Classics of Science Fiction

by John Hertz

We’ll discuss four classic S-F books at Lunacon 2010.  Each discussion will take up one book.  You’re welcome to join in.  Each book is famous, often reprinted, worth re-reading, worth reading a first time now.

Isaac Asimov

I, Robot (1950)

Framed in Dr. Suan Calvin’s reminiscences is this set of stories first published over the years 1940-1950.  The author originally wanted to call the book Mind and Iron; what would that have told us?  How are the stories as character studies?  Narrative?  What’s missing from the final episode?

R.A. Lafferty

Past Master (1968)

Thomas More is brought five centuries across time and space, maybe to help — as defined by whom?  Lafferty was one of our original authors.  This, his first novel, is poetic, satirical, and strange.  You can guess which of those I think most lasting; what do you think?  A book note by me is at <www.collectingsf.com/hertz/past_master.html>.

E.E. Smith

Skylark Three (1948)

Here is the second and my favorite of the Skylark Series, which begins with The Skylark of Space (1946).  Space and Three were each published in earlier forms.  Discovery and invention fuel the story, which is driven by people, some of whom are aliens.  Excitement, adventure, you bet, and it’s remarkable how much is timeless.


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