Science Fiction Though the Decades

Monday, January 30, 2012

1972: Entry to Elsehwhen (Brunner, John)

Warning: Contains the worst novelette EVER (3/5)

As a big fan of Brunner's, it would be convenient for me to say that picking up a random Brunner novel should always be an exciting adventure... which would be true 66% of the time, but no sir, never 100% of the time. The same is true for this novelette/novella collection: 66% of it is quite good while the other 33% falls flat... and by flat I mean like paper-thin flat, elephant dung paper that's been compressed by a steam roller then sent to the surface of a neutron star. If you're NOT a hard core Brunner fan then I highly suggest you simply rip out the last 82 pages and leave yourself with a two novelette book worth reading.

Host Age - 4/5 - The rapidly mutating Plague is devastating England, where one victim in ten dies from complications which no two individuals exhibit the same symptoms. When leading research from the Plague's cure becomes destroyed and the investigation can find no sign of entry from the perpetrators, suspicion arise which implicate the recovering astronaut and the current theoretical research into matter transmission. 45 pages --- Only lacking spaceships, Host Age is a Golden Age-style story which combines all other science fiction cliques into one story. The result, contrary to prevalent cliques, proves to be one of excitement, intrigue, and mystery. It's not exactly character-based, but the plot's momentum is quite enough to convey Brunner's craftiness.

Lung Fish - 4/5 - On the way to Tau Ceti II aboard a generation ship, two generations of crew are is silent conflict: the logical Earthborn are taken aback by the unemotional Tripborn. With two weeks left before the arrival, the caretaker-minded Earthborn begin a secret plan to influence the Tripborn to become claustrophobic and eager to colonize the planet. 47 pages --- An excellent plot compounds an interesting juxtaposition of crew sects, but the conclusion feel pressed into an unnatural form.

No Other Gods But Me - 0.01/5 - Coincidental encounters between Colin and Vanessa become increasingly bizarre when they are transported to a strange abode as they huddle for safety from the heavy English rain. Along with a cloaked man stalking them and seeing shadows in their periphery, something clearly isn't natural. During a congregation of a fad religion in the heart of New York, the two are transported again to a parallel world with a psychic overlord, abysmal living conditions, and more telekinetic ability than Colin and Vanessa's earth could ever have... and there's a legless human boy who can fly. 82 pages --- The ONE hope I held onto was that the possibility remained that Colin, the lethargic body-double for a doorstop of a so-called protagonist, would commit suicide for the benefit of fictional mankind and for the well-being of science fiction readers across the globe. Possibly, the worst novella ever produced.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you even finished the last piece of crap.... I still think that Lungfish is a revolutionary take on generation ships despite the rather rushed ending. I wish it was novel length....