Fictional Entry—Friday, July 25, 1952
Dr. Cole Hendron had warned the world months earlier, and the newspapers had called him a fraud. Other astronomers had said his mathematical calculations were wrong. There was no way Bronson Beta (Zyra) or Bronson Alpha (Bellus) would come very close to Earth. It was ludicrous. Then those same scientists took more readings and did more calculations. They changed their minds. Dr. Hendron was right.
At one o’clock in the afternoon (EST), Zyra passed within a few million miles of Earth. The gravitational force of the passing shook Earth’s core. Massive earthquakes rocked even the most secure locations. Volcanoes, even those long thought extinct, spewed lava forth and sulfurous gas, killing everything that breathed and destroying huge swaths of land. Mighty tsunamis engulfed the coastal regions of the world, laying waste to low-lying cities and towns. Rivers acted as channels for the rushing waters. The land was scoured clean by the massive flow. Nothing built on the coast survived. Gone were the major centers of commerce: Tokyo, Miami, Los Angeles, London, and New York City. Fires raged uncontrollably across forests and jungles alike. No part of the world was left untouched.
The governments of the world had evacuated most of the people to areas thought to be geologically stable, but the mighty tug of another world was more than the scientists had envisioned. Millions died in only a few hours, and millions more perished in the days that followed. Not only had the entire face of the planet changed, but the moon had been either destroyed during the passing or torn free from its orbit.
However, the rocket ship Ark and the mountaintop base Dr. Hendron and his group built survived. Though Bellus still loomed huge in the sky, they prayed there was still a chance that a few humans and animals might make it off the doomed Earth to land on Zyra.
When Worlds Collide
Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer
When Worlds Collide
This Day in Science Fiction History examines notable events, real and fictional, concerning fantasy and science fiction in various media.