I'm looking for a sci-fi short story that I read a few years ago in a collection, and which I'm pretty sure was pre-2000. The story focused on a main character whose last name (I think) was "Grenfell". He was a scientist who had access to nuclear devices outside of the government, even though they were outlawed. Throughout the story, he was visited by a friend (who I think was named Jack), who tried to convince him to turn his work over to the government.

By the end of the story, Grenfell had successfully created "The Pit," which was a everburning nuclear fire designed to make humanity never again want to have another nuclear war (I think one had occurred before the story started). I remember that the story ended like this:

That was Grenfell's dream.

I'd really appreciate it if anyone could find this story. Thanks in advance!

  • Well as long as he wasn't associated with that tower...
    – Skooba
    Dec 27, 2018 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


This is Theodore Sturgeon's Memorial from Astounding Science Fiction (April 1946)

In "Memorial" (Astounding, April 1946), the visionary (or mad) scientist, Grenfell, seeks to create an atomic horror, The Pit, as a lasting memorial which will make man realize that he must never use atomic power in war. Largely structured as a dialogue between Grenfell and the journalist Roway, the story voices the fear of the period. Sturgeon reveals his stance by allowing Roway and the government agents whom he has brought with him to force Grenfell to use his development as a weapon—not Grenfell's idealism—to cause the nuclear explosion. It initiates not one but two atomic wars; there were no more after that . . . only "half-stooping, naked things whose twisted heredity could have been traced to mankind." In 5000 A.D. with The Pit still radiating, "the Earth could never forget the horror that could be loosed by war. That was Grenfell's dream" (p. 286).

Story Review


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