Children of the Atom by Wilmar Shiras

Wilmar Shiras’s Chil­dren of the Atom is a hard book to come by. It had been out of print for quite some time until rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly. I now only have four books left to read on this list. Thank­ful­ly, I can find them all in the Cleve­land library sys­tem.

Appar­ent­ly this nov­el served as a foun­da­tion and cre­ative spark for The X-men com­ic. A bunch of ado­les­cents turn out to be super-genius­es due to some radi­a­tion acci­dent that end­ed up killing all of their par­ents. They’ve all been forced, to some degree or anoth­er, to hide their lit­er­al­ly incal­cuable men­tal largesse from soci­ety. A psy­chol­o­gist tum­bles to this fact with one boy, befriends him, finds out the back­ground, and starts to search for oth­er kids like this. The group he final­ly gets togeth­er is filled with genius­es of dif­fer­ing tal­ents and dif­fer­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal sta­bil­i­ty. Some lunatic tel­e­van­ge­list calls them witch­es, but they defuse/diffuse the mob that comes to get them and decide to remingle with soci­ety in order that peo­ple will be less like­ly to hate what they do not know.

As the writ­ing goes, it is very sim­ple 1950s style, almost like a young adult sci­ence fic­tion nov­el, but there are con­ver­sa­tions among the kids that read more like some of my blog posts. They debate Aquinas quite a bit, rip apart Poe’s The Raven and jump from debat­ing Absolute Zero ther­mo­dy­nam­i­cal­ly against Absolute Zero math­e­mat­i­cal­ly, to a debate on The Absolute, peri­od. It is also rel­a­tive­ly short, knock­ing about at around 200 pages. Worth a read, but I don’t think spot 14 on the list is the cor­rect one.

Comments are closed.