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Avanti April 9, 2011

Posted by Jeff in Uncategorized.
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I originally wanted to go through the books in chronological order starting with the first winner, 1953’s The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester, but I’m still in the process of gathering together all the novels.

Perhaps the name of Bester sounds familiar. Walter Koenig’s character in Babylon 5 was specifically named after Bester, in homage. The book is out of print, so it’ll take a little while to obtain it. Meanwhile, I’ll continue with other stuff.

It’s my belief that a lot of science fiction, with a little rearrangement of names, dates, and places, could transcribe into most any other genre, Westerns in particular. An excellent example of this is the show Firefly. Don’t get me wrong, I like the show; the characters are excellent. Or take a look at many of the original Star Trek episodes; Gene Roddenberry himself described the series as “a kind of Wagon Train to the stars.”

The stories to which this does not apply tend to stand out among the rest. Years ago I read a short story that I still remember fondly, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin. It concerned a stowaway on a small interplanetary scout vessel with carefully calculated fuel loads and mass factors. The ship was on a medical rescue mission, delivering medicines to a world suffering from an epidemic. Consider the (semi-) famous saying, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” and you can draw a logical conclusion to the story’s ending.

This story is memorable because it is one of the few that COULD NOT EXIST without the science in science fiction. Later, I was gratified to learn that my accolades for The Cold Equations were shared by many others in the science fiction community. If you can find a copy of it, read it. But be warned, it’s not a happy story.



1. Michael - April 15, 2011

My first thought was of Doctor Smith of Lost in Space. As you may recall, it was his added weight that caused the Jupiter 2 to go off course and begin their adventures.

Nice blog by the way.

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