Monday, 25 February 2013

The Must Reads

When I was a teenager in the 1960's, I wanted to read everything by Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Robert Heinlein and Clifford Simak. (Heinlein had not yet completely degenerated.) I caught up with Simak, read his, at that time, most recent publication and then forgot about him although he continued churning out novels, probably as many again after that. I thought that he had become repetitive and self-parodying. James Blish, whom I continued to revere, disliked Simak's three instances of talking dogs.

Poul Anderson was not then among my Must Reads. I read some of his works but not others. Now, of the writers mentioned so far, only Blish and Anderson are Must Reads and Anderson, because of his volume and range, is the only one about whom I can blog indefinitely.

After the 1960's, he wrote a lot more and my respect for what he had written increased. Once, when I browsed a novel of his, the blurb described an interstellar spaceship crew returning to Earth to discover that a Social Welfare Party had gained office in their absence. To me at the time, this did not sound sufficiently new so I returned it to the bookshop shelf. Let me end with a question: can any reader of this blog identify that novel from the description given here? Or maybe I am mistaken and it was not an Anderson novel? 

8 comments:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    I actually looked over my Anderson collection to sse if I could find something which fit your description. Alas, nothing clearly rang any bells in my minid. The only title I found, almost certainly incorrect, which might be what you are looing for is "Cold Victory," one of the Psychotechnic League tales. But I don't think is this what you are looking for.

    I also thought of the second part of ORBIT UNLIMITED, "The Burning Bridge," but again I have my doubts this is what you saw so long ago.

    Sean

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  2. I have to question whether it was indeed an Anderson book. I should have come across it by now.

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  3. BTW, my browsing but not buying this book was not back in the 60's but was, I would say, in the last couple of decades in Lancaster. It was a paperback novel newly on sale at the time. But I remember nothing about it other than the little that I said above.

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  4. Hi, Paul!

    It probably was NOT an Anderson story or novel you saw.

    I too have a similar puzzle. I recall reading a story by Anderson in which the protagonists were two self aware computers. But it was not any of the Harvest of Stars books, or GENESIS. I simply can't remember the name of that short story. Can you?

    Sean

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  5. Replies
    1. Hi, Paul!

      Neither "Epilogue" or "Goat Song," alas. What I recall from this story whose title I can't recall is that two self aware computers serving opposing human factions "met" in cyberspace to discuss or negotiate about the diffrences angering their masters. I THINK, but it was long ago. Irritatingly vague, I know!

      Sean

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  6. I have not read it. I am drafting some posts to publish on the blog next month.

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  7. Sean,

    Sorry for abruptness yesterday am! I was just rushing out for the day. Now, I am trying to complete 10 posts to publish them en bloc.

    Paul.

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