|Mine at last!|
Well, hello again and fancy seeing you here, assuming anybody is left to read Howling Frog. It's been a little while, I guess. But I've been reading some great stuff in the meantime. I hope to be back for reals now. I didn't even finish my January event properly!
Well, I've always loved the poster for the Vintage Sci-Fi event so I was all excited to get a chance to read the actual book, Crashing Suns, which is a collection of five short stories. It's a 1965 paperback, but the stories are much older; they were published in the magazine Weird Tales from 1926 - 1931, as far as I can tell from the inner blurb, which isn't really all that informative. Hamilton had written a serial novel featuring the Interstellar Patrol, Outside the Universe, and it was popular enough that he wrote these stories to follow up.
Here is the funny part: all five of these stories have exactly the same plot. Maybe people didn't notice, or didn't care, at the time? But reading one after the other is a fairly surreal experience, as the details vary, but the plot is the same every time.
"Crashing Suns" features a rogue sun speeding towards our own Sol. If the Interstellar Patrol doesn't figure out a way to stop it, it will crash right into our own sun, killing everybody! When they get there, they realize that the star is dragging a single planet along, and the inhabitants are steering towards our sun on purpose to revitalize their dying one. How to avert the awful fate?
And this happens every time:
- A dangerous space phenomenon threatens our solar system or, later, entire galaxy.
- Explorers realize that malevolent aliens are steering the phenomenon and have every intention of destroying everybody else, rather like Krikkit's reaction to the rest of the universe's existence ("It'll have to go.").
- The good guys get captured and all hope seems lost.
- Good guys manage to avert disaster at the last second, killing all the malevolent aliens in the process.
|Federated Suns or Galactic Senate? You decide.|
And his writing is something else! Everything is very flowery and thrilling. Spaceships do not travel or fly, they flash. Stars blaze with a sullen crimson fire. Here's a sample of some dialogue and it's utterly average for the tone of the story:
"As you know, all nebulae contract with the passage of time, their fiery gases condensing to form great blazing stars, the eon-old cycle of stellar evolution, from fiery nebula to flaming sun. In this cycle the great nebula followed..."I had fun reading this collection, but it was also kind of hard going because it was so repetitive. I kept wondering if I would hit a story that was not about evil aliens planning to kill everybody else so they could keep their star/comet/whatever going. Nope.