Leiningen Versus the Ants, a Short Story by Carl Stephenson. Leiningen Versus the Ants has ratings and 26 reviews. Gbolahan said: Read this some 25 years ago. Can’t remember where (a collection of short stories. Carl Stephenson creates a true monster tale in “Leiningen vs. the Ants,” and he intensifies the experience by writing in third-person omniscient point of view.

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So now, by opening the dam, he was able to fling an imposing girdle of water, a huge quadrilateral with the river as its base, completely around the plantation, like the moat encircling a medieval city.

Leiningen Versus the Ants by Carl Stephenson

I remember hearing about this story from someone, and managed to track down a copy as part of an anthology of suspenseful stories. On his way back he stumbles. The momentum of the attack was so great that neither the tardy flow of the stream nor its downward pull could exert its proper force; and into the gap left by every submerging insect, hastened forward a dozen more.

While that will flood his plantation and destroy the crops, the people will live. An immense flood of ants, about a hundred yards in width, was pouring in a glimmering-black cataract down the far slope of the ditch.

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Their storm troops swarmed down the concrete side, scrambled over the supporting surface of twigs and leaves, and impelled these over the few remaining streaks of open petrol until tlhey reached the other side. One could see their belief in a favorable outcome of the struggle was already considerably shaken.

Leiningen acknowledged his silent vote of confidence with a laugh that was half a grunt. Something must be blocking the outflow pipe of the third and last cistern-a snake or a dead rat? Whatever it was, the ants could be held off no longer, unless petrol could by some method be led from the cistern into the ditch. Leiningen got up on a chair.

To ask other readers questions thhe Leiningen Versus the Antsplease sign up. The trunks and branches of the trees and the creepers of the lianas, on the far bank of the ditch, fairly swarmed with industrious insects.


And so imprisoned between water and fire, they had been delivered into the annihilation that was their god. Yes, of course it was senseless–provided the defenders had an unlimited supply of petrol. Leiningen Versus the Ants is one of my favorite short stories of all time. It was several hours before the ants succeeded in covering an appreciable part of the surface.

Was there an Indian daring enough after that to run the gauntlet five times as far? Such, at least, was Leiningen’s opinion.


Dullards reeled senselessly and aimlessly into the abyss; cranks, however brilliant, lost their heads when circumstances suddenly altered or accelerated and ran into stone walls, sluggards drifted with the current until they were caught in whirlpools and dragged under. But so great was the Indians’ trust in Leiningen, in Leiningen’s word, and in Leiningen’s wisdom, that they received his curt tidings, and his orders for the imminent struggle, with the calmness with which they were given.

Jul 29, Kevin rated it liked it Shelves: Those two peons had managed only a fifth of that distance at the cost of their lives. He recalls witnessing the ants once pick a downed stag clean to the “white bones” and he resolves not to die that way. The western section of the ditch ran along the edge of a tamarind wood, and the branches of some great trees reached over the water.

It had strayed near the zone of the army. Unless the ants were clever enough to build rafts.

Leiningen Versus the Ants–Carl Stephenson ()

Leiningen gulped it down. He ordered his men to camp along the bank overnight. Leiningen surveyed his position. There seems to be some debate anta to whether or not this story is in the public domain with at least one site claiming that it is, but after modest research I have concluded that anta is not. Was there nothing on earth could sweep this devil’s spawn back into the hell from which it came?

Definitely give the story a read and discover a lost gem!

What Point of View Is “Leiningen Vs. the Ants” In?

Then they began to climb up this to make straight for the helpless garrison. Most of them had been born in the district; the cry “The ants are coming!


Matt Charous rated it really liked it Dec 28, A match spurted, sank down to the oily surface–Leiningen sprang back; in a flash a towering rampart of fire encompassed the garrison. This is a short 18 page radio script, based on the short story of the same name. For me there was too many words I didnt know that made it hard to stay into.

Once the devils were over the trench there wasn’t a chance in hell for him and his men. And don’t think I’m the kind of fathead who tries to fend off lightning with his fists either. Even here, in this Brazilian wilderness, his brain had triumphed over every difficulty and danger it had so far encountered. This page was last edited on 9 Novemberat Jan 09, Amy Other Amy rated it liked it Shelves: For the third time the flames immolated the attacking troops, and burned down to extinction.

Leiningen gave this instruction, not because he believed the non-combatants were in any danger, but in order to avoid hampering the efficiency of the defenders.

When the ants reach his estate, Leiningen seals it by filling a moat that surrounds it on three sides, the fourth being a river. Published first published December As the war between his brain and the “act of God” reached its climax, the very shadow of annihilation began to pale to Leiningen, who now felt like a champion in a new Olympic game, a gigantic and thrilling contest, from which he was determined to emerge victor.

Books by Carl Stephenson. He and his men can take refuge in the heights of the manor house on a hill. At first it seemed that the petrol trench would serve its purpose.

I really liked the love interest with his mail order bride, which was in the movie, but not the book. Leiningen is able to incinerate several waves of attack, but runs out of petrol when the pumps malfunction. Leiningen, at the moment he made that leap through the flames, lost consciousness for the first time in his life.