Monday, 25 February 2013

The Must Reads

When I was a teenager in the 1960's, I wanted to read everything by Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Robert Heinlein and Clifford Simak. (Heinlein had not yet completely degenerated.) I caught up with Simak, read his, at that time, most recent publication and then forgot about him although he continued churning out novels, probably as many again after that. I thought that he had become repetitive and self-parodying. James Blish, whom I continued to revere, disliked Simak's three instances of talking dogs.

Poul Anderson was not then among my Must Reads. I read some of his works but not others. Now, of the writers mentioned so far, only Blish and Anderson are Must Reads and Anderson, because of his volume and range, is the only one about whom I can blog indefinitely.

After the 1960's, he wrote a lot more and my respect for what he had written increased. Once, when I browsed a novel of his, the blurb described an interstellar spaceship crew returning to Earth to discover that a Social Welfare Party had gained office in their absence. To me at the time, this did not sound sufficiently new so I returned it to the bookshop shelf. Let me end with a question: can any reader of this blog identify that novel from the description given here? Or maybe I am mistaken and it was not an Anderson novel? 

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