“Super Neutron” by Isaac Asimov

The title of Isaac Asimov’s short story “Super Neutron” sounded typical for a writer known for science fiction and much of the story consists of science that may or may not be fiction.  That’s the point of the story.  One could say that this small story brilliantly illustrates the fun and intrigue that goes along with science fiction.

The narrator belongs to a club of four members known as The Society of Ananias.  While Asimov does not specifically explain the reason for the name, he implies that it is a “tribute” to an infamous liar in the Bible.  Lying is the purpose of this society.  One Sunday each month, the four members get together and take turns spinning a “yarn” for the other three.  The rules insist that the story be a lie and that the teller must immediately and sufficiently answer any questions that the others ask in trying to dispute the tale.  The person appointed as moderator passes final judgement on the answers.  The storyteller buys lunch if anyone stumps him.

The storyteller for this meeting pulls a surprise for the rest of the group in telling them that the world will end during their meeting.  The science involved and the questions asked build to an intense ending – did I say that this story is brilliant?  It’s fun, too.


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