I was hoping to find some answers on a very interesting anthology that I remember from the 70's, but was probably written earlier. There were a variety of stories, but 2 really stand out for me.

The first is a group of genius children are being rounded up for some reason, likely to be experimented on, and they end up working together. While the adults are off planning, these genius kids create a force field that it created by distorting time by a millisecond from the area around it, so nothing can pass through. I don't remember what else happens to them, but the time distortion was memorable.

The second story I remember had a scientist who was working to creating a new species, and he succeeded. It turns out they live at a much faster rate than we humans do. Not only were their lifespans shorter, they also accomplished a lot in those short lives. So when he starts seeing all of their advancements he decides to profit from them, and sells the inventions to people as his own creations...

  • The ISFDB entries for Microcosmic God and The First Men don't have any anthologies in common, so either the ISFDB listings are incomplete (perfectly possible), or one of the identifications in the answers is wrong.
    – Mike Scott
    Apr 15, 2014 at 14:58
  • Are you quite sure that you read those two stories in the same book?
    – user14111
    Apr 15, 2014 at 18:53

3 Answers 3


The latter story sounds very much like Theodore Sturgeon's Microcosmic God, which was actually published in 1941. The lifeforms are called "neoterics" and live greatly accelerated lives, leading them to quickly outpace humanity technologically.

In the story there's a scene where Kidder, the scientist who created the neoterics, is running towards his house on one end of the island where he lived while the other end is being bombed. He later ends up defending himself and the neoterics in a very interesting way.

If this is the story, then it appeared in the following short story collections and perhaps one of these is the one you are seeking: (from ISFDB)

  • Microcosmic God, Volume II: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, (Dec 1995, Theodore Sturgeon, publ. North Atlantic Books, 1-55643-213-5, $25.00, xxxiii+372pp, hc, coll) Cover: Jacek Yerka - [VERIFIED]

  • Microcosmic God, (Dec 1998, Theodore Sturgeon, publ. North Atlantic Books, 1-55643-301-8, $18.95, xxxiii+372pp, tp, coll) Cover: Jacek Yerka

  • Microcosmic God: Volume II: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, (Nov 2010, Theodore Sturgeon, publ. North Atlantic Books, 978-1-55643-659-8, $35.00, 408pp, hc, coll)

  • Microcosmic God, (date unknown, Theodore Sturgeon, publ. North Atlantic Books, 1-55643-301-8, $18.95, xxxiii+372pp, tp, coll) Cover: Jacek Yerka - [VERIFIED]

  • The Microcosmic God, (1975, ed. Sam Moscowitz, publ. Manor Books, #12328, $1.25, 193pp, pb, anth) Cover: Bruce Pennington - [VERIFIED]

  • Microcosmic God and Other Stories from Modern Masterpieces of Science Fiction, (1968, ed. Sam Moskowitz, publ. Macfadden-Bartell, #60-335, $0.60, 142pp, pb, anth) - [VERIFIED]

From the Wikipedia article:

A highly secretive and reclusive biochemist named Kidder produces inventions that transform human life, spanning every aspect of science and engineering. Unbeknownst to anyone, Kidder has developed a synthetic life form, which he calls "neoterics." These creatures live at a greatly accelerated rate, and therefore have a very short lifespan and produce many generations over a short period of time. This allows Kidder, by presenting them with a frequently changing environment, to "evolve" them quickly into highly intelligent lifeforms who fear Kidder and worship him like a god. Kidder can control his neoterics' environment, and thus force them into developing technology far beyond that of humans. While earlier inventions had been his own, Kidder created the neoterics with the intention that they would become the source of many newer and greater inventions which he could claim as his own.

Kidder's banker takes over the island on which he has built his laboratory, hoping to use a neoteric design for a new source of power to take over the world. When the banker strikes to kill Kidder and the workers who had assisted in building the power plant, Kidder asks the neoterics to throw up an impenetrable force field.

The story ends years later. It is unknown whether or not Kidder is still alive under the shield, and certain that the neoterics have continued to develop technology far in excess of anything controlled by humans. The reader is left to suppose that, if the neoterics were to decide to take the Earth, nothing would stop them.

  • Good answer, except for the list of collections. Only 2 of the 16 Sturgeon collections you listed (Without Sorcery and Caviar) actually contain "Microcosmic God"; moreover, that story is also in The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume II: Microcosmic God, and several anthologies starting with Donald A. Wollheim's The Pocket Book of Science Fiction from 1943; see the ISFDB for a list.
    – user14111
    Apr 15, 2014 at 19:16
  • @user14111. Thank you for noting the correction. I pulled the listing from Wiki (as opposed to ISFDB). Looks like Wiki may have some correction opportunities. I have updated with the revised listing from ISFDB. Thanks.
    – beichst
    Apr 16, 2014 at 0:23
  • What you pulled from that Wikipedia page is the list of (most) all of Sturgeon's short story collections, from the Theodore Sturgeon bibliography at the bottom of the page.
    – user14111
    Apr 16, 2014 at 0:53
  • I hate to say this but your answer still needs work. "Microcosmic God" is the name of (A) Sturgeon's famous novelette, (B) an old anthology edited by Sam Moskowitz (misspelled Moscowitz on the cover) containing Sturgeon's novelette, and (C) Volume II of The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, also containing the novelette of the same name. What you have copied from ISFDB (with attribution but without a link) is a list of various editions of (B) and (C). The full list of publications of that novelette is on the ISFDB page I linked to in my previous comment.
    – user14111
    Apr 16, 2014 at 1:02
  • @user14111. Have corrected one more time. Hopefully 3rd time's the charm :-)
    – beichst
    Apr 16, 2014 at 1:37

The first story is The First Men (1960) by Howard Fast.

Fast's story is about how a group of scientists and educators, through a controlled environment, succeed in raising naturally gifted children into "man-plus"—people who possess comparatively super-human abilities. They possess unparalleled understanding of all technical subjects such as math, physics and unlock natural telepathy. They also excel at physical endeavors, such as sports and break numerous physical records.

Their controlled environment, an isolated compound in California comprising 8,000 acres (32 km²), is a government sponsored facility granted for the raising of the children. The scientists were given fifteen years, later extended by three more years and a few weeks, to experimentally raise the children. By a very early age, the children surpass their teachers' knowledge.

Not sure which anthology this and the other story both appeared in though; I don't recognise the other one, so it must have been a different anthology!


Is the first story Commencement Night by Richard Ashby (1953)? Both of these stories were reprinted in Groff Conklin's 1965 anthology, Giants Unleashed (https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?34596). Unfortunately I do not have access to a copy of this book anymore, but it was a remarkable collection. If I am right, Commencement Night was the story of an experiment in which children were allowed to develop on an island isolated from the rest of the world, but with many sensors so their progress could be tracked. The children astonished their observers by their accomplishments, which included speaking a very efficient language that could incorporate maximum information into a few syllables. It turned out that they were taught the language by an alien whose spaceship was hidden in the one place on the island with no sensors. Does this match your memory?

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