I usually respond well to editorial criticism, and I invariably take notice of a constructive review. Generally speaking, however, those people who like my stories show great sensitivity and intelligence—those who don’t, don’t. James White, quoted by Graham Andrews James White was a Northern Irish science fiction author, who deserves to be better known than … Continue reading James White: Four Novels
Jack Williamson, one of several writers to rejoice under the informal title of “Dean of Science Fiction”, was born in 1908 in what was then Arizona Territory, and amazingly published works in the fantasy and science fiction genres over a span of nine decades, from the 1920s to the 2000s.
Brian Stableford is a British science fiction and fantasy author, also active as a critic, translator and academic commentator. The Hooded Swan series of six novels, published between 1972 and 1975, is how he first caught my attention. According to the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, (and certainly more importantly for Stableford) it also marks the point at which he significantly penetrated the American science fiction market. Since then, I’ve also enjoyed some of his fantasy alternate histories: The Empire Of Fear (1988), in which vampires are real; the David Lydyard trilogy (1990-1994), ditto werewolves; and the Empire Of The Necromancers trilogy (2008-2010), ditto Frankenstein’s monster.
“Are you seriously proposing,” the Minister spoke slowly, choosing his words carefully, as though they were chocolates out of an assorted box, “that some other beings, in some distant part of the galaxy, who have never had any contact with us before, have now conveniently sent us the design and programme for the kind of … Continue reading Fred Hoyle: Two Coauthors
Now the Home Secretary made a mistake. ‘My dear Professor Kingsley, I fear you underestimate us. You may rest assured that when we make our plans we shall prepare for the very worst that can possibly overtake us.’ Kingsley leaped. ‘Then I fear you will be preparing for a situation in which every man, woman, … Continue reading Fred Hoyle: Three Novels
Apprehension flickered in his eyes. “The oxygen is escaping faster than it is coming in. I am sorry to put it so bluntly, but unless we can repair the damage there will soon be no oxygen left in the ship.” “How soon?” I said. “Three minutes.” Janet’s face paled, and I didn’t feel too good … Continue reading Angus MacVicar & W.E. Johns: Scottish Spaceflight In The 1950s
Valeria whirled. Her finger stabbed at Rupert. “You talked about Hamlet and Macbeth—as if they were both real,” she cried. “Contemporaries, even. You said you’d met Oberon and … Titania … yourself. Well, did Romeo and Juliet ever live? King Lear? Falstaff? Othello? You mentioned cannon in Hamlet’s time. How about, by God, how about a University … Continue reading Poul Anderson: A Midsummer Tempest
Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Somewhere in God’s infinite universe there may be a system of planets sharp-edged and square-faced as ice cubes. There may be a solar system where worlds are hollow and illuminated by tiny interior suns. There may even be a family of spherical planets as solid as baseballs! Who can … Continue reading Richard A. Lupoff: The “Twin Planets” Novels
And still I persist in wondering whether folly must always be our nemesis. Edgar Pangborn, “My Brother Leopold” (1973) Edgar Pangborn had a great name—not enough people mention that, I feel. He’s the latest author to feature in my intermittent project of rereading classic-but-not-now-famous science-fiction stories from my formative years—the sort of stories that some … Continue reading Edgar Pangborn: The “Darkening World” Cycle
‘I will now lecture,’ said Dr Fell, inexorably, ‘on the general mechanics and development of the situation which is known in detective fiction as the “hermetically sealed chamber.” Harrumph. All those opposing can skip this chapter. […]’ John Dickson Carr The Hollow Man (1935) “Locked Room” mysteries are stories in which the central puzzle involves … Continue reading Three Locked Room Mysteries