Monthly Archives: November 2016

How to Divide and Rule

Divide and Rule
L. Sprague de Camp
originally serialized in Uknown, April and May 1939

Unknown, arguably the greatest fantasy magazine after Weird Tales, did publish some science fiction during its run. Not too surprising given the editor was John W. Campbell, Jr., the editor of Astounding Science Fiction.

Case in point, Divide and Rule by L. Sprague de Camp, who was an accomplished writer in both fantasy and science fiction. I enjoyed this one more than I have some of the other de Camp titles I’ve read in the last few years.

The story takes place a couple of hundred years in the future.  Earth has been subjugated by an alien race known as hoppers.  They’re a cross between a kangaroo and a rat.  After studying Earth’s history, they concluded that the best way to keep humanity from uniting was to divide them up into feudal territories. Continue reading

Reading “The Merchants of Venus” to Observe Frederik Pohl’s Birthday

Fred PohlFrederik Pohl was born on this date, November 26, in 1919.  He passed away in 2013.  Pohl was one of the top science fiction writers of the Twentieth Century.  In addition to writing such classics as The Space Merchants (cowritten with C. M. Kornbluth)  and the memoir The Way the Future Was, as well as editing Galaxy magazine and being a founding member of the fan group The Futurians, he was an active author until the day he died.

The 1970s was a productive decade for Pohl.  Beginning with “The Merchants of Venus”, his Heechee series was highly successful.  The first novel, Gateway, won the Hugo, Nebula, and Campbell awards.  Continue reading

A Look at Poul Anderson’s “To Outlive Eternity”

anderson-to-outlive-eternityTo Outlive Eternity
Poul Anderson
mass market paperback $7.99
ebook $6.99

This post isn’t about the entire collection, but the title story.  “To Outlive Eternity” was serialized in Galaxy in 1967.  An expanded version was published in 1970 as the novel Tau Zero.  I read the novel approximately 25 years ago.  Today being Anderson’s birthday, I wanted to read something of his that was longer than a short story, but not too long.  “To Outlive Eternity” was perfect.

Anderson was a master at many forms of science fiction and fantasy.  He had a degree in physics; not surprisingly, much of his hard science stories revolve around physics and astronomy concepts, one of the many reasons I like his work.  “To Outlive Eternity” falls into this category. Continue reading

Step into The Burning Light

burninglightThe Burning Light
Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler
Paperback $14.99
ebook $2.99

This short novel went on sale about two weeks ago.  I’d like to thank Brad Beaulieu for sending me a review copy.  I’d also like to apologize for not getting it read and reviewed closer to the release date.  Life has been happening, and I’m still adjusting to some new time constraints.

I’ve not read Ziegler but I’m a big fan of Beaulieu’s work.  And while most of that work has been fantasy, he has written some science fiction.  That’s what The Burning Light is.

Set in a future where the ocean levels have risen, New York has been flooded and taken over by squatters.  The wealthy and powerful live in enclaves further inland, and everyone has implants that allow them to communicate nonverbally through a type of cybernetic web.

Something called the Light is starting to erupt in places.  It produces an addiction that leaves its victims burned out junkies who eventually die.  Colonel Chu is trying to find the source of the Light and destroy it.  Years ago the Light manifested through her twin sister.  Although her sister survived, and Chu was touched by the Light, everyone else in the vicinity died.  Now Chu has become obsessed with vengeance. Continue reading