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? Oct 13, 2019 at 11:58

2 Answers 2


Gerald Kersh, The Copper Dahlia (1949).


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.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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