Friday, September 7, 2012
Twilight by John W. Campbell
To be honest, I nearly gave up on it because it was a bit over-long.
Set in the present (of 1932) a man is driving down the road where he finds a stranger lying prone in the ditch. He picks him up intending to take him to a doctor. On the drive the stranger wakes up and begins to tell the tale of how he got to that ditch.
He is a time traveler from a thousand years in the future who went forward in time many millions of years. There he discovered the sad future that awaits humanity.
Campbell went on too long describing the fantastic, empty cities of the far future. But if you can slog through his obvious attempt to increase his word count, you will thoroughly enjoy the logic of the end of the story.
This was a first-rate thought exercise.
As you may imagine it's been reprinted countless times but it first saw the light of day in the November issue (1934) of Astounding Stories.
More information on John W. Campbell can be found HERE (Wikipedia) and HERE (ISFD).