The Mightiest Machine

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The Mightiest Machine
File:Mightiest machine.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
Author John W. Campbell, Jr.
Illustrator R. Pailthorpe
Cover artist Betty Wells Halladay
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher The Hadley Publishing Co.
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 228
OCLC 2737057
Followed by The Incredible Planet

The Mightiest Machine is a science fiction novel by author John W. Campbell, Jr. It was published in book form in 1947 by The Hadley Publishing Co. in an edition of 1,200 copies. The novel was originally serialized in 5 parts the magazine Astounding beginning with the December 1934 issue.

Plot introduction

This space opera novel concerns the harnessing of energy from the sun and encounters with aliens who turn out not to be truly alien at all. It also touches on the legends of ancient civilizations on earth, Atlantis in this case, and what may have happened to them.


Astounding reviewer P. Schuyler Miller described the 1947 edition as "perhaps the climax of the super-physics school of science fiction which 'Skylark' Smith had started."[1] Everett F. Bleiler identified the novel as the paradigm of "the Campbell hard space opera," noting its "great quantity of fanciful and ingenious scientific extrapolations, fictional weaknesses, and polarized social simplistics that regard genocide with equanimity."[2]

Publication history

  • 1934, US, Astounding, Pub date December 1934, serialized magazine publication in 5 parts
  • 1947, US, The Hadley Publishing Co. OCLC 2737057, Pub date 1947, Hardback
  • 1955, Italy, Urania, Pub date July 1955, magazine publication as I figli di Mu
  • 1960, Germany, Terra, Pub date 1960 OCLC 73291407, Hardback, as Das unglaubliche System
  • 1962, France, Présence du Futur OCLC 77464106, Pub date 1962, Hardback, as La Machine Suprème
  • 1965, US, Ace Books OCLC 534681, Pub date 1965, Paperback


  1. "Book Reviews", Astounding, November 1950, p.94
  2. Everett F. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years, Kent State University Press, 1998, p.59

External links