Tangent Online

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

X Minus One -- Shock Troop by Daniel F. Galouye

E-mail Print

X Minus One aired "Shock Troop" on November 28, 1957 as the show's 120th episode. Written by Daniel F. Galouye (1920-1976), it originally appeared in the June 1957 issue of Galaxy. Galouye was a test pilot during World War II. From injuries sustained at that time his health deteriorated and eventually led to his early death. His first novel, Dark Universe (1961), was nominated for a Hugo. His 1964 novel Simulacron 3 was filmed in 1999 as The Thirteenth Floor. In 2007 Galouye was honored with the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award, given to those deceased authors whose work deserves to be "rediscovered."

"Shock Troop" tells the story of an alien race whose plans for conquest come not from without, with guns or bombs, but from within. Microscopic in size, they attempt to invade the minds and bodies of their victims and thus effect total control of planets without firing a shot. But they run into a serious problem with one particular Earthman they just happened, by purest chance, to choose as their first conquest.

H. G. Wells's Martians found out the hard way that the teeniest tiniest microbes were deadly in The War of the Worlds, for they were able to destroy their much larger alien hosts. In "Shock Troop" the situation is reversed, as microbial-sized aliens learn the hard way that they are not welcome on Earth. One thing both stories have in common, however, is that in each case the human race gets lucky.

Play Time: 20:32