Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Future Perfect

by H. Bruce Franklin

This one took forever to read, almost three months. That's what happens when you pick up another book before finishing the first. Anyway, the book is subtitled "American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century -- An Anthology." You can tell by the phrasing that this is an academic book. But even though Franklin reads like the college prof that he is, he picked out some fine tales for his examples. I loved reading these stories -- to catch a glimpse of the worldview of the authors as well as to smile at the glimpses of "the future" offered in some of the tales. (I wonder if some reader in 2101 will likewise chuckle over the writings of Asimov, Clark, Niven, and Ellison.) Like a good anthology, I enjoyed perusing the tales and like a good literary survey, it made me want to go out and read some more of the authors featured. This one's going on my shelf, and if you like history and science fiction, I recommend you do the same.

LibraryThing link


Wednesday, February 14, 2001

The Flying Sorcerers

by David Gerrold and Larry Niven

Sometimes one is able to retrieve a piece of one's past and experience it anew. Such is the case with this book. Years ago when I first was getting into science fiction, I picked up a coverless copy of The Flying Sorcerers from a sidewalk sale at Page One bookstore. (I didn't know then how blatantly illegal that was.) I read it and enjoyed it and later discarded it when I started running out of book space. Now, years later, I've picked this book up again (cover intact) in an effort to spend a gift certificate. The Flying Sorcerers tells the tale of a space traveler who encounters a group of "primitive" natives and incurs the wrath of the native wizard, who sees him as a rival. The traveler, called Purple by the natives, loses most of his equipment and then has to work with the natives and their primitive technology to get himself back to his mother ship. The story is a comedy of errors, told from the native point of view, and filled with all sorts of in jokes for science fiction fans. (I don't recall if I caught any of them the first time around, and this time I probably still missed a lot.) I enjoyed it more, however, for a humorous look at cross cultural mis-communication. I recommend that you check it out, even though for me it's good enough to keep... again.

LibraryThing link


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