THE SICKLE OF FIRE (1896): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Balladeer's Blog

masc graveyard smallerTHE SICKLE OF FIRE (1896) – Written by Charles Kelsey Gaines, an American author who set this particular short story in British Columbia. The main characters are our narrator and a scientist named O.D. McKazy.

Hydropyrogen, a newly discovered element, is theorized to be a lost element that was used by the ancient Greeks for their never-recreated Liquid Fire. The element is the lightest element known (in this fictional context). Hydropyrogen is derived by burning a certain seaweed under an electric current.

When put under pressure and extreme cold, the element solidifies into sharp, slender crystals colored red. Those crystals can be stored in glass containers but if they come into contact with water they burst into flame.

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