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The Rim Worlds

... out on the Galactic Rim things are very iffy and if you fart really hard your're liable to blow yourself on to an Alternate Time Track.

A Bertram Chandler.

Fantastic Worlds - Fall 1954
(Cover Neil Austin)

Fantastic Worlds - Fall 1954


Addressed to a lady poet of my acquaintance who thought of taking up science fiction, her current lover (not, repeat, not me) being a science fictioneer

by a. bertram chandler

Sing not of love, of stars above
That light the way to bliss,
Of yellow moon that sets too soon
Before the farewell kiss;
And do not hymn past ages dim--
Rebellion, Restoration--
There’s been enough high-colored guff
On the history of the nation.

Do not look back, as many a hack
Has done to seek his drama--
The days of sail, the hunted whale,
The Wild West with its glamor
Are trite and tame in an age of flame
Whose frightened people stammer
Of the death that comes with the Doomsday Bombs,
Of Sickle and of Hammer.

So look ahead, though skies be red,
To the way that lies before us;
A questing heart shall be the chart,
And vision our pelorus;
The course is laid, departure made,
Ahead the stars are bright--
And as we stare we see the flare
Of rockets through the night!

To our new land, a motley band,
The merry Mutants come--
Strange fruit of extra-Terran love,
The Children of the Bomb;
To fight we’re fain -- to fight is vain--
He lives who fastest runs;
Outnumbered we in artillery--
Four hands can fire four guns!

But Man is rough, and Man is tough
And fights them on the beaches,
From Mercury’s pyre of Solar fire
To trans-Neptunian reaches;
Out-stations fall, down goes each wall,
No citadel remains,
And the Mutant flag, that loathly rag,
Waves over Pluto’s plains.

Man’s day is done and his setting sun
Goes down in a last eclipse. . . .
But its dying beams strike rosy gleams
From the interstellar ships;
Though Earth be lost at untold cost
Survivors lick their scars,
Escape alive from the Mutant drive--
Push out to the distant Stars!

And some are there who do not care
For Einstein or Lorentz,
When the Drive runs hot they don’t know what
It means in terms of tense;
And the warp of Space brings them face to face
With themselves as they come in,
And a passing poke ain’t any joke
As reversed, backfiring sin.

But look! A spark affronts the Dark
Whose flames wax high and higher,
Whose legions bright fight back the Night
With pale, atomic fire,
Whose glories grow and wildly blow
Like flags of flame unfurled. . . .
Some silly cow has parked his scow
On a contra—terrene world!

On, on, we run past the farthest sun
Where untold mysteries be,
Where Men and Mutants fight with Fate--
And Aliens fight the three;
While the mists close in and the shadows win
And the suns grow cold at last,
And the worlds are dead, and life is fled,
And an age of strife is past. . . .

When the gods that be bind cunningly
All things with iron bars. . . .
But loud and strong there comes the song
Of men against the stars!


Sing not of love, of stars above
That light the way to bliss,
That yellow moon that sets too soon
Before the farewell kiss. . . .
Or, if you must, transfer your lust
To Alpha Draconis.