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This Day in Science Fiction History: 12 August

Fictional Entry—Tuesday, August 12, 1952

Matte painting of Bellus in the night sky with the fin and port wing of the Ark visible
Bellus nears Earth (© Paramount Pictures 1951)

It was obvious Earth’s time was coming to an end. During the last two weeks, Bellus had grown larger and larger in the night sky. The blue-white tint from the now destroyed Moon no longer appeared in the night sky. An angry blood red-orange tint, reflected from the massive planet, had replaced the cool and inviting color of night.

Earth continued to quake under the monumental stresses placed on it by the passing of the other planet. No one who had survived the passing doubted Dr. Hendron’s original announcements now. At Hendron’s redoubt in the mountains, the final preparations for launching the Ark were underway.

The cargo of the Ark had been carefully selected. Everything had to fit within the space and weight considerations. Books and art, the most important and best examples, were scanned onto microfilm and loaded with several viewers. Farm animals, pregnant when possible, as well as a collection of pollinating and aerating insects and worms, were crated and placed aboard. During all of this, medical supplies and food were stowed in the cargo compartment. Then the passengers were ushered aboard by the flight crew. In the fairest manner possible, Henderson had ordered lots drawn for the lucky few who would have a chance to flee the doomed Earth.

Time ticked down and everyone waited aboard the Ark. The Ark had to launch at a precise moment to rendezvous with Zyra. If they didn’t, the ship would miss the planet and drift helpless in space, the fuel supplies expended.

Before the ship could launch, the remaining members of the site gathered rifles and stormed the launch ramp. David Randell, the command pilot, shut the Ark’s door and prepared the engines to fire. Dr. Hendron remained behind with Sydney Stanton, one of the primary investors for the ship, to ensure that the Ark remained underweight for the flight.

The Ark’s rocket exhaust incinerated the pair as it hurtled down the launch rail and up to the mountaintop. The rocket sled fell away as the Ark’s main engines fired, carrying the untested ship into the darkness of space. Minutes later, Bellus smashed aside the tiny planet in its path, leaving nothing behind except a few minuscule asteroids to mark Earth’s final resting place.

Aboard the Ark, the hope and future of mankind fly through the void, aimed at their potential new home on Zyra.

When Worlds Collide

Motion Picture

Paramount Pictures


This Day in Science Fiction History examines notable events, real and fictional, concerning fantasy and science fiction in various media.


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