Tours Travel

Mood and Action in a Story from the Far Future: Seeds of Twilight

The short story “Seeds of the Dusk” by Raymond Z Gallun, published in 1938, is a gem of classic science fiction. Its 31 pages give us an idea of ​​the life and destiny of three species: an alien invasive plant intelligence; descendants of crows; and the descendants of man. This short story includes great events and an unforgettable and haunting atmosphere that is well encapsulated in the title.

The tone of the author’s narrative is relaxed, not exactly “talkative” but informally reflective, with a hint of “maybe” and hesitations and even self-questioning in the descriptions and explanations given, which paradoxically strengthen our imaginative belief, our sense of that something real is shown to us.


… It looked entirely like a toy of chance. And of course, to some extent it was …


… And now, perhaps, the thing was beginning to feel the first glimpses of a consciousness, like a human child emerging from the blurry mist with no memory of birth …

A sensitive vegetable? Without intelligence, it is likely that the ancestors of this nameless invader from the other side of the void would have long ago lost their battle for survival.

What senses were given to this strange mind, by means of which it could be aware of its surroundings? He undoubtedly possessed sensory faculties that could detect things in a way that was beyond ordinary human conception, as vision is for those individuals who were born blind.

You see the kind of style I’m talking about: hesitant, divided into probing questions and explanatory answers. Gallun does not try to hide the fact that he is a narrator of our time who tells us a story many millions of years ahead. In a way, therefore, he is distancing himself from the story he tells; but in doing so, he leaves himself free to make bridging comments, to give explicit clarifications, adapted to our needs as readers, which he could not do if he himself assumed the real voice of the point of view of the future.

The story ignites as the invading spore from Mars takes root, grows, and spreads, using its intelligence and defensive powers to prepare for the clash it knows is coming with Earth’s dominant race, the Itorloo:


Men. Or rather, the cold, cruel and cunning little beings who were the children of men.

Of the three main species in this story, the reader will probably sympathize with birds the most. Kaw, the clever descendant of the crows, alarmed by invading plants, decides that the devil one knows is preferable to the devil one does not know, and flies off to warn his hereditary enemies, the Itorloo. But the degenerate Sons of Man believe they can do it alone, that the way to defeat the invading plants is to sterilize the Earth of everything except human life …

Plants win and they and many other living beings are saved. Man, who has become the enemy of all, succumbs. In fact, the reader feels a kind of relief that the man, or his descendants from Itorloo, are gone and the world can live in its dark peace.

It’s a great idea, or will be, when we stop taking our science fiction heritage for granted, that this story was written in 1938. In fact, it’s not the only science fiction story that prophetically echoes some of our concerns. contemporary environmental issues. However, mainly Twilight seeds It is notable as a timeless and timeless classic of a haunting mood.

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