The Dead Man Laughs

eStar Books
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The dead man laughs as a scientific sleuth tackles the riddle of a mysterious fire! (note: a short story)
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Additional Information

Publisher
eStar Books
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Published on
Jan 19, 2012
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Pages
12
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ISBN
9781612104768
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Dr. Feather Tries to Prove You Can "Set a Thief to Catch a Thief" (note: short story) Excerpt The fog, almost without warning, swirled out of the East in the late afternoon. Grey at first, then murky green, thick as pea soup, it settled on Grain's Lake. The wind had died; the fog, a dank motionless shroud, merged with the twilight. When night came, Grain's Lake and its forested shores, which were dotted with occasional summer fishing camps, was nothing but solid, soundless blackness. At seven o'clock that evening, an hour after the fog had settled, two small open launches, each carrying two men, groped their way through the turgid murk. They had come from an island three miles out in the open lake and were headed for the north shore, where in the midst of the woods was a small boathouse, and on the knoll behind it, a big, luxurious rustic log cabin bungalow, shrouded by the trees. Throttled down to trolling speed, the two launches were making barely three miles an hour. They were trying to keep fairly together. Before they had been half an hour from the island the men had no clear idea of where they were. They were steering by small compasses and by intuition. Occasionally the men called out to each other, each boat trying to locate the other. But the sodden pea soup fog blurred, muffled and deadened the voices until they were indistinguishable. The low put-put of the little motors was inaudible. In the bow of one of the boats middle-aged, grey-haired Dr. Hollis Hotchkiss sat peering into the fog. There was nothing to see; nothing to hear. Occasionally he waved his flashlight, but its puny beam seemed hardly to penetrate ten feet.
To anyone interested in the roots of modern science fiction, the name of Ray Cummings should be well known. He wrote science fiction and fantasy before the name "science fiction" had been coined, publishing fantastic yarns in Argosy, Munsey's Magazine, and other mainstream pulp magazines. Of course, as soon as the science fiction pulps debuted, he moved to them, where his work received a hearty welcome from fans. Cummings publishing more than 750 novels and short stories over his long career, producing work in many genres, including the mystery field (see "Atom Boy" in this Megapack for one prime example). We are pleased to showcase 25 of his tales, ranging from science fiction to fantasy to mystery...more than 1,500 pages of great reading!

Included are:

THE GIRL IN THE GOLDEN ATOM (1919-1920)
THE GIRL IN THE GOLDEN ATOM, PART 2
THE SILVER VEIL (1921)
THE FIRE PEOPLE (1922)
TWO PROPOSALS (1923)
JETTA OF THE LOWLANDS (1930)
THE WHITE INVADERS (1931)
REQUIEM FOR A SMALL PLANET (1958)
BRIGANDS OF THE MOON (1931)
WANDL THE INVADER (1932)
TARRANO THE CONQUEROR (1930)
PHANTOMS OF REALITY (1930)
DR. FEATHER IN "A SHOT IN THE DARK" (1936)
DR. FEATHER IN "MURDER IN THE FOG" (1937)
DR. FEATHER IN "THE DEAD MAN LAUGHS" (1938)
DR. FEATHER IN "CLUE IN CRIMSON" (1943)
THE WORLD BEYOND (1938)
GADGET GIRL (1944)
PRECIPICE (1945)
PHOTOGRAPH OF DEATH (1945)
STAMP OF DOOM (1946)
THE SCALPEL OF DOOM (1947)
ATOM BOY (1947)
THE LIFTED VEIL (1947)
BEYOND THE VANISHING POINT (1958)
THE GIRL FROM INFINITE SMALLNESS (1940)
PLANET STORIES' FEATURE FLASH: MEET RAY CUMMINGS

And don't forget to search this ebook store for "Wildside Megapack" to see more entries in the series, covering science fiction, fantasy, horror, mysteries, westerns -- and much, much more!

1

"It's a planet," I said. "A little world."

"How little?" Venza demanded.

"One-fifth the mass of the Moon. That's what they've calculated now."

"And how far is it away?" Anita asked. "I heard a newscaster say yesterday...."

"Newscasters!" Venza broke in scornfully. "Say, you can take what they tell you about any danger or trouble and cut it in half; and even then you'll be on the gloomy side. See here, Gregg Haljan."

"I'm not giving you newscasters' blare," I retorted. Venza's extravagant vehemence was always refreshing. The Venus girl glared at me. I added:"Anita mentioned newscasters; I didn't."

Anita was in no mood for smiling. "Tell us, Gregg." She sat upright and tense, her chin cupped in her hands. "Tell us."

"For a fact, they don't know much about it yet. You can call it a planet, a wanderer."

"I should say it was a wanderer!" Venza exclaimed. "Coming from heaven knows where beyond the stars, swimming in here like a comet."

"They calculated its distance yesterday at some sixty-five million miles from Earth," I said. "It isn't so far beyond the orbit of Mars, coming diagonally and heading very nearly for the Sun. But it's not a comet."

The thing was indeed inexplicable; for many weeks now, astronomers had been studying it. This was early summer of the year 2070 A.D. All of us had recently returned from those extraordinary events I have already recounted, when we came close to losing Johnny Grantline's radiactum treasure on the Moon, and our lives as well. My ship, the Planetara, in the astronomical seasons when the Earth, Mars, and Venus were within comfortable traveling distances of each other, had carried mail and passengers from Greater New York to Ferrok-Shahn, of the Martian Union, and to Grebhar, of the Venus Free State. Now it was wrecked on the Moon.

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