Thursday, 1 November 2018

Four More Future Histories

Back To Methuselah by George Bernard Shaw.
The Galactic Center Saga by Gregory Benford.
A Short History of the Future by W. Warren Wagar.
The Third Millennium: A History Of The World: AD 2000-3000 by Brian Stableford and David Langford.

OK. I read Back To Methuselah once decades ago, have read perhaps two Galactic Center volumes and had not heard of the other two works until they appeared on recent Internet searches.

Blog readers will see that I have not kept up with contemporary sf and are invited to comment to that effect.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Future Histories II

Although it is interesting to compare future histories, I focus more on some than on others.

According to RC Churchill's A Short History Of The Future, Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles and George Orwell's 1984 are contemporaneous, then the nuclear war at the end of the two Bradbury works is followed by Aldous Huxley's Ape And Essence (not his Brave New World) and later by several other authors' narratives set in successive future periods.

I have read Churchill's book but do not possess a copy. It might be possible to find more information about its contents on the Internet. One of Churchill's discoveries was that the future is very different from the past, containing as it does many arbitrary and alarming events. 1949 was a turning point year and is also the year in which I was born.

Googling reveals that there are more recent relevant works that I am unfamiliar with.

Future Histories

British
Wells, The Shape Of Things To Come
Stapledon, Last And First Men
Aldiss, Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
RC Churchill, A Short History Of The Future

American
Burroughs, The Moon Trilogy
Heinlein, The Future History
Asimov, Robots and Empire
Blish, three including one that branches
Anderson, eight or nine
Niven, Known Space
Pournelle, CoDominium
Piper, Terrohuman
Bradley, Darkover
Simak, City
Le Guin, Hainish
Cordwainer Smith, The Instrumentality

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

First Man On The Moon

A one volume collection of "first man on the moon" short stories - or at least shorter than novels? Contents?

"The Man Who Sold The Moon" by Robert Heinlein.
"Forms Of Things Unknown" by CS Lewis.
"The Light" by Poul Anderson.
"Wrong Way Street" by Larry Niven.

What else?

Monday, 2 July 2018

A Few Fragments

Some phrases do not become even proto-stories but remain forever fragments:

In 4019, the Mutant led his fleet into the Solar System...

Two feet behind and above us on the spaceship bridge stood the Absolute Dictator of Earth...

The Patrol asked me to survey the Morecambe Bay Area, 2000-2050: a complicated passage back and forth through both time and space. Usually disguised, I would not have recognized my older selves. Once, early in the survey but near the end of the period, I did recognize my undisguised future self and my ex, looking happy together...

The Very First Draft Of A Science Fiction Story

"You And I"

You were unemployed in '25 and the Benefits Office put you on an Employment: Special Projects training scheme in a former agricultural college in Kent: endless psychometric tests, cybertraining, subliminal audiovisual inputs, sleep learning, EEG scans and semi-military discipline. Your class knew that some candidates would be selected for higher level training but did not know for what. Because of the continuing emergency, security was tight.

The psychological side-effects were intense. Complete strangers became close friends very quickly but there were also inexplicable polarizations. The sounds of the discos that you did not attend seemed to echo in your room. The Happy Clappers and Stampers met in the room above yours. You heard, almost felt, their initiation ceremonies and conversion experiences, then something else, a warning, like a still small voice: Leave now before the next scan.

While signing for your weekend pass, you knew exactly what the uniformed perimeter guard thought of you as he looked you up and down: These unemployable dissident intellectuals!

In London, you went underground and contacted what was left of the Organization. They faked your ID and helped you to fly to Kapustin Yar where the Russian ESP program is located, where I, the first Russian telepath, wait.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Time And (Sex In) Space

Time
In an unfinished novel, "The Dark Tower," CS Lewis argues that physical time travel is impossible and then presents mental transference between timelines.

In two stories and one novel, Robert Heinlein presents three classic statements of the circular causality paradox.

In many stories and novels, Poul Anderson addresses every aspect of time travel.

(Sex In) Space
In Heinlein's " - All You Zombies -," the time traveler changes sex and is both his own parents. While female, she joins the:

"'Women's Emergency National Corps, Hospitality & Entertainment Section...'"
-Robert Heinlein, " - All You Zombies - " IN Heinlein, The Unpleasant Profession Of Jonathan Hoag (London, 1980), pp. 126-137 AT p. 128 -

- known in other periods as:

"'Auxiliary Nursing Group, Extraterrestrial LegionS'..."
-ibid. -

and:

"Women's Hospitality Order Refortifying & Encouraging Spacemen..."
-ibid.

Heinlein makes the same points as Lewis in "Ministering Angels":

it is recognized that men sent into space for extended periods will need a release of tension;
"'But most volunteers were old hookers...'" (ibid.)

By the time of Anderson's Young Flandry Trilogy, space travel is no longer difficult or dangerous so that more acceptable young women can be sent to extrasolar Naval bases.