The Sky is Falling
By Lester del Rey
Published by Librivox
Read by Karen Savage
This is another of those obscure works of science fiction or fantasy by a master of the genre that somehow slipped (or maybe it was allowed to fall?) into the public domain. Actually I am not sure whether I should call if SF or fantasy. It has elements of both and while the action of the story takes place in a world filled with magic, it is magic that follows, or at least is inspired by various theories of science that were accepted in the ancient world and later. While the universe is constructed along Aristotelian lines, later theories such as Phlogiston are incorporated in the system of physics that prevail in that world. So I think it is safe to say that while this is firmly in the realm of the Fantasy genre, some might correctly consider it a work of alternative science fiction as well.
Or perhaps it is true SF with Fantasy elements, since the main character, Dave Hanson thinks in scientific terms and must somehow conjoin his science with the magic of the world he finds himself in in order to save that world.
Well, that consideration is far heavier than the story itself. Dave wakes up post mortem, so to speak, in another world where it appears there are people capable of bringing people back from the dead and many if not most of them seem to have come from the other Earth, the one we know which is based on the science we know. Why Dave Hanson? A prophecy tells them to do it. They also bring back Einstein, Cagliostro, an ancient Egyptian pyramid designer (not named, but perhaps it is Imhotep) and a few more, but they are mostly there to help Dave save them. Why? The title says it all: the sky really is falling.
The sky is a huge crystal dome on which the stars are set and within which the sun and planets orbit the Earth. The problem is, it is cracked and bits of it are falling to Earth, along with the Sun and planets and everyone is relying on Dave to fix their universe. Well, okay, not everyone wants that. That would be too easy. On the other side we have a faction that sees the universe are a giant egg and that it must be allowed to hatch.
Somehow Dave must not only decide who is right but also learn how to do what they expect of him. Whatever that is, you can be assured it well be something no one has considered and that Dave must struggle to understand. But you sort of know it will all come out right because the prophecy says that nothing is impossible for Dave Hanson.
I enjoyed Karen Savage’s reading. It was a clear, no-nonsense and engaging reading of the story. It held me from start to finish and my only regret was that it was a very short novel. I could have listened to her reading much longer.
So we have a story that, while not a classic of fantasy and science fiction is still an interesting one and well worth the time it takes to read it and if you don’t have time to read it, listen to Ms Savage as she reads it for you.