"Giant Killer" is a science fiction short story by A. Bertram Chandler. It was first published in the October 1945 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, and later included in many science fiction anthologies, including World of Wonder edited by Fletcher Pratt. In 1996 it was shortlisted for a Retro Hugo Award for Best Novella.
Cover Astounding Science Fiction October 1945
|Author||A. Bertram Chandler|
|Published in||Astounding Science Fiction|
|Publisher||Street & Smith|
|Publication date||October 1945|
Called a "pocket universe" story by The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, "Giant Killer" is told from the point-of-view of a colony of mutants living in a spaceship. Though they are eventually (in the final sentence) revealed to be rats, they are obviously sentient lifeforms: they have a culture, complete with marriage, seers, governmental structures, specialized safety equipment, and ritualized combat. They are illiterate, albeit: they marvel as the giants make black marks on "skin," which they perceive as some inscrutable form of "sorcery." The "giants" of the story's title are the humans crewing the spaceship. Much is made of the mutants' efforts to understand the giants' fascinating world, including such locales as the Place-of-Life-Which-Is-Not-Life, obviously the robotics laboratory.
Cormoran ( or ) is a giant associated with St. Michael's Mount in the folklore of Cornwall. Local tradition credits him with creating the island, in some versions with the aid of his wife Cormelian, and using it as a base to raid cattle from the mainland communities. Cormoran appears in the English fairy tale "Jack the Giant Killer" as the first giant slain by the hero, Jack, and in tales of "Tom the Tinkeard" as a giant too old to present a serious threat.