Stanley G. Weinbaum was born on this date, April 4, in the year 1902. He had a brief career as a science fiction writer in the mid-1930s before dying of lung cancer. While he is to a large degree forgotten today, he still casts a long shadow over the field.
His first story was “A Martian Odyssey”, in which he introduced aliens that were truly alien and not simply bug eyed monsters. We’ll take a look at that story in more depth at a later date.
For now, suffice to say that the impact of that tale was significant. Weinbaum followed it up with a sequel and then went on to write about a solar system populated with interesting and unique aliens. Weinbaum had a unique voice. I think in part that was because the tropes of the field hadn’t solidified, some would say ossified, into the more rigid standards they are now. Continue reading →
The original Star Wars came out when I was in elementary school, and it was a mind-warping experience. I had come to science fiction and fantasy through comics, but it was the sense of wonder and excitement this movie generated that turned me from reading mystery books to reading science fiction books checked out from the school library. As I read above grade level, I was soon searching out science fiction in the adult section of the public library and in book stores. Like a second hand book store at the flea market.
This place sold second hand paperbacks for a quarter, IIRC. The covers were stripped, which meant the books had been reported to the publishers as having been been pulped and the covers returned for credit. In other words, they were technically stolen. I didn’t know that then. There were a number of titles I recognized, such as some H. P, Lovecraft. I picked up The Best of Jack Williamson there, and later The Best of L. Sprague de Camp.
The Williamson volume started with stories from the 30s and went up to the 70s. There was an introduction by Frederik Pohl and an afterward by Williamson. This was the pattern of the series. An introduction by an author or editor associated with the writer of the book, and if the author was still living (most were but not all) he or she contributed an afterward. My mind was blown. David Hartwell once said the golden age of science fiction is thirteen. I was, and it was. Continue reading →
Today, April 7, 2016, marks the 101st birthday of author Henry Kuttner.
I was going to read and review one of Kuttner’s longer works and had chosen The Fairy Chessmen. That review will come in a few days. I’m not quite halfway through it and won’t be able to finish it before tomorrow.