and it seemed as though the very blood in his veins pulsated with the surging of those mighty jets. Going? They couldn't be going. Not yet. Not without him! And he heard the roaring rise to a mighty crescendo, and he felt the trembling of the ground beneath the room in which he lay, and then the great sound grew less, and grew dim, and finally dissipated in a thin hum that dwindled finally into silence. They were gone.

Tyndall threw himself face down on his couch, the feel of the slick, strange fabric cold and unfriendly against his face. He lay there for a long time, not moving. Tyndall's thoughts during those hours were of very fundamental things, that beneath him, beneath the structure of the building in which he was confined, lay a world that was not Earth, circling a sun that was not Sol, and that the ship had gone and would never come back. He was alone, abandoned. He thought of the ship, a silver streak now in the implacable blackness of space, threading its way homeward through the stars to Sol, to Earth. The utter desolation which swept over him at the impact of his aloneness was more than he could endure, and he forced himself to think of something else.

Why was he here then? John Tyndall, 3rd Engineer of the starship Polaris . It had been such a routine trip, ferrying a group of zoologists and biologists around the galaxy looking for unclassified life supporting planets. They had found such a world circling an obscure sun half way across the galaxy. An ideal world for research expedition, teeming with life, the scientists were delighted. In a few short months they discovered and cataloged over a thousand varieties of flora and fauna peculiar to this planet, called Arrill, after the native name which sounded something like Ahhrhell. Yes, there were natives, humanoid, civilized and gracious. They had seemed to welcome the strangers, as a matter of fact they had seemed to expect them.

The Arrillians had learned English easily, its basic sounds not being too alien to their own tongue. They had quite a city there on the edge of the jungle, although, in circling the planet before landing, the expedition had noted that this was the only city. On a world only a little smaller than Earth, one city, surrounded completely by the tropical jungle which covered the rest of the world. A city without power, without machinery of any kind, and yet a city that was self sufficient.

Well tilled fields stretched to the very edge of the jungle, where high walls kept out the voracious growth. The fields fed the city well, and clothed it well. And there were mines to yield up fine metal and precious gems. The Earthmen had marveled, and yet, it had seemed strange. On all this planet, just one city with perhaps half a million people within its walls. But this was not a problem for the expedition.

The crew of the Polaris and the members of the expedition had spent many an enjoyable evening in the dining hall of the palace like home of the Rhal, who was something more than a mayor and something less than a king. Actually, Arrill seemed to get along with a minimum of government. All in all, the Earthmen had summed up the Arrillians as being a naive, mild, and courteous people... Continue reading book >>

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