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Station in space Paperback – 1958


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553118251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553118251
  • ASIN: B0006AVJEK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,437,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mithridates VI of Pontus VINE VOICE on May 31, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Gunn's Station in Space (1958) is an interconnected series of stories that form a cohesive chronologically organized whole tracking the development of human exploration into space. Because multiple characters reappear in later stories and the earlier events all have a direct bearing the work must be read in order. The result is more a loose form novel than short story collection.

The most intriguing aspect of Gunn's stories is the careful demystification of the glamor of space travel. Many of the works begin like a juvenile à la Heinlein or Blish where space travel is fun and rosy and easy as picking corn before Gunn's brutal realist streak seeps in and overwhelms the pages. I suspect that Gunn was influenced by the pessimistic short stories of his contemporary C. M. Kornbluth (The Explorers) but stays away from his brutal nihilistic satire.

Gunn's view of the future is more optimistic than Kornbluth or Malzberg's visions: despite the low life expectancy, the lies that propelled the beginning of the space program, the family strife that threatens to ruin the lives of astronauts, space travel is ultimately still "worth it." Each character goes to space an idealistic young welp. The reality of the situation and coming to grips with the untruths he's been told make him a man. Regardless of the hard truths, he devotes his life to exploration whatever its nebulously defined benefits.

Gunn's prose is simplistic but effective at conveying the realism he desires. The descriptions are never endless expositions (an unfortunate tendency of the 50s science fiction). Despite the simplistic character arc described above, the transformative moment is rarely unbelievable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A solid series of stories about the first space explorations, as imagined just pre and post Sputnik. The first story, "The Cave of Night" is a classic, while the others develop the theme with recuring characters. Nicely written and developed.
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