quinta-feira, março 31, 2016

Bleakest SF Author Writes Something not That Bleak: “Not This August” by Cyril M. Kornbluth, Fred Pohl


Published 1981.


‘“Satagraha,” Mr. Sparhawk said absently. “Soul force. It works, you know. Most of the time, that is. Their tendency is to assume that one’s probably all right and that anyway it’s not business of theirs.’

What I wouldn’t have given to read this without Pohl’s hand at re-writing…

I just want to say this. Just because I read and now I’m watching 11.22.63 a note to time travelers: I advise going back back to 1958, renting a car, and giving Kornbluth a lift. He has been shoveling snow out of the way all morning…

Robert E. Howard, Stanley Weinbaum, Charles Beaumont, Henry Kuttner. What do they have in common? They were gone pretty young. I don't know what any of them might have gone on to write, but we know beyond any doubt that, on that friggin commuter train platform in 1958, with Cyril Kornbluth's death, the loss to this sack of rattling hodgepodge I call SF was tremendous, not to mention the loss to every one of us working in seclusion and silence here in 2016 behind all these strange machines.

This is a story for people who are in love with classic pre-code SF. And also for those who may have accidentally tried a cup of herbal tea. There is no linear story arc, there's not a large amount of depth to the characters, but there are many snippets of a beautifully reimagined bygone SF age. Don't be afraid. It's super-readable, but you won’t find much humour in it. If vintage SF is your cup of tea, go for it.

NB: If you want to read the best of Kornbluth without Fred Pohl’s hand in the cookie jar, “His Share of Glory: The Complete Short Science Fiction of C. M. Kornbluth” is a wonderful choice.

SF = Speculative Fiction.

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