Hellflower by George O. Smith (Heathen Edition)


Spine #43
George O. Smith
First Edition
Heathen Edition
March 11, 2023
Heathen Genera
Paperback ISBN
Hardcover ISBN

She knew it was a hellflower, she must know it. So this nice little game she was playing was known to be a game . . . a game where the loser never came to bat again, and once he was out, started polishing the Golden Gates or riding gain on the servo-amplifiers for Mephisto’s atomic hellfire. He had to pull a part of this play back out of danger.

In the darkened control room, Farradyne reached forward and removed the love lotus from her hair. He threw it into the chute that eventually led into the incandescent reaction blast.

She turned and her face was dim in the starlight. “Why did you do that?” she asked.

Farradyne lied calmly, “Because when I give you your next corsage, it will be a bona fide gardenia if I have to get a pedigree from the guy who grew it.”

Her smile was a trifle bitter. “What would you have done if it had worked?”

Farradyne laughed. “I didn’t expect it to work.”


George Oliver Smith (1911–1981) was an American electronics engineer who parlayed his technical expertise into detailed, extrapolative science fiction with short stories he first contributed (and later collected as Venus Equilateral) to the sci-fi magazine Astounding Science Fiction during the Golden Age of Science Fiction in the 1940s. The 1953 novel, Hellflower, marked a notable shift in Smith’s writing when he sidelined the technics and focused, instead, on character with framed and disgraced space pilot Charles Farradyne who is offered one shot at redemption by infiltrating an unknown interstellar organization trafficking the deadly ultra-aphrodisiac Hellflowers — and he might just discover who framed him in the process . . .
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"Perhaps the swiftest-moving story of interstellar conspiracy ever written."
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