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For a scenic browse, and an answer-page for Guess The World...

mysterious mirage on io

...For hours and hours I walked down bas-relief-flanked passages, and through gloomy halls, searching for some sign of where that electric current was disappearing to; but long search by the light of my ato-flash revealed no trace of an answer.

It was there, in that dust and silence, and wreckage of quaint household fittings, that a definite wave of intense mental discomfort came over me.  It was as sudden as a hammer blow.  I hurried back to the surface, a vague suspicion in me becoming half conviction.  It was already late afternoon...

I expected to see, in the harsh, bluish twilight, only those dry irrigation trenches, and the twisted iron pillars that had supported the glass roofs of those hothouse fields, slashed long ago by infrequent meteor showers...

But - there was something else - collecting and forming against the picture of that dreary scene...

Raymond Z Gallun, The Lotus Engine (Super Science Stories, March 1940)

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cunning ionian slinkers

...Grant brushed his hand across his forehead and turned wearily towards his stone-bark log shack.  A pair of tiny, glittering red eyes caught his attention, and a slinker - Mus Sapiens - slipped his six-inch form across the threshold, bearing under his tiny, skinny arm what looked very much like Grant's clinical thermometer. 

Grant yelled angrily at the creature, seized a stone, and flung it vainly.  At the edge of the brush, the slinker turned its ratlike, semihuman face toward him, squeaked its thin gibberish, shook a microscopic fist in manlike wrath, and vanished, its batlike cowl of skin fluttering like a cloak.  It looked, indeed, very much like a black rat wearing a cape...

Stanley G Weinbaum, The Mad Moon (Astounding Stories, December 1935)

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a quietly sinister scene on io

"Well, here we are...  The first Earthmen to set foot alive on the Enchanted World!  I guess I got part of what I wanted anyway, didn't I?  But with what equipment we've got to keep alive with, we might just as well be buried with the RQ257!  Funny I'm not scared.  I guess I don't realize..."

His bitterly humorous tone faded away in vague awe.

Still lying prone the two men looked around them, at the hellish, utterly desolate scene.  The hills brooded there under the blue-black sky and tenuous, heatless sunshine.  A rock loomed up from a heap of sand.  It was a weathered monolith with weird carvings on it...  A curious pulpy shrub, ugly and weird, grew beside the monolith.  A scanty breath of breeze stirred up a little ripple of dust.

That and the stillness.  The stillness of a tomb.  Harwich could hear the muted rustle of the pulses in his head.  Everything here seemed to emphasize the plain facts.  The Forbidden Moon was a trap to them now.  A pit from which they could expect no rescue...

Raymond Z Gallun, Invaders of the Forbidden Moon (Planet Stories, Summer 1941)

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