guess the world -
third series
entries 201-

[ + links to:   Guess The World entries 1-100  -  Guess The World entries 101-200  - 
Guess The World scene-counts ]

It is open to anyone to set the quiz entries.  Email your mystery-snippets of OSS literature to me at heritageofdreams@aol.com, with the answer for each question, "Which world was this scene on?", plus the name of the author and the tale, and the issue of the magazine in which it appeared or, in the case of a novel, the date it was published. 

Make it easy or hard - I don't mind!  Just don't send excerpts that are too obvious, such as in, "I was ambling along the canal bank under the light of the two moons..." or "We camped beside the Great Red Spot and toasted our supper on the fringe of the lava..." 

If a passage is almost right except for some tell-tale element, you can simply elide that part of it (...), as I have done many times in the entries I've contributed.

I hope you have as much fun as I have had in selecting passages.  The field is open wide!

2022 June 25th:   

Horatio shuddered.  "The practice was different... I don't know what I thought would be at the end of the passage.  I don't know what I thought it would be like outside London.  I suppose I imagined fields and villages and hills and woods - that kind of thing...  It had been a long journey.  I - I came to the door and..."  Horatio stopped, obviously agitated by the memory and obviously trying to control himself.  "And - and I just wasn't prepared for it.  I'm sorry, Michael."

Michael put a hand on his shoulder.  "Take it easy, Horatio.  Nobody doubts your courage."

"It was just an ordinary door... Just an ordinary door.  Unlocked.  I - I turned the handle and opened it..."  Horatio put his hand to his forehead and pressed hard, as if he were trying to press back nightmares, phantoms.  "There were rocks, great rocks and a roaring of water.  And there were these things - I was too shaken to see what they were at first - these huge lizards...  And there was one very near.  It turned its head and looked at me...  I think I must have screamed, because they all looked.  Then I slammed the door and I ran.  God, how I ran!  I think I was still screaming.  Then I heard the footsteps coming towards me..."

entry 211      [contributed by Zendexor]

2022 June 22nd:  

MacAloon jerked his lizard’s reins around in the direction of the mine…

Should they give up the fight against the shrewd, heartbreakingly persistent vermin?  If they did, they would have to abandon the mine which had become their life-work.  They would have to blow up the place before retreating.

For… centaurpedes were deliberately trying to quit the water, knowing their semi-civilization could reach its mechanistic goal only on land. 

Unable to prop the porous native rock with the brittle, primitive plastics they used instead of metals, they were striving to take over an iron mine that had already been started by human engineers.  Then, with the metal they could produce, they would make tools and raise cities… and manufacture weapons with which to push men clear off the planet…

entry 210     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 16th:  

….Above them, sharp slopes rose to the mountains standing naked in the wind.  Below, the hillside dropped away to the floor of the great circular Valley of Nomoon.

Abruptly, one of the riders pulled his mount to a stop.  He sat quietly, pulling at the wide loop of gold dangling from his left ear.  The wind riffled his flame-scarlet hair, and his long jade eyes swept the valley floor.

There lay the city of Nomoon, a pile of yellow towering stone.  The streets were cloaked in dim shadows, and empty.  Beyond the city were large buildings made entirely of pale blue glass.  Within them, tiny dots of men could be seen hurrying, tending waving frond-like things.

That is my home, thought Tol Shannon, running browned fingers around the loop of gold.  That is my home, or is it, really?  Six months.  I want this to be my home, but I am an Earthman.  Outlander.  Will they ever accept me as one of them?  They haven’t, yet.  But why?

There had to be some answer.  Shannon turned to where the second rider sat atop his horse.  He was a native… with traditional pale blue skin, an almost triangular head, and faint wisps of blue hair lying straight back on his blue skull…

entry 209     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 12th:  

…the saucer, nearing its goal, sank through dense atmosphere.  Henrik was relieved to note that the thick blue air did not hide, though it tinted, the rising features of the landscape.

Details emerged against the bluish grey ground: its flecks of red and green became identifiable as vegetal pavilions on oblique, wide-straddled stilts, which allowed through-ways underneath and between.  Some cracks in the ground might be artificial fissures or natural rilles, crossed by plentiful bridges.  A mound of complication, briefly glimpsed before it receded over the curve of the world, had the size, dignity and regularity of a city.  As the ship lost more altitude a very few dots, about five or six, which might be native wheelers, could be seen in motion, till the field of view narrowed and, like the city, they vanished beyond the horizon's tightening noose. 

Henrik would have preferred more time to digest all this, but he had about a minute in which to examine the scene in detail from the air before the vessel touched down on a flat area surrounded by some of the "pavilions".  They stood ranged against that almost dizzily close horizon which hugged any small moon…

entry 208     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 9th:   

The Russian rocket was gone.  The Anglo-American rocket was gone…

The weapon fell from Randick’s hand, and he stepped unsteadily into the light toward the Russian.  Suddenly human companionship was very, very important.  Panicky terror was plucking at his throat.

The two men stumbled toward each other across the pass cut deep into the jagged back of the Doerfel mountains.  As one they turned and looked out across the vast expanse of […]

They were soldiers.  They knew an invasion base when they saw one.  As far as the eye could see, lines of sleek mammoth spaceships of unknown design stretched away into the distance… 

entry 207     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where it is

2022 June 5th:   

The space-armoured figure was toiling up the slope that led to the igloo. In one hand the man carried a short blast rifle, and as they watched, the two trappers saw him halt and wheel about, the rifle levelled, ready for action, to stare back at the shadows into which the two Hounds had disappeared only a moment before.

A slight movement to the left and behind the man outside caught Kent's eye and spurred him into action.

He leaped across the igloo and jerked from its rack his quartz-treated space suit, started clambering into it.

"What's the trouble?" demanded Charley. "What the hell you doin'?"

"There's an Eater out there," shouted Kent. "I saw it just a minute ago."

He snapped down the helmet and reached for his rifle as Charley spun open the inner air-lock port. Swiftly Kent leaped through, heard the inner port being screwed shut as he swung open the outer door.

Cold bit through the suit and into his very bones as he stepped out into the [...] night. With a swift flip he turned on the chemical heat units and felt a glow of warmth sweep over him.

The man in the ravine below was trudging up the path toward the igloo.

Kent shouted at him.

"Come on! Fast as you can!"

The man halted at the shout, stared upward.

"Come on!" screamed Kent.

The spacesuit moved forward.

Kent, racing down the ravine, saw the silica-armoured brute that lurched out of the shadows and sped toward the unsuspecting visitor.

Kent's rifle came to his shoulder.

The sights lined on the ugly head of the Eater. His finger depressed the firing mechanism and the gun spat a tight column of destructive blue fire. The blast crumpled the Eater in mid-leap, flung him off his stride and to one side. But it did not kill him. His unlovely body, gleaming like a reddish mirror in the starlight, clawed upon its feet, stood swinging the gigantic head from side to side.

A shrill scream sounded in Kent's helmet phones, but he was too busy getting the sights of the weapon lined on the Eater again to pay it any attention.

Again the rifle spat and purred, the blue blast-flame impinging squarely on the silica-armoured head. Bright sparks flew from the beast's head and then suddenly the head seemed to dissolve, melting down into a gob of blackened matter that glowed redly in places. The Eater slowly toppled sidewise and skidded ponderously down the slope to come to rest against the crimson boulder...

entry 206     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 1st:

Crystal City made up in violence what it lacked in size…  Mining and a thriving spacefreight trade in heavy metals made it a mecca for the toughest space-crews and hardest living prospector-miners to be found in the inhabited worlds.  Saloons and cheap lodging-houses, gambling dens and neon-washed palaces of expensive sin, the jail and a flourishing assortment of glittery funeral parlors faced each other across two main intersecting streets.  X marked the spot and life was the least costly of the many commodities offered for sale to rich-strike suckers who funneled in….

The town… sizzled.  Dealers in mining equipment made overnight fortunes which they lost at the gaming tables just as quickly.  In the streets one rubbed elbows with denizens from every part of the solar system; many of them curiously not anthropomorphic…

entry 205     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 28th:   

…as we threaded our way under the gay colored lights across the arcade to the main island, I somehow seemed to feel the undercurrent of menace here.  Occasionally we passed little figures who were evidently onlookers.  The imbecile workers, lower class who were almost in the position of slaves.  They were weird creatures, most of them no more than four feet tall, grey-skinned and powerfully built.  We passed one who was standing on the shore gazing at a raft where a lone girl shrouded in blue-white filmy drapery was being pelted with flowers.  The gnome-like imbecile stood impassive, gazing with vacant face.  Then he was muttering to himself.  A fragment of it reached us.

“Togliamo is coming to help us workers.  We won’t have to work tomorrow.  Then we can do things like this.”

I gripped Nereid.  “You hear what that worker said?  No work for him tomorrow.  Do you suppose - ?”

She tried to smile.  “What an imbecile says never means much…”

entry 204     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 25th:   

Out of the silence, a vast rumbling sound rose like magnified thunder. Mark saw Carston fumble with his radio-phone then peer all about into the haze.

"Blitzees coming!" he yelled into his instrument.

Everyone stopped. Mark followed Carston's line of sight, but he couldn't see a thing.

"Swarm coming from the left!" Carston yelled again.

The Commander moved hurriedly along the line. "Lie down everyone, face to the left! Upend your sleds and if you value your lives, stay behind them!"

For a second all was confusion as the men flung themselves to the powdery soil; then a metal barrier sprang up as the sleds came end to end. Still nothing could be seen.

Suddenly then they came. The air was blue from crackling sparks as dozens of the Blitzees struck the sleds with the impact of bullets. A sound like the humming of millions of hornets was in their ears, as the greater part of the swarm passed overhead. Mark had a confused vision of electric blue streaks that writhed and zig-zagged, landed and leaped again, propelling themselves blindly. As suddenly as it had come, the danger was over.

The men arose somewhat shakily.  The ground around them was strewn with the snake-like Blitzees.  Mark picked one up and found it to be metallic, about five inches in length, transparent blue in color.  The head was triangular, eyeless; along its back Mark felt a thin, wiry sort of filament!

“They’re like living bolts of electricity,” Carston told him.  “They seem to short-circuit themselves when they strike the sleds.”  The caravan continued. 

Hours later they arrived at their destination, a small rise in the terrain before them, covered with glittering crystals in huge, boulder-like clumps.  The sides of the little hill was [sic] composed of the same ore, apparently in limitless amount.

But as if guarding it against them, rows of reddy-glowing […..] stood motionless, elephantine,  facing them.  Mark couldn’t tell whether they were friendly or hostile.  To him there was no expression to be seen on those fluid heads…

entry 203     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 22nd:   

...in a grotto of titanic proportions. The substance of its walls and distant ceiling gave it the gentle radiance of a sunless day. But it was a glaucous radiance, ineffably green as the light beneath the waters of a shallow sea...

...Jim Brannigan stood there tensely for a moment, looking at the man he had struck down. But only for a moment. His lips quirked into a tight smile, and his exulting keen eyes took in the cave's glittering expanse.

"A fortune in oxide crystals," he murmured, "an inexhaustible mine! And he thought he could cheat me out of it, keep it from me! Good thing I followed him. Serves him right if I've killed him."

He didn't seem too worried about it, and he didn't look at Hugh's body again as he started gathering in the rare crystals.

"...I can claim-deed this whole region! And probably there's another fortune in furs," he added as he suddenly remembered the creature he had captured. Already, in his greedy mind's eye, he saw himself a tycoon, the oxide king, with a corner on furs finer than anything ever seen on Earth, Venus or Mars.

This he saw. But what he didn't see were the myriad pairs of burning beryl eyes peering at him from concealed openings in the opaline walls. He was not aware of the increasing energy potential being generated by a growing legion of furred bodies in surrounding caverns, as more and more Panadurs pressed forward to peer out at him. Around Jim Brannigan now the frigid atmosphere began to rise. At first it was pleasantly cool, then warm, and warmer, until it became suffocating.

Still the silvery-furred Panadurs, in utter silence, generated heat as their mental forces grew and deliberately united into a single, increasing potential. Their fur stood erect, an angry violet-silver now, crackling a little with the intensity of the effort. As a single unit, they waited, each furry Panadur now touching the other in a living, livid chain of cumulative power.

Jim Brannigan ceased his gloating and awoke at last to an indefinable danger. Swiftly he arose and whirled toward the entrance, peering back over his shoulder at the danger he could feel, that he knew was there, but could not see.

But already it was too late. Now that increasing energy potential, grown and united into a single purposeful weapon, was being aimed. Jim Brannigan hadn't taken three steps toward the entrance when suddenly, silently, intangible as thought, but infinitely more devastating, it was released! As the devastating bolt struck him, Brannigan collapsed into a crumpled heap, shattered, silent ... inert.

entry 202     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 19th:  

He found a clearing near a roofless columnar tower and spread his sleeping bag beneath its wall.  He went to sleep elated with his good fortune, and slept dreamlessly, and without disturbance.

But then, it took a great deal to disturb George Seeling when he slept.

In the morning the ghels were there.  There were about a dozen of them, silently squatting in a semi-circle about his camp, contemplating him at a respectful distance with their soulful, gazelle eyes.

There is something disconcerting about waking up and finding that one has acquired uninvited guests, but Seeling never turned a hair.  He reached over and grabbed his rifle, but the ghels never moved.  They looked, for all the world, like purple-brown graven images squatting there, except that the round, black eyes blinked once in a while.

The ghel tongue was a very rudimentary one, and Seeling, who was naturally adept at such things, had studied it at some length during the weeks at Parthena.  He felt that he could get along.

“I greet you,” he said, still fondling his rifle.  “I am an Earthman.”

“We know,” one of the ghels said in a curious, whistling voice.  “What do you want here?”

“I come to see the city,” George said.

“This is the sacred city of Solon Regh, the wisest of the ancient ones.  We do not welcome visitors here.”

“It is not your city, dammit,” George said.

“What did you say?”

“Sorry, I said, this is not the work of your race.  Why do  you care if I look around?”

“It is a shrine.  The old ones took care of us before they went away.  We loved them, and do not want their dead disturbed.”

George Seeling grinned with delight.  He never enjoyed himself so much as when he was where he wasn’t supposed to be.

“We should be very said if the dead were desecrated,” the ghel said.

“Umm,” said Seeling impudently, “but what would you do if I went ahead and desecrated them anyway?”

The ghel looked shocked.  He turned his saucer eyes on his companions, and they all squirmed on their haunches and looked shocked too.

“We would be very sad,” the ghel answered…

entry 201     [contributed by Zendexor]