Type ShortStory
Date 1940-03
Tags science fiction, time stop

Changer of Destiny

George Rankin, scientist, has invented a serum which will cause him to experience time at a rate 31,536,000 times as fast as usual--one second for the world will be one year for him, and the serum will last for only one second. He has set himself a task, but he quickly realizes it will be more difficult than expected, because--of course--his car won't start, so he must walk wherever he wants to go.

Rankin walks across town, a three hour trip, where he comes across a bank that is currently being robbed. He stops the robbery, disarming and tying up the robbers, and plucking a bullet that would have killed a cop from midair. Then, he proceeds to his first destination: the mansion of Spurnelli, who is, in Rankin's estimation, "the country's most dangerous thug", responsible for all the organized crime in the country. In order to stop the crime, Spurnelli himself must be killed--which Rankin does.

Months of walking bring Ranking to Washington, D. C., where he enters the office of the European ambassador. There, he finds some documents which he takes to the white house and spreads on the President's desk, as he sits, unaware. Then, task accomplished, Rankin leaves. Just as he is in the middle of a busy street, Rankin begins to feel his body slowing down. He tries to get out of traffic, but there is no time--he returns to normal time in the midst of the busy street, and is killed.

What were these papers that were so worth being killed over? This:

The President of the United States stared open-mouthed at the documents spread on the desk before him. "What in--?" he exploded. "Documents proving that private moneyed interests are behind the threatening war! Good heavens! With these few scraps of paper I can outlaw the coming conflict!"

The story ends with two newspaper 'clippings', indicating that Spurnelli's death will allow police to reduce crime in the country, and that an unknown man was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

The story is basically just a power fantasy, where a man gains the power to strike back at the rich and powerful who, he believes, are the cause of all the real problems in the world. Still, it's kind of fun. Better than the usual short story in these magazines, for sure.

Name Role
Hugh Langley Author

Relations

Relation Sources
Contained in
  • Superman #4 (1940-03)