Beyond the Farthest Star

Tangor Returns - Foreword

Edgar Rice Burroughs

NATURALLY, my imagination has been constantly intrigued by speculation as to the fate of Tangor, since his unseen, perhaps ghostly, fingers typed the story of his advent upon Poloda, that mysterious planet some 450,000 light years from Earth; typed them upon my own machine one midnight while I sat amazed, incredulous, and fascinated, with my hands folded in my lap.

His story told of his death behind the German lines in September, 1939, when he was shot down in a battle with three Messerschmitts, and of how he had found himself, alive, uninjured, and as naked as the day he was born, in another world.

I hung upon every line that he wrote; his description of the underground city of Orvis with its great buildings that were lowered deep beneath the surface of the ground when the Kapar bombers flew over by thousands to drop their lethal bombs in the great war that has already lasted more than a hundred years.

I followed his adventures after he became a flier in the air corps of Unis, the Polodan country of his adoption. I grieved with him at the bedside of little Harkas Yamoda; and there were tears of relief in my eyes, as there must have been in his, when the surgeons announced that she would live.

And then the last line that he typed: “Listen! The sirens are sounding the general alarm.”

That was all. But I have sat before my typewriter at midnight many a night since that last line was typed by unseen hands. I have wondered if Tangor ever came back from the battle to which that general alarm called him, or if he died a second death and, perhaps, a final one.

I had about given up my midnight vigils as useless, when one night recently, shortly before midnight, I was awakened by a hand upon my shoulder. It was a moonlight night. The objects in the room were faintly visible, yet I could see no one. I switched on the reading light at the head of my bed. Other than myself there was no one in the room, or at least no one I could see; and then I heard and saw the space bar of my typewriter moving up and down with something that seemed like a note of urgency.

As I started to get out of bed, I saw a sheet of typewriter paper rise from my desk as though endowed with life and place itself in the typewriter. By the time I reached my desk and sat down before the machine, those ghostly fingers had already started to type the story which you are about to read.

Tangor had returned!

Beyond the Farthest Star - Contents    |     One

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