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When Worlds Collide (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback


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When Worlds Collide (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) + The Terrans of Beta: Book Three in the When Wolds Collide Series (When Worlds Collide)
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Product Details

  • Series: Bison Frontiers of Imagination
  • Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; First edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803298145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803298149
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The concept of Earth being struck by a large body from space has been a popular plot in several recent films. This 1932 volume, however, was possibly the first to present that scenario. Here, humankind races to complete a spacecraft--an airborne ark--that will carry an assortment of people to begin the population over again as a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth speeds toward a cataclysmic end.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

" ... a rattling good old-fashioned story of world-cataclysm and the exploration of a new planet."--interzone, february 2000

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It's science fiction.
nikki
When I heard it was back in print, I orderd a copy and was very happy to find that the sequel was included.
Gary Overman
This book is one of the greatest books I have ever read.
Andrew Huse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ryk E. Spoor on May 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I discovered this one when I was in 5th grade. Buying it now, 30 years later, I was worried that it just wouldn't hold up. To my delight, it stands up to the test of time magnificently.
We've seen movies and TV specials in the past few years on the impact of some cosmic body with Earth (Deep Impact, Armageddon, Meteor). Balmer and Wylie did it decades ago, and did it on a scale and with an attention to (then-current) detail that's still staggeringly convincing, if dated, today.
Written before WWII (1933 and 34), When Worlds Collide features the destruction of the Earth in the most complete manner possible, and focuses on the efforts of a few people to find a way to escape that destruction. The manner in which they do so is brilliantly thought out and detailed, the progressive deterioration of both society and of the Earth itself is heartwrenchingly chronicled, and the final flight from the doomed planet is a classic. Yes, we have super-science, purple prose, and sometimes overly-simplistic characters (not to mention outdated concepts), but this is an example of the Golden Age that can still stand on its own. It DEFINED the disaster novel, and set the bar so high that few who came after even dared attempt the grand scale that Balmer and Wylie achieved. The sequel has its own charm, a combination of aftermath and exploration, with some eerie scenes that still give me a bit of the creeps to read.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mark Wilsonwood on January 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Many of the earlier reviews on this site call for a reissue of the sequel, "After Worlds Collide". Please note: BOTH STORIES, "When Worlds Collide" and "After Worlds Collide", are contained in this paperback version. The title is misleading because it only includes "When..." -- but both stories are there.
Other reviewers have correctlly noted that there are some scientific inaccuracies, and some 1930s political and social views that seem out of place today. Who cares?! This is a wonderful story. In part 1, the authors concoct an excellent apocalyptic scenario. And in part 2, their conception of the alien planet is brilliant.
This is a very well-told yarn.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By L. Dequesada on July 19, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Probably the best science fiction story of all times! A "gas giant" planet about the size of Uranus was dragged away from its original orbit around its sun in a distant solar system by a passing star, perhaps millions of years ago. Also dragged away was the gigantic planet's satellite, an earthlike planet. The two bodies retain their original orbital influence and wonder for eons, frozen in the absolute zero of space, until they come close enough to our solar system and are pulled in, attracted by the gravity of our own sun, their speeds increased several times in their endless travel through space. Star gazers soon discover that at least one of the newly discovered bodies will collide with and destroy the earth. Upon being discovered by a South African astronomer Professor Bronson, the two bodies are named by scientists after its discoverer. The larger one, the gaseous "Bronson Alpha", will destroy the earth, so a Noah's Ark rocket is built at a franctic pace to provide escape of 100 chosen would be travelers, so they can start a new life in Alpha's companion, the earthlike "Bronson Beta" which will replace the Earth in its orbital position. Time is of essence in this classic sci-fi thriller which should be remade by Hollywood in state or the art computerized special effects and sound!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Raymond L. Macon on February 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first read this book more than thirty years ago. I have read it many times since and it will always remain on my list of all-time favorites. This is a book in the tradition of Verne and Wells in that it brings many basic scientific principles to life and makes them understandable to the reader.
Against the backdrop of universal disaster, Wylie and Balmer manage to tell a story that has real human dimensions. Love, hate, ingenuity, and compassion all play out here in characters that will truly engage the reader. Furthermore, the scope of adventure the book gives will compel the reader to keep turning the pages, eager to see what happens next. In this way the book is a true success. However, for the discerning reader, the story also raises some perplexing and even disturbing questions, giving it a depth that mere adventure can't.
My career as a geographer and mathematician can trace its genesis to one book, and that book is WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE. So I personally owe its authors a great deal, and so does all science-fiction because this book epitomizes the genre's greatest strengths.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on March 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Two rogue planets, one the satellite of the other, are heading directly toward the earth. The scientists who make this horrifying discovery have a plan to save a small remnant of humanity.

The story is engaging enough that I was content to suspend my disbelief at the implausibility of the disaster and especially of the opportunity for survival. Much of the entertainment value of the book is in its being old: news of the impending disaster is spread by newspaper; atomic power is being hastily developed; and the attraction between two main characters is expressed only in passionate kisses.

There's plenty of apocalyptic fiction I'd recommend over this (e.g., "The Road," "Earth Abides," "The Stand," and "Alas, Babylon"), but "When Worlds Collide" is entertaining enough for a rainy Saturday.
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