My life in outer space

The Black Star Passes – John W Campbell (1930)

The Black Star Passes

‘A sky pirate armed with weapons of his own invention…

First contact with an alien race dangerous enough to threaten the safety of two planets…

The arrival of a dark sun accompanied by marauders aimed at the very end of civilization in this Solar System…

These are the three challenges resting the brilliant team of scientist-astronauts Arcot, Wade and Morey. their adventures are a space-opera classic that first brought the name of their author, John W Campbell – the visionary behind the Golden Age of Astounding Science Fiction – into prominence as a master of the inventive imagination.’

Blurb from the undated Cosmos paperback edition

Original publication:-

“Piracy Preferred” — Amazing Stories, June 1930
“Solarite” — Amazing Stories, November 1930
“The Black Star Passes” — Amazing Stories Quarterly, Fall 1930

Three tales by Campbell, each featuring Arcot, Morey and Wade (and sometimes the engineer Fuller).
Arcot and Morey are clever young Americans whose inventions and discoveries have transformed society, although the boys have for the most part given their patents to US businesses to develop.
In the first tale, an ingenious pirate manages to gas the crew and passengers of an airplane and get away with millions in sharebonds and cash. Some of the passengers, after having been revived in the manner detailed in a note left by the pirate, find themselves cured of any extant cancers.
Arcot and Morey set off after this misguided genius and in the process discover the secret of invisibility amongst other things. When Wade, the pirate, is captured he is cured of his kleptomania and joins Arcot and Morey in their labs.
The boys then design a spaceship and head to Venus where they intervene in a war between the North and the South of the planet. The aggressors are planning to invade Earth once they have conquered Venus so the boys take it upon themselves to stop that from happening.
In the third (title) section, a black star (not a black hole but a dying star so dim that it cannot be seen) is travelling past the Solar System with its attendant planets. Some of the inhabitants (an ancient and tired race) wish to take over Earth and Venus and revitalise their people.
Once more, Arcot, Wade and Morley must pull out all the stops to save Earth.


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