Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I've been reading The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. One 1929-1964. There are quite a few stories that I've never read, but I really have to say that so far, my two favorites are the two I read long ago...Mimsy Were the Borogroves by Lewis Padgett and of course, Nightfall by Asimov.

I'm amazed how well Nightfall stands up more than 60 years after it was written. Aside from one glaring mistake at the end, the story would sell to a publisher today. That can't be said for most of the stories in this collection. Although most of them are great, several of them are quite dated. Let's face it, The Roads Must Roll by Heinlein is a great story, but if someone wrote that today, it probably would never sell. Night fall would! The science still works, the voice works, and Asimov does some of his best ever characterization in this story. It's still a masterpiece.

If you really want to examine the roots of SF, I strongly recommend this book. There's even a link on my homepage where you can buy it through Amazon...


Keith said...

I recently listened to nightfall as a book on tape. It is not the original story, but a novelization from the original idea. I must have read the original, but I don't remember much about it. The novelization (not by Asimov) is a long novel that seems to be mostly a post apocalypse story about the survivors of the day of darkness. Lots of side plots and none of it too interesting. By the end of it you can't believe that anyone can go so crazy by being deprived of light for a few hours.

Heinlein is an acquired taste and I admit that he phoned in many of his stories during the early 1950s. There is one of his stories in that collection, perhaps under the pen name Anson MacDonald, called "By his Bootstraps" which is the best time travel story ever written.

The best story in the collection (if this is the one I'm thinking of) is First Contact by Murray Leinster. I have it on continuous loop while I commute to work. I want it to sink into my subconscious and somehow let me be able to channel Murry Leinster when I write.

J, you may get a story called "Last Contact" from me, but it drags a little as it stands and I need to work on it. I tried to take the First Contact premise and work out another approach - without being derivative of the original.

J Erwine said...

As far as Nightfall, I don't think there would quite as much mass hysteria as Asimov predicts, but I think there would definitely be some level of it. People used to go nuts on this planet because of eclipses. If you'd never seen the dark, you'd it would definitely mess with your mind.

I'd have to say that I hated "First Contact." I thought it could have been a good story, but the author felt like they needed to continually beat us over the head with the same facts...over...and over...and over again. Cut at least a third of the story out, and yeah, you would have had a really good story.