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"Poised between intransigent scepticism and uncritical credulity, it [science fiction] is par excellence the literature of the open mind."
- John Brunner

Thought-Record Helmet  
  A wearable history book.  

You must believe that we plan no aggression of our own. No—there is a way to prove it to you." He leaned down and spoke rapidly into a microphone.

A few moments later an alien appeared, bearing a gleaming chromium helmet. He handed it silently to Lawrence, who examined it curiously.

"What's this?"

"Put it on," Illon said softly.

"How do I know it's safe?"

"You have my word it's safe."

Suspiciously, Lawrence lifted the helmet and placed it on his head, where it fit snugly. A stream of images filtered abruptly through his mind.

The helmet was—a history book. It was a thought-record that stretched back over centuries, over millenia, detailing the eon-old conflict between the Vegans and Nestiv Illon's people. As the story unfolded, Lawrence could see the cold malevolence of the Vegans opposed to the wise, kind people of Viagon. Through a pattern of cosmic conflicts and world-destroying wars, Lawrence grasped the history of the two peoples. Vega had been threatening to extend its empire throughout the universe, but had been checked at every point by the Viagoni, the guardians of civilization.

Finally, Lawrence removed the helmet. It seemed that he had lived through the history-record for hours, but a glance at his watch told him that no more than a few seconds had passed.

From Menace From Vega, by Robert Randall.
Published by Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy in 1958
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