The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In May of 2015, a series of strange deaths of American and foreign scientists, beginning with Professor Peder Bjornsen in Stockholm, attracts the attention of government agent Bill Graham and Lieutenant Art Wohl of the New York police. All the scientists were specialists in optics and related fields, all had connections with one another, and several had painted their arms with iodine and had ingested mescal and methylene blue. The trail of contacts leads eventually to Edward Beach, whose team at the National Camera Company in Silver City, Idaho, is developing a new photographic emulsion that will be extremely sensitive to infrared. As news of success is phoned to Beach, the entire city is destroyed in a cataclysmic explosion.

When Graham locates Beach in his private lab in Idaho, he finally learns what is going on. An accidental discovery by Bjornsen extended human perception far into the infrared—“beyond the sinister barrier of our limitations.” Use of this new perception revealed the previously unsuspected existence of living, intelligent, luminous spheres of energy that Bjornsen named the Vitons. They are the true masters of humanity, which to the Vitons is no more than a herd of cattle. The Vitons feed on human emotions, provoking wars and conflicts to satisfy their appetites. Able to read minds within limited distances, they are ruthless in eradicating any knowledge of their existence. Even to think about them can be fatal, as both the deaths...

(The entire section is 526 words.)