“The Flying Eyes” by J Hunter Holly (1963)

Linc Hosler was sitting in a packed football stadium when the Flying Eyes appeared and cast their hypnotic power over half the crowd. Thousands of people suddenly began marching zombie-like into the woods where they vanished into a black pit.

Linc used every resource of the Space Research Lab and the National Guard to destroy the Eyes. But nothing could stop them, for they proved immune to bullets and bombs.

In desperation, Linc captured an Eye and found a way to communicate with it through his mind. He learned that radiation was fuel for the creatures’ lives. And then they issued their terrible ultimatum. Explode a series of atom bombs to supply them with radiation or they would turn the world’s population into mindless robots!

It gave the world two harrowing choices — self-destruction via fallout from the bombs or annihilation via the sinister Flying Eyes!

Quite a terrifying dilemma: physical death by fallout or mental death by alien mental domination. If only the Flying Eyes possessed some weakness that human science could exploit. But no physical attacks seemed to hurt them. The alien Flying Eyes, or Zines as they called themselves, were not limited to just manifesting eyes as they can also manifest limbs which apparently could pass through solid walls.

But their immunity to bombs and bullets, plus their ability to pass through solid objects and their need for radiation also explains their weakness: they are not truly matter as we know it, but mostly of energy. And as creatures of mostly energy, they require raw energy to survive. Such would allow them to travel across space but they had to be wary when entering the gravity field of a planet, because, as per Einstein, energy can be affected by gravity. By the use of a project to control gravity, the Flying Eyes are subjected to a field of increased gravity that causes the structured energy that comprises their forms to degrade, essentially killing them.

Commentary: Author J (Joan) Hunter Holly wrote a number of short novels starting in the very late 1950’s through the middle 1970’s, including another, “The Mind Traders”, which is also in the Collection. This isn’t a very memorable work, better remembered for the fantastical image of floating alien eyes controlling thousands of people at once than anything else. She also wrote one “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” novel, #10, “The Assassination Affair”, as did a number of other mid-list SF authors of the period.

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