“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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