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The Great Explosion Paperback – August 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Pub (August 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088184991X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881849912
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Frank Russell (1905-1978) was the first British writer to contribute regularly to Astounding Science Fiction, his first story, 'The Saga of Pelican West', appearing in that magazine in 1937. His novels include Sinister Barrier, Wasp and The Great Explosion and his short fiction has appeared in a number of collections. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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If you can, buy this book.
John D. Muir
This has always been one of my favourite Eric Frank Russell's, ever since first encountering it in my youth.
M. W. Stone
EFR had a humerous style that was easy to read and enjoy.
Mike Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Stone on November 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This has always been one of my favourite Eric Frank Russell's, ever since first encountering it in my youth. It is set about five centuries in the future, and about four centuries after the discovery of an interstellar drive has allowed every religious, political or other discontented minority group to take off and find a world of its own. Only now, the bureaucrats and military brasshats back on Terra have decided that all the prodigals have been left alone long enough, and are sending out expeditions to weld the scattered worlds into one empire.

TGE is the story on one such expedition. A battleship, loaded with spacemen, troopers, civil servants and an Imperial Ambassador, visits three worlds. The first was settled by the descendants of exiled criminals, the second (this bit is hilarious) by a group of fanatical naturists who regard the wearing of clothes as obscene.

The final section (about half the book) had already been separately published as a novella _And Then There Were None_. Its settlers were and are non-violent anarchists, whose answer to any attempt to give them orders is an uncompromising "I won't". They never offer a hint of physical violence to the intruders - yet nonetheless succeed in frustrating them totally. A classic in itself.

All in all, it's a great read for anyone who likes to see authority taken down a peg or two. To be fair, authority, as portrayed here, is not all that malevolent or brutal, just stuffy, convinced that it knows what is best for everyone, and often inconsiderate to those who serve it. Sound familiar? The Ambassador is allowed the occasional telling criticism of the various utopias, but overall we are expected to cheer at his discomfiture, and most readers probably will.

Russell is, for me, one of the sf greats, and I often feel he isn't remembered as much as he deserves to be. For those new to him, TGE is an excellent place to start. If you haven't read it, do
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on September 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you haven't read Eric Frank Russell's ". . . And Then There Were None", you've managed to miss out on one of the genuinely great works of libertarian-anarchist SF (and incidentally one that helped to inspire James Hogan's _Voyage from Yesteryear_). I read it in my youth and I cannot possibly tell you how influential it was on me.
This is the book it came from; it makes up about the latter third of the overall tale. The other two-thirds is very good too, and every bit as hilariously funny (especially the visit to the planet Hygeia).
I won't tell you anything about it that could spoil the story for you. I'll just say that Russell not only envisioned a fully functional society on a foundation of complete individual liberty (based, by the way, on the exercise of volition and respect for each other's choices, not on "property rights") and explained how it might work, _and_ anticipated at least the flavor of much of the 1960s counterculture.
The world of the Gands is my home planet. If you'd like to meet my people, read this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
I too had not read it in years, but it is still a surprisingly profound book, especially the part separated and sold as "And Then There Were None." It is a lot of fun, since Russell is able to write a slanguage no other writer I know of can match; it is stimulating, because no other writer, except maybe L. Neil Smith, has proposed a free society with such detail. It really seems possible.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 1997
Format: Paperback
It's been 20+ years since I last read this story, and it's still one of my favorites. The newly proclaimed Terran empire tries to find its lost ones long after cheap interstellar drives allowed most splinter groups to leave Earth, each to its own new world. The diplomats and soldiers of the expedition are confounded by the unique habits of the colonists, who for the most part could care less about the Terran effort. On one world the medium of exchange is the ob (obligation), not money. But MYOB, the most common phrase, stands for Mind Your Own Business, reflecting the independence of the citizens and not their barter system. The expedition constantly finds their preconceptions challenged by the various societies they encounter, including one that's clothing optional. Russell's deft use of humor and his creative approach to the nature of the splinter groups makes for a very enjoyable novel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Moore on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was one of EFR's great books written well before the current 20 years of SF movies came out. It is an excellent book portraying the aftermath of the Great Explosion of humanity from earth and the attempt to bring them back together. However the independent nature of man shows that it is not that easy. EFR had a humerous style that was easy to read and enjoy. The sooner this book is reprinted the better for a new generation to enjoy the delightful style of EFR.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 1997
Format: Paperback
Given the premise that a cheap and easily built FTL drive is discovered each cult, special interest group, and tree hugging collective blasts off to form their own utopia on some distant planet. The story is the travails of the crew of a starship sent out by Earth's bureaucrats to re-unite these far flung version of utopia under the banner of a benevolent government run by earth's bureaucrats
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John D. Muir on June 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Like everyone else who has reviewed this book, I give it 5 stars and I'm mystified why it isn't better known. I read it back in the 1960s and I recall vividly sitting with hundreds of other hopefuls in the huge echoing Great Hall of Alexandra Palace in London, England before starting my first law examination and repeating to myself the words "I'm better than a lot of these gnoits and snelks", which wasn't so much a boast as an attempt to bolster my flagging spirits. Just the words made me smile, and I've loved this book ever since (it helped that I passed the exam).

There's very little outright comedy in science fiction, and here EFR excels. This book is laugh-out-loud funny, from the prelude to the conclusion. There isn't a dull moment in it, and the skill which which Russell satirizes the various bureaucrats and military officers makes it as hilarious today as when he wrote it. Others have covered the premise of the book and I'll just say that EFR's ability to extrapolate from familiar situations today and construct a believable scenario for the future is one of the book's great strengths. He adds very human and heart-warming touches to his humor and I defy anyone to reach the end of the book and not harbor a secret wish that it were possible to be a Gand.

If you can, buy this book. As you can see from every review here, you'll love it. If you don't, I can only ask which you are- a gnoit or a snelk?
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