“Minus Planet,” John D. Clark, 1937 – A planet made of negative neutrons is headed toward the sun, which its (anti?) matter will consume. An international or intra-solar (?) council of scientists is convened. They suggest that the moon should be diverted toward the planet, which would then divert its course away from the sun. However, religious fanatics insist that this can’t and shouldn’t be done, as this is God’s judgment on Earth, and God never intended the moon to be moved. “Pseudo-religious” meetings led by Obidiah Miller are raided by the police. Most reasonable persons try to cooperate with the scientists, and hundreds of thousands of laborers work together in an “epic” struggle to save the species. The observatory on the moon is dismantled and sent back to earth, the moon is dismantled (?) element by element; many lives are lost and “tossed to the side,” but the work must go on. Obidiah becomes a religious terrorist. Jimmy and Mike save the day.
Comments: Asimov, in Before the Golden Age, Volume 3, notes that at this time stories were beginning to value accuracy in science, as in this example, which itself becomes a source of aesthetic pleasure.
Author: Wikipedia: “John Drury Clark, Ph.D. (August 15, 1907-July 6, 1988) was a noted American rocket fuel developer, chemist, and science fiction writer and fan. He was instrumental in the revival of interest in Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories and influenced the writing careers of L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, and other authors.”