The Silent Bomb
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THE SILENT BOMB
by Charles Dodeman
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Adam Tredowski
"Do you see this glass ampoule? It contains an acid, which, when mixed with picrate placed in the inner sleeve, will set off the explosion instantaneously. When you've decided to give me the formulae for the powder, you only have to give me the signal, and I'll stop the clock. If not, your death is inevitable." And silence falls, absolute.
War-anticipation stories began to published just before World War I, reflecting the mood of the times. During the war itself, the archetypal thriller was likely to be a covert spy story featuring new, game-changing technologies and embryonic superweapons.
Once the subgenre was established, it was maintained even in peacetime by its inherent melodramatic potential-it is still thriving today-but its difficult birth took place in France and Charles Dodeman's The Silent Bomb (1916) was one of its pioneers. It is one of the earliest thrillers to be set during a war that was actually going on at the time of its publication, without the benefit of hindsight.
In it, Dodeman imagines a new, revolutionary type of bomb that, one that today, we would call a "dirty bomb" capable of spreading radioactive particles, delivered through radio-controlled miniature aircrafts, i.e.: "drones."
The Silent Bomb (La Bombe Silencieuse) (Mame, 1916)
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.