The Devouring Tide

John Russell Fearn (as Polton Cross) | published Summer, 1944

added Jun 8, 2024
cover Image
First Date of Publication
Summer, 1944
Original Source
Thrilling Wonder Stories
Original Source Type
Magazine - Pulp
Short Story
Original Language
Kasman Review
Summary: One man’s cosmic fight using mathematical weapons against a universe-destroying wave and alien civilizations...

Story Tag Line: “ “This Black Infinity seems to suggest a hole in space—some overwhelming force beyond science to master…” ”

“Convinced of His Own Power, Scientific Wizard Richard Carr Takes Muriel Clegg into Outer Space, Ready to Create New Universes Beyond the Horizons of Civilization!”


  • Vijay Fafat
    Published on

    Another horridly written story by JRF, this time about an all-consuming, universe-destroying frontier of “non-spacetime” dubbed “Black Infinity”, a shock wave from the original big bang which is now catching up with the matter-universe. JRF has his genius of a protagonist postulate that our universe was a result of a pure thought process acting on absolute nothingness. To escape Black Infinity, far flung alien civilizations are attacking Earth as a temporary foot-hold (we’re getting visitors from as far away as the other end of the universe….). The genius builds “mathematical weapons” (“The basic energy quanta of those ships is rendered void because the mathematical postulations making them up are being cancelled out. My weapons are based on the probability waves of the electron, incorporating nine dimensions (!)”) to stop the aliens and also erects “mathematical barriers” (“they’re not dealing with material things but transfigurations”) to slow them down. In the end, he uses his mathematical energies to focus intense thoughts on Black Infinity and spawns a new universe.

    The story features slower-than-light signals outracing FTL communication and a planet “infinitely closer to earth” than another body….all in all, a nice concept which would have been wonderful in the hands of Asimov or Baxter but completely trashed by JRF.