The Brickbend Geothermal Power Company

On the 10th of August, 1932, the residents of Brickbend awoke to find steam rising from a kilometre long fissure in the earth’s crust. It hadn’t been there the night before.

Three days later Carl Anderson drove his Chrysler Plymouth from a nearby city to the site of the crevice. He took one look at the all the steam and declared that he was going to build the world’s largest geothermal power plant.

When it was finished the art-deco building was long, narrow and sleek. A glass operations room protruded from the front wall and a row of five white cooling towers ran along its length.

During the day the power plant looked like a ship steaming toward new worlds but at night only the five giant cooling towers were visible. The local children called the towers ‘alien fingers’.

The town of Brickbend began using power from the plant soon after it was commissioned. This worked well for a few months but then a string of power cuts had everyone up-in-arms.

A residents meeting decided unanimously to picket the plant until the situation was resolved.

The start of the picket happened to fall on the 10th of August, 1935. That morning Carl Anderson drove past the line of protestors and into the grounds of the Brickbend Geothermal Power Company. He got out of his new Chrysler Streamline and made his way up to the control centre. From the ground the crowd could see his hands moving rapidly over a panel of knobs and levers. After a few minutes he flicked on the outside intercom and addressed those assembled below.

“Three years ago today I crash landed here in Brickbend. Fortunately for me the accident that destroyed my old ship provided access to an energy source that will launch a new and better craft.

“Good-bye and thank-you.”

And with that Carl Anderson pulled one last lever and the power plant was gone – alien fingers and all.

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The Brickbend Geothermal Power Company by 


  • Miri
    Miriover 6 years ago

    lol oooo your imagination…’s great!!! love the use of the prompt, couldn’t help but think of the Tate Modern in London for some reason…& an alien called Carl..well!!

  • Glad you like it Miri. I feel a bit nervous about this one.

    Carl Anderson has a place in earth’s history. He discovered the positron in 1932.

    – Matthew Dalton

  • ToastedGhost
    ToastedGhostover 6 years ago

    Alien fingers… conjures all sorts of thoughts

  • True that! Here is a completely different take on the theme. Paul’s story

    – Matthew Dalton

  • iAN Derrick
    iAN Derrickover 6 years ago

    1935…was a bad year for the grape harvest, but it is good to see the Perth bound gent is in good form…But I know for sure Carl Anderson is alive and well on Varanus.!!!!!WA.

  • The good grapes were abducted by aliens…

    You mean the exploding Varanus? I think you’re on to something there.

    We begin the long drive on Thursday. I’m hoping to read your latest stories when we get there.

    – Matthew Dalton

  • Miri
    Miriover 6 years ago

    aahh must have been an alien!
    ( i probably should have known that being mathsy & physicsy – my Mum will be tutting!!)

  • © Karin  Taylor
    © Karin Taylorover 6 years ago

    hey, that was a great story Matthew,
    really enjoyed it, and loved the ending!

  • Thanks Karin. I’m really glad you liked it. I spent so long editing it I can’t help but view it with a critical eye.

    – Matthew Dalton

  • greeneyes
    greeneyesover 6 years ago

    I like the speed of your tales – just as the reader pictures the characters, events and setting (like colours on a palette) – then suddenly one final event or character sweeps the tale in an unexpected direction like the vacuum of a tornado (or the brush of a paintbrush – mixing all the colours into one final hue)…ps did you mean to miss the ‘a’ out of lunch !!
    pps – if you are going the southern coastal drive to the west – checkout Lucky bay just outside of Esperance or climb the Gloucester tree – ppps watch the head gasket they have a bad habit of blowing halve way through the desert!

  • Thank-you for your kind comment greeneyes. Thanks for helping Carl avoid having lunch in his spaceship. He hates that – it gets so cramped.

    So you have done the drive across the Great Southern Land? Thanks for the tips. This will be my first time so I’m excited and apprehensive all at one.

    – Matthew Dalton

  • MillicentMorrow
    MillicentMorrowover 6 years ago

    Excellent imagery. Great writng and a great read.

  • Thanks Millicent. I’m very glad you enjoyed it.

    – Matthew Dalton

  • Zolton
    Zoltonover 6 years ago

    Is this the guy?? Ha ha. Great sci-fi. Who would not want to got to Varanus? I like that he addressed the crowd. “Good-bye and thank-you.”

  • Woah Zolton! Thanks for the link. I hadn’t actually seen a picture of the guy but he is perfect.

    I think I wanted something a bit like “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” To be Carls final word.

    – Matthew Dalton

  • Mark Bateman
    Mark Batemanover 6 years ago

    That’s fantastic. Great writing with real pace, not too much detail, but more than enough, with a great twist at the end!

  • Thanks very much. One of the key images I used for this story was the art-deco trains of the period. The other was the deco coal fired power plant near London. In the end all that research was one sentence in my story; it’s hard to stay under 350 words.

    PS – Still haven’t worked out the riddle. Will have to have a think about tha one.

    – Matthew Dalton

  • Banalheed
    Banalheedover 6 years ago

    If this ain’t in the top 3 (again) this week I’ll personally fly to Siberia and eat Oleg’s alien fingers whilst having a probe drilled in through my cranium! Great stuff as usual!

  • Haha. I wonder if the alien fingers not only look like sausages but taste like them too?

    I spent ages researching and editing this story. But I still feel closer to last weeks entry; it was more personal.

    And for anyone reading this who is not in the Star Twister Comp it’s well worth a read. Banal Heed’s own Alien Fingers has already been featured in the Sci-Fi group.

    – Matthew Dalton

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