The Entity (Anderson)


The Entity (Anderson)

Infobox short story |
name = The Entity
author = Poul Anderson and John Gergen
country = flag|USA
language = English
series = The Psychotechnic League
genre = science fiction short story
published_in = "Astounding Science Fiction"
publisher = Street & Smith
media_type = Magazine
pub_date = June 1949
preceded_by = The Peregrine
followed_by = Symmetry
"The Entity" is a science fiction short story by Poul Anderson and John Gergen that appeared in the June 1949 issue of "Astounding Science Fiction". "The Entity" was the fifth story published by Anderson, and the only story published by Gergen, a friend of Anderson's from the Minneapolis Fantasy Society.

Plot summary

The interstellar scout ship "Diogenes" has discovered an ancient, deserted alien outpost on an airless planet. The most puzzling object at the outpost is a featureless black sphere resting on a concrete pedestal that instantly drains all power from any device that is exposed to it. The sphere is impervious to all attempts to study it, and when the crew of the "Diogenes" attempt to lift it off its pedestal with a levitation machine, it shorts out their ship's main generators. Repairing the generators will require weeks, and morale is already low when the ship's biologist hypothesizes that the sphere is actually a sentient entity which is actively resisting them. The captain thinks this unlikely, but decides that they will have to remain on the planet until they understand what the sphere is. In the meantime, to raise morale, the captain orders the crew of the "Diogenes" to get roaring drunk.

During the party, the ship's planetographer drunkenly complains to the captain that an electrical apparatus he was working on blew out when they were trying to lift the sphere. This leads to a moment of drunken clarity for the captain: the sphere, he realizes, is actually a power broadcaster. It absorbs energy of all sorts, including potential energy (which is why it can't be lifted), then converts it with near total efficiency to electromagnetic radiation, broadcasting at a frequency of 30,000 hertz, which happens to be the frequency the planetographer's apparatus was set to receive.

The captain also realizes that they can move the sphere into the ship by simply rolling it off its pedestal onto a levitator and carrying it, as long as they make no attempt to lift it against the planet's gravity. Once it is in the ship, they can surround it with energy receivers and feed the energy it broadcasts directly into the ship's engine, which should give the ship enough power to move it. Once the scientists on Earth work out the sphere's operating principles, they will be able to duplicate it and use it to power Earth's civilization.

The Psychotechnic League

Anderson listed "The Entity" as part of the Psychotechnic League series in a timeline published in the Winter 1955 issue of "Startling Stories", but it was not included in a later timeline that appeared in the Psychotechnic League collection "Starship" (1982). Although one character in "The Entity" mentions that the discovery of hyperdrive occurred "a few decades" earlier, the "Startling" timeline has the story take place in 3150, nearly four centuries after the discovery of hyperdrive in the Psychotechnic League universe. The late date may have been Anderson's way of explaining away the absence of the sphere's power broadcasting technology in any of the other Psychotechnic League stories. There is nothing in "The Entity" that conflicts with the rest of the Psychotechnic series, but neither is there any positive correlation with it.

External links

Anderson and Gergen are mentioned in [http://www.misfit.org/views/jscrivner20000215.htm a brief history] of the Minneapolis Fantasy Society.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Entity (disambiguation) — Entity may refer to:* Entity, a unit * a part of an Entity relationship model or Entity relationship diagram * Character entity reference in HTML, XML or SGML * Entity (netlabel), a Belgian netlabel specialising in experimental electronic musicIn …   Wikipedia

  • The Psychotechnic League — is a future history created by science fiction writer Poul Anderson. The name Psychotechnic League was coined by Sandra Miesel in the early 1980s, to capitalize on Anderson s better known Polesotechnic League future history. Anderson published 21 …   Wikipedia

  • The King of Braves GaoGaiGar glossary — This is a glossary of terms from the anime and manga series The King of Braves GaoGaiGar and The King of Braves GaoGaiGar FINAL . Base energy sources G Stone and G Crystal The G Stone is an energy source developed on the Green Planet by the Green …   Wikipedia

  • The Masses — was a graphically innovative magazine of socialist politics published monthly in the U.S. from 1911 to 1917, when government suppression shut it down. It was succeeded by The Liberator and then later The New Masses . It published reportage,… …   Wikipedia

  • The Man from Another Place — (played by Michael J. Anderson) is a fictional character from the television series Twin Peaks, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. He is an inhabitant of the Black Lodge, a realm of pure evil. Early on in the series, The Man gives Agent Dale… …   Wikipedia

  • The Jedi Academy trilogy — is a trilogy of novels set in the Star Wars galaxy. The series was written by Star Wars author Kevin J. Anderson. The books are a part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and occur around seven years after the events of Return of the Jedi, in 11… …   Wikipedia

  • The X-Files: I Want to Believe — The X Files: Régénération The X Files: Régénération X Files: Je veux y croire Titre original The X Files: I Want to Believe Réalisation Chris Carter Acteurs principaux …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The X-Files: Regeneration — The X Files: Régénération The X Files: Régénération X Files: Je veux y croire Titre original The X Files: I Want to Believe Réalisation Chris Carter Acteurs principaux …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The X-Files: Régénération — X Files: Je veux y croire Titre original The X Files: I Want to Believe Réalisation Chris Carter Acteurs principaux …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The X-Files 2 — The X Files: Régénération The X Files: Régénération X Files: Je veux y croire Titre original The X Files: I Want to Believe Réalisation Chris Carter Acteurs principaux …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.