“The Wand of Doom”

New stuff is being written, but it’s going to be awhile before it gets posted, so I’m going to continue the Jack Williamson with one more item.

Raw Feed (2013): The Wand of Doom”, Jack Williamson, 1932.Wand of Doom

I was kind of surprised when this story was proposed for the Deep Ones discussion group over at LibraryThing. I don’t, with the possible exception of Darker Than You Think, think of Williamson as a weird writer. But Williamson wrote a lot of stuff in the earlier part of his career, and this is an sf story with weird fiction imagery.

Essentially this is another “monster from the Id” story, though, of course, it predates Forbidden Planet. Or, more precisely, it’s a monster from the unconscious, here  a childhood, yet also atavistic, terror of spiders which a super science instrumentality manifests. this idea of mental terrors physically manifested is an old horror idea, just the rationalizing instrumentality varies.

Here a scientist finds a way to manifest his thoughts, freezing the energy (as matter is frozen energy) into physical forms but maintained by the fields put out by a dynamo and generator. He not only recreates a version of his lost love — she died before they could marry – but the somnabulent Paul accidentally brings his old nightmare spiders to life.

I expected some jealousy between scientist Paul Telfair and his brother Verne regarding the created Elaine, but Williamson didn’t use that plot device.

This is a story with that unconvincing convention of a person writing a letter to his friend, the narrator, that happens to sound just like a pulp story with the attendant description, dialogues, and emotion without any attempt to make it short. And the beginning of the story reveals the climax of the story, thereby killing the suspense.

And, on a purely technical level, the house the brothers build in the bayou seems way too large for resting only on a hundred square foot foundation.

 

More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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