Read Arthur C. Clarke's original "Hammer of God" short story online

Illustration for article titled Read Arthur C. Clarkes original Hammer of God short story online

You may have read Arthur C. Clarke's 1993 space-disaster novel Hammer of God — but have you read the original 1992 short story it was based on? Originally published in Time Magazine, that story is now available for free over at Lightspeed Magazine, and it's a potent dose of cosmic wonder.

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Here's how it begins:

It came in vertically, punching a hole ten km wide through the atmosphere, generating temperatures so high that the air itself started to burn. When it hit the ground near the Gulf of Mexico, rock turned to liquid and spread outward in mountainous waves, not freezing until it had formed a crater two hundred km across.

That was only the beginning of disaster: Now the real tragedy began. Nitric oxides rained from the air, turning the sea to acid. Clouds of soot from incinerated forests darkened the sky, hiding the sun for months. Worldwide, the temperature dropped precipitously, killing off most of the plants and animals that had survived the initial cataclysm. Though some species would linger on for millenniums, the reign of the great reptiles was finally over.

The clock of evolution had been reset; the countdown to Man had begun. The date was, very approximately, 65 million B.C.

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Read the rest over at Lightspeed.

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DISCUSSION

a-seivewright
seivewright

One of my favs.

Rendezvouz with Rama was the first science Fiction novel i ever read as a small boy. I think I was 11, maybe 12? I might be fuzzy about the when but I definitely remember picking it up in the school library. I was mainly into wizards/dragons or 'boys adventure' type stuff.

I have so many fond memories as a teen of curling up on the garden swing chair with a giant mug of tea and a Arthur C. Clarke book...

...whilst i'm more of a pulpy, fleet warfare sci-fi these days, i'll always treasure Clarke's books.