Girish Mahajan

Hell Fire

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Author  Isaac Asimov
Language  English
Publication type  Periodical
Country  United States
Published in  Fantastic Universe
Genre(s)  Science fiction short story

"Hell-Fire" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov, originally published in the May 1956 issue of Fantastic Universe and reprinted in the 1957 collection Earth Is Room Enough. It is one of a number of stories, such as "Darwinian Pool Room" and "Silly Asses", in which Asimov worries about the nuclear arms race of the 1950s.

Plot summary

"Hell-Fire" is an extremely short story, and deals with a journalist, Alvin Horner, who speaks with Joseph Vincenzo, a scientist at Los Alamos, at the first exhibition of a film with super-slow-motion footage of a nuclear explosion, with the footage "divided into billionth-second snaps." Vincenzo is sure that nuclear bombs are hell-fire, and tells the journalist they shall ultimately destroy mankind.

After the scientist's observations, the film starts. For a brief moment, before initiating the full reaction into the infamous nuclear toadstool, the atomic blast resembles a specific shape: the face of the Devil.


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