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OLD CODGERS READING BACK IN TIME


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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2008 3:23:39 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Welcome Bill C.!--that is a series I am not familiar with. My childhood books were the "Tom Swift Series" and the "New Tom Swift Jr. Series" (Alas! No more.) In the former one was dated 1916 and I believe another was 1907 (help me with that, someone). In the latter I had most of the set. I almost forgot (lest we forget!) about those books from the past.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2008 9:54:44 PM PDT
I am soon-to-be-65 and have been collecting SF and donating parts of my collections and collecting again, ever since I had some disposable income. I bought new SF books to read and kept many of them to re-read, and haunted 2nd-hand bookstores for stories I had read as an impoverished child. This discussion has drenched me with nostalgia and caused me to take note of many titles I have suddenly decided I will re-read, and just a few I will look for because they were mentioned here. My eyes smile as I come across titles which are still in my collection and waiting to be re-read. Some books lose their magic after 2 or 3 reads, but some remain in my collection after an unknown number of reads.

I believe the 1st SF novel I read was a Heinlein juvenile. Inside the cover was a list of his other works, but they were not in my local library so I went on an expedition to the Cleveland, Ohio downtown library. The kindly librarian, her nameplate said "Alice Mary Norton," led me to a multi-shelf section of Science Fiction containing books by Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Leinster, Wollheim, and Andre Norton. Because of the similarity of names I tried an Andre Norton book (Starman's Son, 2250 AD?) and was hooked. Only much later did I learn that the librarian and author were one and the same.

Of the names in this discussion I am most surprised at the omission of Frederik Pohl. "Gateway" and "Beyond the Blue Event Horizon" remain in my collection and are IMHO worth a read or re-read by any SF fan. He also wrote many memorable short stories, and in my hands today is "The Last Theorem," by Pohl and the late Clarke. New work by an old author may ultimately disappoint, but it begins with Great Expectations and Great Joy.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2008 5:25:04 AM PDT
Zack G.C. says:
Vanya, that's pretty freakin' cool! Who woulda' known she was a librarian?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2008 6:37:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 1, 2008 7:02:02 AM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Vanya--didn't Pohl write "The Death Merchants"? I was going to get that. And Andre Norton herself! I still vividly remember a story where our protaganist was on a planet near some structure and used a blaster on a space pirate--drilled him clean through. She actually described the charred flesh and all! This was a big thing for an adolescent. I have difficulty identifying scifi before the early '90's (by name) but seem to remember reading over a dozen novels by Norton. Truly an unsung hero of scifi!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2008 9:18:21 AM PDT
Angelicat says:
Vanya, what a wonderful story about Starman's Son 2250 A.D. and the librarian being the author! That title was one of my first sf reads :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2008 9:45:51 AM PDT
sbissell3 says:
'Starman's Son' by Norton was truly a 'seminal' novel. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first of it's type being about a journey through a post-apocalyptic world. That theme has been endlessly played, most recently by Cormac McCarthy in 'The Road' (BTW, that has already been filmed and will be out this fall) but rarely has Norton been credited as being the first. She legally changed her name to 'Andre' because of prejudice against female writers in the 1930s. Another theme that she was the first (again, as far as I know) to explore was the idea of traveling through different times and universes in the 'Time Trader' series. In this series she also introduced the idea of using alien technology which other writers have used extensively. She was a big influence over a good deal of SciFi and Fantasy and wrote over 300 novels, the first in 1934 "The Prince Commands" and the last "Three Hands for Scorpio," in 2006 the year after her death! That is over 70 years of writing! She was working on yet another novel at the time of her death, "Return to Quag Keep," which has been finished by Jean Rabe and is now available. What a writer!

Steven

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2008 3:28:02 PM PDT
And I recently read "The Time Traders" and "Galactic Derelict", and it made me wonder whether Frederik Pohl ever read "Galactic Derelict", since "Gateway" has a similar premise: taking off in an ancient alien ship to see where it will go.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2008 10:16:07 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Vanya--didn't Pohl write "The Death Merchants"?

Pohl wrote "The Space Merchants."

Death Merchant was a series of men's adventure novels. Check out the article at wikipedia if you're interested.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 7:29:47 AM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Mr. Avila--Yea-thanks. I think I got "The Space Merchants" crossd up with Harry Harrison's "Deathworld", a favorite of mine. The protaganist of Pohl's book is an advertising executive whom someone (or somebodies) wants to kill and set him up to emigrate to the planet he lied about. Kind of just deserts, eh?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 12:13:48 PM PDT
Pohl collaborated with Cyril Kornbluth to write the Galaxy magazine serial "Gravy Planet," which was later published as the novel "The Space Merchants," a satire on capitalism and advertising gone wild. That is perhaps their most famous work, but one I have already re-read as often as I ever will. I thimk it is the story which mentioned the crimes of contract breach and femicide. Correct me if I am wrong.



"The Death Merchants" sounds like a mystery, and sure enough Amazon lists it as a title of a mystery author.



Sorry, but once my brain is punctured the memories keep leaking out. "The Death Dealers" or "The Death Dealer," my memory tells me, is the pb reprint title of "A Whiff of Death" by Asimov, one of his Mysteries with a science (chemistry) background. Don't take my word for it: see for yourself if cyanide doesn't smell just like almonds.



Regarding Asimov, a famous non-traveler, author and speaker, whose speeches were almost always given in the northeast, near Boston and the Big Apple, he once traveled by train across the country to the Little Apple, Cupertino, California and gave a speech at a local junior college located midway along the 3-mile route between my home and my place of work. At the time I was a workaholic and resisted the temptation to take a few hours off in the evening to hear him speak. Does anyone have a time-machine they can loan me?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 1:20:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 4, 2008 6:13:53 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Vanya---Asimov's Mysteries was just another volume in the great output from the man. I've got Asimov's Guide To Science; Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology; Asimov's Guide To Shakespeare; Asimov's Guide To The Bible--and I'm working on his science fiction. These are all thick books of 900-1500 pages. Was there no end to the subjects he was interested in? He'll always bring inspiration and the joy of learning to a sizeable number of us!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 1:46:25 PM PDT
mostserene1 says:
Vanya: "Don't take my word for it: see for yourself if cyanide doesn't smell just like almonds."

Okay, let's see...sniff, sniff..arghhhhhh (crash)

Warning: do not try this at home.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 1:56:27 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Hah-Hah! That was really great!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 5:29:31 PM PDT
Vanya,

Seeing Asimov speak was truly an honor. I got to see him speak in Philadelphia many years ago (long enough to qualify me for this thread!). He was not only everything you may have imagined, but the gentleman was hilarious.
Thanks for reminding me...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 9:24:30 PM PDT
taogoat says:
A couple classics I've read recently:

-- Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

-- Space Merchants by Pohl/Kornbluth

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 9:53:10 AM PDT
sbissell3 says:
I just finished 'Greybeard' (1964) by Brian Aldiss. We were discussing on how Andre Norton influenced all sorts of later writers and it was interesting to see most of the elements of P. D. James 1992 novel, 'The Children of Men' repeated here. In fact there is one passage with a quote from the Bible, maybe Psalms, which appears to be the source for James title. James book was made into a 2006 movie which was, IMHO, better than the James book. In fact James puts her novel at about the same time frame as Aldiss and there are several similarities along the way.

I suppose there is nothing wrong with this, good themes should be treated by others if at all possible. It reminds me of John Coltrane's reply when asked why he recorded 'Lush Life' so many times; "It ain't what you say man, it's how you say it."

Steven

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 5:19:34 PM PDT
MICHELLE says:
Isaac Asimov was a trustee at Boston University when I was a student in the early 1970s. He spoke to my science class, not on anything scientific, but on his latest book, which at that time was DIRTY OLD MEN NEED LOVE TOO. We were rolling in the aisles.
Michelle

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 5:52:17 PM PDT
I have this odd memory of Asimov writing a book titled "The Sensuous Child" by Doctor A. I hope I'm wrong...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 6:37:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 4, 2008 6:38:52 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Mr. Avila---I had a four volume set I believed called "Cities In Flight". I can't remember the individual novels' titles but I think they were written by James Blish. Have you ever read them and what did you think of the concept of entire cities wrapped up in force fields, taking off through the universe?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 6:45:55 PM PDT
I loved those books. they are-
They Shall Have Stars
A Life For The Stars
Earthman, Come Home
The Triumph of Time
They were inventive and altogether wonderful. I haven't thought about them in quite a while. Thanks for reminding me.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 7:39:51 PM PDT
The idea of flying cities is an interesting one. The only problem I have is that the "spindizzy" power source is science fictional (duh). Also how would they sustain themselves? I'd think that they would try to colonize a planet. It's also a bit dated. Some other writer said the CIF history diverged from ours in the 1950's. Also, the "bindlestiffs' (cities that raided other cities, taken from the term for hoboes who robbed other hoboes) would have a hard time after they ran out of cities. I still enjoy them.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 8:03:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 4, 2008 8:05:30 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Mr. Avila---That's interesting because back in the day when I was studying physics I tried to design a 'plasma cannon'. This would necessitate a practical working fusion reactor as an energy source and 'force' fields to direct that energy. An important factor in the equation was the angle of spin given the plasmoid as it left the 'barrel' to contain it's integrity. I thought I had something going there but- I lost my college scholarship. Thank the VA for that.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 9:22:58 PM PDT
"Dirty Old Men Need Love Too" is a great title, but this was probably published as "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man" by Dr. A. in 1971. At the time there was a very popular book "The Sensuous ---something" by A. and a few similar books with "Sensuous" in the title. I bought it and read it at least twice, but did not keep it in my collection which, after all, must have a finite size. I am keeping "It's Been a Good Life", a collection of letters published posthumously (but not post-humorously) in 2002---because it contains an Asimov Bibliography. I have used this to track down titles I have missed, in spite of being an Asimov collector ever since I had disposable income. Being an Asimov collector has been a hard life, especially since his publishers did not bother to put serial numbers on the dust jackets or the title pages.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 9:36:46 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Vanya---You're in luck! According to my Wikimobile, there are only 515 items in Asimov's complete bibliography. I'm content with what I have-though I would like to have again his three volume "Understanding Physics" for old times sake.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 9:41:02 PM PDT
Somewhat like the Star Wars movies, Blish wrote several of the Cities in Flight stories in sequence; then in a later-published novel he wrote about the discovery of the spindizzies and the first Cities to leave Earth. The protagonist was a young man who grew up to become Mayor. He was not a protagonist in the stories I had read which took place later in the history of the Cities, but his name rang a bell. I had to read the collected Cities in Flight to find the reference: he was executed by the City Fathers, computer-stored entities equivalent to the City Council, but with a bit more power. For me this was a chilling detail which might have been duplicated to great effect in Star Wars, if only there had been episodes 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, showing the young Jedi Knight growing up to become Darth Vader. Oh, well.
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  146
Total posts:  948
Initial post:  Aug 2, 2008
Latest post:  May 10, 2014

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