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de Camp, L. Sprague – “Judgment Day” (1955)


Dr. Wade Ormont, an angry, aging nerd, decides to let the world burn because he was picked on as a child. A nuclear physicist, he’s discovered a way to blow up all the iron in the Earth’s crust, and the story takes the form of his inner monologue as he decides whether or not to report his findings to his superiors in the nuclear weapons program. Having reflected on all the times he was mistreated by others for being too bookish and smart, the story ends with his house vandalized by the local teenagers, and his declaration that “I hate them. I hate them. I hate everybody. I want to kill mankind. I’d kill them by slow torture if I could. If I can’t, blowing up the earth will do. I shall write my report.”

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