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"It's hard to tell stories about critters that are not human. John W. Campbell tried it, in "Twilight," and everybody says it's a wonderful story, and nobody ever reads it twice."
- Jerry Pournelle
||They give light.
|He deposited the native on a couch
and turned. In a wall compartment he
found a tiny Venus lantern with a wire
handle. From his pocket he withdrew
two small crystals, each the size of a
pea. They might have been crystals of
galena, judging from appearance, but
when the vapor of the sealed glass tube
struck the crystals they became splinters of cold, brilliant light, flinging a
glow about the entire room.
The ribbed beryllium walls were exposed nakedly, with an oval window at
the rear hung with curtains of silver
cloth. Those curtains were Enid's contribution to the homeliness of an interior that presented an aspect of cheerlessness and austerity, characterized by
the forbidding frigidity of unadorned
metal walls and metal furnishings.
With the terrestrial value on Venus
moon crystals so high, he had rarely
used them during the ten daylight
hours. These luxobe crystals were like
radio-active minerals in a way, being
continually dissipated through a radiated flow of energy, except that their
rate of demolition, as compared with
radium, was very rapid.
In a vapor of monoxide, these crystals radiated away as rays of sheer
light. For a period varying from three
months to a year of terrestrial Earth
hours, these amazing little crystals
would dwindle away as light, and then
they would be gone.
It was for these moon crystals that
Omar Klegg had come to the cloud
planet. These fragmentary minerals,
inactive in the ordinary atmosphere of
Venus, were scattered over the surface
of the planet, and it was suspected that
these many particles once composed a
satellite, circling the mother planet.
Hence they had been called moon crystals, since the breaking up of such an astral body could explain their haphazard scattering about the surface of
|Technovelgy from Moon Crystals,
by J. Harvey Haggard.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1936
Additional resources -
Compare to lux from The Black Star Passes by John W. Campbell (1930) and the glowglobe from Dune by Frank Herbert (1965) and illumium from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (2003).
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