Tag Archives: Novels

Angus MacVicar & W.E. Johns: Scottish Spaceflight In The 1950s

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

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Poul Anderson: A Midsummer Tempest

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

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Richard A. Lupoff: The “Twin Planets” Novels

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

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Edgar Pangborn: The “Darkening World” Cycle

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

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Three Locked Room Mysteries

‘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

Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis: Three Novels

None of us set out to do anything more than be technically ingenious. We succeeded and London nearly died. Surely that’s more than enough to make us redirect our activities. The next time it may be the whole world. Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters (1971) Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis were a writing duo active … Continue reading Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis: Three Novels

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Anti-agathic

ˌæntɪəˈɡæθɪk anti-agathic: serving to prevent death; a drug that has this function This is a science fiction word. It was coined during the 1950s by James Blish as a key concept for his Cities in Flight series of novels, to designate the drugs that his characters took to give them potential immortality, allowing them to … Continue reading Anti-agathic

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Kim Stanley Robinson: New York 2140

We’ve got good tech, we’ve got a nice planet, but we’re fucking it up by way of stupid laws. I’ve written about Kim Stanley Robinson before, when I reviewed his Green Earth. I mentioned his environmentalist and anti-capitalist concerns, his lyrical descriptions of landscape, his long passages where nothing much happens except characters talking to … Continue reading Kim Stanley Robinson: New York 2140

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Greg Egan: Dichronauts

Geometry might well kill them in the end, but only a rigorous understanding of its principles could make their situation intelligible, let alone survivable. That quote comes from Part 4 of this novel, but it encapsulates what’s intriguing and (at least potentially) frustrating about the story—it’s about spacetime geometry. I’ve written about Greg Egan before, … Continue reading Greg Egan: Dichronauts