Neutron Tide

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"Neutron Tide"
Author Arthur C. Clarke
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published in Galaxy Science Fiction
Publication date May, 1970

"Neutron Tide" is a short story by British writer Arthur C. Clarke. It is among his shortest pieces of writing, consisting solely of a 2-page, detailed description of a futuristic scenario in order to use a pun as a punch-line.

Plot summary[edit]

Clarke describes a space battleship flying too close to the gravitational field of a neutron star, and subsequently being torn to bits by the high tidal forces. A military commander revealing this in a meeting says the only identifiable piece of debris was from an engineer's toolkit, resulting in the pun, "star-mangled spanner": a play on the title of the United States' national anthem.

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