Cover of the 1955 English revised edition
|Translator||Bernard Guilbert Guerney (1st edition) |
George Hanna (revised ed.)
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Publisher||Methuen (1st edition) |
Foreign Language (revised edition)
Published in English
|1936 (1st edition) and 1955 (revised edition)|
The Garin Death Ray also known as The Death Box and The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin (Russian: ) is a science fiction novel by the noted Russian author Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy written in 1926-1927. Vladimir Nabokov considered it Tolstoy's finest fictional work.
The "hyperboloid" in its title is not a geometrical surface (though it is utilized in the device design) but a "death ray"-laser-like device (thought up by the author many decades before lasers were invented) that the protagonist, engineer Garin, used to fight his enemies and try to become the dictator of the world. The idea of a "death ray" (popularized in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, among others) was commonplace in science fiction of the time, but Tolstoy's version is unique for its level of technical details. "Hyperboloids" of different power capability differ in their effect. The device uses two hyperbolic mirrors to concentrate light rays in a parallel beam. Larger "hyperboloids" can destroy military ships on the horizon, and those of less power can only injure people and cut electric cables on walls of rooms.
The Russian band (Piknik) has a song "" (Hyperboloid) (2008).