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Old March 4 2013, 10:55 PM   #1888
Daddy Todd
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

A few days late turning this entry around. It was a busy weekend.

02/01/2013 The Rim of Space (audiobook) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/01/2013 Who? by Algis Budrys
02/08/2013 Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice (audiobook) by Stephen Baxter
02/10/2013 Contraband from Otherspace by A. Bertram Chandler
02/10/2013 Chance Encounter (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/12/2013 The Golden Journey (na) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/12/2013 Lady Dog (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/13/2013 Stability (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/14/2013 A Time Odyssey I: Time’s Eye (audiobook) by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
02/20/2013 A Time Odyssey II: Sunstorm (audiobook) by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
02/23/2013 Space: 1999: Johnny Byrne’s Children of the Gods by William Latham
02/23/2013 Rimghost (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/23/2013 The Ship from Outside by A. Bertram Chandler
02/24/2013 Gift Horse (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/24/2013 Wet Paint (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/24/2013 The Man Who Could Not Stop (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/24/2013 The Key (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/24/2013 Forbidden Planet (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/25/2013 The Survivors (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/25/2013 The Key (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/25/2013 The Man Who Could Not Stop (nv) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/25/2013 They Blow Up (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/25/2013 Time to Change (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/26/2013 Sense of Wonder (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/26/2013 Drift (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/26/2013 Dark Reflection (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/27/2013 The Cage (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/27/2013 A Time Odyssey III: Firstborn (audiobook) by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
02/28/2013 Not Quite the Noblest (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler
02/28/2013 The Book of Power (ss) by A. Bertram Chandler

Went trawling through my collection of old sci-fi magazines to read some previously unread A. Bertram Chandler stories. After reading some stories from the '40's, I thought it would be interesting to read some later stuff. I noticed that Chandler's output, pretty steady from 1945-1955, slowed to a trickle in 1956, then exploded again in 1957-1958. So I started with his three 1956 stories, then embarked on reading his entire 1957 output in order of publication. That's been fun -- 1957 is where he starts laying groundwork for the Rim Worlds stories that will dominate the rest of his career. He published 31 stories and novelettes in 56-57, and I have all of them but one published in a detective magazine. I also skipped ahead to 1958 to read the earliest batch of bona fide Rim Worlds stories. It's been interesting seeing Chandler's evolution towards his most important fictional milieu.

I've also discovered that far too many of Chandler's stories are nothing more than elaborate jokes, with far more care expended in the set-up than the eventual punchlines deserve. Nevertheless, they're still enjoyable reading. Someone should collect his stories into a couple of fat omnibuses. There are probably five other fans around the world who would enjoy reading them...

Listening to the audiobook of Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice got me in the mood for more Stephen Baxter, so I queued up his 4 collaborations with Arthur C. Clarke. The Time Odyssey series wasn't at all what I was expecting. But I liked it, mostly. It's clear that there were plans for at least one more volume -- volume III plants a bunch of seeds for a continuation towards the end. I can only speculate that Clarke's death prematurely ended the series. Currently listening to The Light of Other Days, their first collaboration, which is fairly lackluster. Clarke/Baxter would do significantly better on later collaborations.

Pulled out a copy of Budrys's Who?, which I first read in the '80's, when it was already three decades old. I remember being knocked out by the ending. I was less impressed this time, but it's still a solid novel of identity. I also got a DVD of the low-budget film made out of the novel in the early '70's. The movie is OK for what it is, but Elliot Gould is woefully miscast as the CIA agent assigned to figure out the central mystery. Was there a time when people thought Gould was a good actor, or did he just skate into a career based on being Babs Streisand's ex?

A new Space: 1999 novel came out in February. It's based on a "legendary" lost storyline for a second-season episode that was abandoned when Fred Freiberger came on as showrunner. No copies of the teleplay have survived, and the story's originator, Johnny Byrne, passed away a few years back, so this extremely short novel (maybe 35,000 words -- certainly not much longer) was written based on conversations between its author, editor, and Byrne late in Byrne's life. It's OK, I guess. Fitted into the storyline of Powys Media's line of Space: 1999 novels, it takes place a good decade or more after "breakaway," long after the events of both the first and second series. If you care about that kind of detail.

But this was really Chandler's month. I got through a single John Grimes novel (Contraband from Otherspace) and the two "Derek Calver" novels (The Rim of Space & The Ship from Outside.) The Ship from Outside concludes on an unresolved note -- Chandler refers to the tale later, in very hazy terms. I wish he'd gotten around to writing about what happened next to Calver and his crew. I'll probably read the original Astounding magazine versions of the two Calver tales in March or April -- they were published in '58. That might prove enlightening.
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