“The Hour of Battle,” Robert Sheckley, 1953

“The Hour of Battle,” Robert Sheckley, 1953 — A spaceship from Earth lands on a planet inhabited by vicious, telepathic aliens, which immediately possess the pilot of the scout ship.  The pilot of the main ship escapes and is able to return to Earth to provide a warning.  Earth’s scientists create the Attison Detector, a device that will indicate if a human electroencephalograph differs in any way from a normal scan.  Earth forms a defensive fleet and waits for the inevitable alien attack, wondering how much distance separates them from the aliens, wondering at the range of their telepathic abilities.  But they fail to anticipate that the aliens have the power to affect perception.  The crews of the waiting Earth fleet suddenly break formation and set off for the aliens’ home planet with the doomed intention of “reasoning” with them.

Comments: Read in The Future Makers.  Differs from earlier stories of telepathy which occasionally see telepathy as a means for perfect communication and fits in with the Cold War view of telepathy, as a form of mind control or invasion.

Author: Wikipedia: “Robert Sheckley (July 16, 1928 – December 9, 2005) was a Hugo- and Nebula-nominated American author. First published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s, his numerous quick-witted stories and novels were famously unpredictable, absurdist and broadly comical.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, communication, distance, invasion, war/soldiers. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “The Hour of Battle,” Robert Sheckley, 1953

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