Boomerang single work   short story   science fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 1947 1947
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Inspired by the events surrounding the bombing of Japan in 1945, 'Boomerang' is one of the earliest stories to warn of the danger of accidental nuclear war. Set in the aftermath of the destruction of most of the inhabited areas of the world, the events are recalled by an old man sitting with his grandson at Sydney's Circular Quay. Nearby are the remains of what used to be the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The old man recalls the international race to be the first country to put a manned space craft on the moon, a race that started soon after the end of World War II and eventually escalated to involve individual cities around the globe - the Australian competitors being Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. Hostilities soon broke out on the moon between old enemies but it was only when the rockets begin to fall on Earth that the world became aware that most are armed. "But wot did 'appen' Granddad?' asks the boy. Picking up his grandson's toy boomerang the old man throws it in the direction of the moon. "Can't yer see? They loaded all them rockets up wi' uranium - an' sent 'em back!' (p.129).

Notes

  • A number of secondary sources have described 'Boomerang' as a story about the race between Sydney and Melbourne to send a rocket to the moon. This scenario is, however, only a minor aspect of the narrative. The storyline actually has Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart involved in the race, along with numerous countries and their major cities.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Link: Full text resource (Sighted 31/10/2013)
  • Appears in:
    y Famous Fantastic Mysteries vol. 8 no. 6 August 1947 Z961468 1947 periodical issue fantasy science fiction 1947 pg. 120-132

Works about this Work

George Whitley Replies George Whitley , 1949 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Famous Fantastic Mysteries , February vol. 10 no. 3 1949; (p. 8) A. Bertram Chandler 2004-; (p. Letters)

A belated response from Bertram Chandler (as George Whitley) to "Australia Protests," Stirling Macoboy's criticism of the dialect used by the narrator in his 1947 story, "Boomerang." The Macoboy letter was published 12 months earlier in the February 1948 edition of Famous Fantastic Mysteries (pp.121-122). Chandler, who was at sea at the time, did not receive a copy of the issue until many months later and hence the delay in responding. In concluding his defence Chander writes:

I admit that I may have caricatured, to a slight extent, the kind of language that one hears spoken on the Sydney waterfront. And is not the kind of language I should expect to hear in Mr. Macaboy's drawing room - any more than he would expect to hear Cockney - and I live in Greater London - spoken in mine. But I shouldn't mind betting that if he cares to drop in for a friendly cup of tea twenty years or so after the rockets have come he will find the survivors - if any - won't be using the kind of English made standard by the announcers of the various Broadcasting Companies and Corporations. Even now, in spite of universal education and the influence of the radio and the better films, the English spoken in all English speaking countries is deplorable. What will it be like once the schools, the broadcasting stations and the cinemas have been destroyed? (p.8).

Australia Protests Stirling Macoboy , 1948 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Famous Fantastic Mysteries , February vol. 9 no. 3 1948; (p. 121-122)

In this letter to Famous Fantastic Mysteries Stirling Macoboy of Sydney expresses his grievance over the narrator's dialogue in Bertram Chandler's short story 'Boomerang' (published under the pseudonym George Whitley). In Macoboy's opinion the old man bears a 'vague resemblance to the debased form of cockney dialect as found in the lower classes of detective literature' - but with no likeness to average contemporary Australian speech (p.121).

Chandler did not receive a copy of the issue until many months after it was published, having been a sea during that time. His response to Macoboy's criticism eventually appeared in the February 1949 issue.

George Whitley Replies George Whitley , 1949 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Famous Fantastic Mysteries , February vol. 10 no. 3 1949; (p. 8) A. Bertram Chandler 2004-; (p. Letters)

A belated response from Bertram Chandler (as George Whitley) to "Australia Protests," Stirling Macoboy's criticism of the dialect used by the narrator in his 1947 story, "Boomerang." The Macoboy letter was published 12 months earlier in the February 1948 edition of Famous Fantastic Mysteries (pp.121-122). Chandler, who was at sea at the time, did not receive a copy of the issue until many months later and hence the delay in responding. In concluding his defence Chander writes:

I admit that I may have caricatured, to a slight extent, the kind of language that one hears spoken on the Sydney waterfront. And is not the kind of language I should expect to hear in Mr. Macaboy's drawing room - any more than he would expect to hear Cockney - and I live in Greater London - spoken in mine. But I shouldn't mind betting that if he cares to drop in for a friendly cup of tea twenty years or so after the rockets have come he will find the survivors - if any - won't be using the kind of English made standard by the announcers of the various Broadcasting Companies and Corporations. Even now, in spite of universal education and the influence of the radio and the better films, the English spoken in all English speaking countries is deplorable. What will it be like once the schools, the broadcasting stations and the cinemas have been destroyed? (p.8).

Australia Protests Stirling Macoboy , 1948 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Famous Fantastic Mysteries , February vol. 9 no. 3 1948; (p. 121-122)

In this letter to Famous Fantastic Mysteries Stirling Macoboy of Sydney expresses his grievance over the narrator's dialogue in Bertram Chandler's short story 'Boomerang' (published under the pseudonym George Whitley). In Macoboy's opinion the old man bears a 'vague resemblance to the debased form of cockney dialect as found in the lower classes of detective literature' - but with no likeness to average contemporary Australian speech (p.121).

Chandler did not receive a copy of the issue until many months after it was published, having been a sea during that time. His response to Macoboy's criticism eventually appeared in the February 1949 issue.

Last amended 31 Oct 2013 10:09:34
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