Please help me find the title of the science-fiction / horror story about crew of astronauts-scientists diving into the atmosphere of some gas giant (like Jupiter or Saturn) inside the special space probe.

I remember only that it was very tense (pressure- and ambience-wise). The whole story takes place inside the probe and at some point they hear knocking from outside.

I've read this at least 10 years ago (maybe more). I thought it's one of the S. King's stories but I can not find it in any of his storybooks.

  • Please try to add anything that may help identification. When did you read it? What language was it in? Are there any other plot details you remember or descriptions of scenes or characters you can give? Anything at all? Feel free to edit any additional details into the question. – Paulie_D Feb 2 '17 at 16:04
  • @Paulie_D edited with all I remember. – Bizley Feb 2 '17 at 16:10
  • Could it have been a Russian story? Particularly, The Path to Amaltea? – Gallifreyan Feb 2 '17 at 16:39
  • @Gallifreyan Unfortunately it's not it. But it could be Russian, I'm not sure. – Bizley Feb 2 '17 at 17:14
  • Yeah, this one didn't feature knocking. – Gallifreyan Feb 2 '17 at 17:19

The short story "Pressure" by Harry Harrison, part of One Step From Earth, a collection about the invention of a teleportation device called a "matter transmitter" or "MT", sees a crew of three descend on Saturn in a bathysphere, welded shut and only accessible through use of an MT.

The tension inside the ship rose as the pressure outside increased—and at the same rate.

The plan is to descend to the solid core of Saturn, activate and calibrate the MT — which is why a crew has to be on board — and then return to earth using the MT. After disintegrating the bathysphere, what will be left is safe access to a high pressure environment for the scientists.

There is no knocking from the outside, which is why I'm not sure if this is the answer to your question. However, the crew has a rough ride down at times.

"Don't do that, Doc," Stan said, raising a warning hand. "This has been a smooth drop so far but it's sure to get bumpy soon. You know what the winds in this atmosphere must be like. So far we've been in some kind of jet stream and moving laterally with it. That's not going to last forever. (...)"

(...) and, as if to verify his words, the immense bulk of the Ball surged violently sideways, tipping as it did so. The two scientists clung to their couches while the pilot rightened the ship. "You're an accurate prophet of doom," Aldo said. "Do you dispense good omens as well?"

They don't hear any knocking, but they do experience vibrations.

Aldo Gabrielli pretended that he did not hear. The pilot was an infuriating man. "What is that?" he asked as a continuous, faint vibration began to shake the Ball.
"Hard to tell," the pilot answered, throwing switches rapidly, then examining the results on his screens. "Something out there, clouds maybe, that we're moving through. Varying impacts on the hull."

The story ends with them landing on solid ground and trying to calibrate the MT.

Stan sacrifices himself in the testing of the MT.

  • This sounds promising. Let me check it first and I'll get back to you. – Bizley Feb 3 '17 at 15:59
  • 1
    @Bizley searching for any of the quotes should help you find it on Google Books. – SQB Feb 3 '17 at 16:02
  • I think this is it. I've read it again and I can recognise the same feelings I remembered. I'm a bit disappointed though that my brain changed the memories about the story into something much more epic than it actually is... ;) Nevertheless thank you for finding it. – Bizley Feb 3 '17 at 16:55
  • @Bizley glad to have been of help. – SQB Feb 3 '17 at 16:57

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.