Download e-book for iPad: A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Vol. Two by Anthony Boucher

By Anthony Boucher

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He was trembling as he walked out and got back into the truck. The worst of it, he thought savagely, the worst of it was that they were right. He couldn’t long endure a half-in-half-out pariah status. It had been all right once, being feeble-minded; he didn’t know enough then to realize what it meant. Now he did, and the dependent life would break him. The gears screamed as he started. He’d make out without their help, damn if he wouldn’t. If he couldn’t be a half-tamed beggar, and wouldn’t be a house pet, all right, he’d be a wild animal.

He had seized this power to think with a swift fierce gladness, and his will had dominated whole tribes driven half-crazy with fear, ready to turn anywhere for the comfort of leadership. Over thousands of miles, from Congo jungles to the veldts of the south, men tormented and enslaved and spat upon had lifted weary faces to a message blown down the wind. Now was the time to strike, before the white man also rallied—the scheme was ready, lying in the soul of M’Wanzi the Elephant, the campaign was planned in a few flashing days, the subtle tongue won over leaders of a hundred conflicting groups, the army was stirring to life, now was the time to be free!

It was saddening to know that multiplied intelligence had not quenched such an animal stampede. Those who remained—probably three-fourths of the city’s dwellers—were still scraping along. Severely rationed gas, water, and electricity were being supplied. Food still trickled in from the country, though you had to take what you could get and pay exorbitantly. But it was like a pot, rumbling and seething and gathering itself to boil over. Memory, three days old: the second Harlem riot, when fear of the unknown and rage at ancient injustice had stood up to fight, for no reason except that untrained minds could not control their own new powers.

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A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Vol. Two by Anthony Boucher


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