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I read this in an anthology sometime in the 1970's. A chap was winding various coils for his radio receiver. He hears a message from 'Mars'?

The story ends when the 'special' coil is crushed by some accident. The protagonist is concerned that he could never reproduce the 'unique' shape again!

I hope someone can help with this, it came up while discussing Inductance with a friend.

  • It sounds like a "before the golden age" story. Maybe from the 1920s or 30s. Can you remember if it had that feel to it? – John Rennie Oct 13 at 11:58
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Gerald Kersh, The Copper Dahlia (1949).

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Yes it is "The Copper Dahlia" by Gerald Kersh (published in Edmund Crispin's Best SF Two and elsewhere).

The device is wrecked when a cat jumps on it in pursuit of a mouse. But not before the hero receives horrifying news.

The amoeboid Martians wish to render humans happy regardless of their condition. The hero sees that this will be a disaster, as a man burning to death will be happy and do nothing to save himself. A farmer will happily plough on till he hits a wall, and then be happy until he dies.

He ends by fleeing to a remote corner of the Gaspé Peninsula, and warning everyone to destroy any similar coils which they may find.

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