Friday, October 12, 2012

American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s

The Barnes & Noble Review: American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s Edited by GARY K. WOLFE Reviewed by Paul Di Filippo

5 comments:

  1. So, if it was a Crider project, what might you have selected? (While Paul oversimplifies the appeal, I think he's right to suggest that a Simak novel, TIME AND AGAIN most probably, would be a better choice than even DOUBLE STAR from Heinlein...I'm not sure Heinlein ever got the novel thing down pat till THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, and never would be that good again, even given how impressive the early serials were...but not as good as the best short work. Also true of Sturgeon, Knight, and a number of others...)

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  2. Double Star might by my favorite Heinlein, so I don't object to that one. Would have liked to see a Simak included, though. Time and Again would be a good choice. I liked is comment about how the novels of that era were free of bloat. There's a lesson there.

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  3. Sadly, the lesson was that readers were on their way to preferring bloat, by and large...note that the big breakout novel for Heinlein was his first bloaty one, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, and the bestselling (at least borderline) sf of the '50s included such megabloat doorstops as ATLAS SHRUGGED (actually twitched, under the weight of all those pages of sermon). Michener and his crew were on their way in, and that wasn't the sure way to bestsellerdom, but with increasingly reluctant (and should I add lazy?) readers, having a Lot of pages to follow their initial stage-setting was the way for writers and publishers to reach wide audiences, even given the counterexamples, good, bad and indifferent, of John Cheever, Richard Bach and Peter Benchley.

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  4. One thing that interests me is how each new book in a series seems to be longer than the one before. It's scary.

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  5. I agree that Simak should be represented and there are many great novels to choose from! Also, a big hole with Childhood's End missing!!! But I have no argument with those included.

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