Why I reread this book: ... I'm not sure. For some reason I was reminded of it; maybe I saw a reference to it on the web?
This isn't great literature,Why I reread this book: ... I'm not sure. For some reason I was reminded of it; maybe I saw a reference to it on the web?
This isn't great literature, and it seems a bit consciously written (and packaged) to become a bestseller. But I found it compelling reading nonetheless, and I'm absolutely stunned at how many little tidbits I remembered—after all, I only read this once before, and that was thirty-two years ago! Perhaps the golden age of science fiction really is 12 ;-)
On the other hand, there are elements I completely missed before: a couple of romantic threads, and some fairly strong parallels with the real-life events of Apollo 13. Harrison seems to really have done his research: The mission control culture seemed quite accurate (including a flight director who reminded me of Gene Kranz), and there are some nice descriptions of the Space Shuttle—which didn't have its first flight until five years after this book was published.
Speaking of packaging, although the ISBN is the same, the "enormous explosion" front cover art shown on Goodreads is on the back cover of my copy; the painting on my copy's front cover is a striking painting of (I presume) the main spacecraft (though it doesn't exactly match the description in the text—four boosters instead of five). I seem to remember that when I bought the book (I must have been about 13), half the copies had the spacecraft on the front and explosion on the back; the other half had the explosion on the front and the spacecraft on the back. I guess they were trying to appeal to SF fans with the spaceship and bestselling disaster novel fans with the explosion. I picked a copy with the spaceship. ;-)
Yet another delightful Babar book by Jean de Brunhoff. Babar and the elephants only appear in a tiny illustration on the first page; the rest of the bYet another delightful Babar book by Jean de Brunhoff. Babar and the elephants only appear in a tiny illustration on the first page; the rest of the book is taken up by the somewhat fantastical adventures of Zephir, their little monkey friend.
I'm unsure whether I read this one as a child; the story doesn't seem familiar, but a few of the illustrations strike a chord with me....more
I'm pretty sure I had this book as a child and read it numerous times. It may be my favorite of the Babar books by the elder de Brunhoff; it's got a lI'm pretty sure I had this book as a child and read it numerous times. It may be my favorite of the Babar books by the elder de Brunhoff; it's got a lively plot, vivid illustrations, and even manages an anti-war message that isn't overbearing....more
This is another book I've read several times, though I'm not sure we owned it when I was young. I've read it to our five-year-old as well.
I'm droppingThis is another book I've read several times, though I'm not sure we owned it when I was young. I've read it to our five-year-old as well.
I'm dropping one star from my rating because the book is kinda scary; the children face horrible deaths three times because they're allowed to wander unsupervised! Yes, I understand that it's dramatic license, but I still find it appalling....more
I've read this numerous times; I had it as a child, and now I'm reading it to our 5-year-old.
We have a particularly handsome facsimile edition; it's hI've read this numerous times; I had it as a child, and now I'm reading it to our 5-year-old.
We have a particularly handsome facsimile edition; it's huge (14.5 inches high) and reproduces the hand lettering from the first American edition. Also, the back of the dust-wrapper reprints a handwritten introduction (which reads like a fan letter) from A. A. Milne.
In comparing it with a machine-lettered modern edition, there are a few changes in the text e.g., a dropped comma, some dropped paragraph breaks. (Also, the original tends to put line breaks between sentences.) The biggest changes I've noticed so far: "old lady" in the original becomes "Old Lady" in the modern; "Céleste" in the original becomes "Celeste" in the modern (which means that the dialog ballons on pages 28-29 had to be re-lettered); "his Mother" on page 24 becomes "his mother". I wouldn't consider these substantive....more
Disclaimer: This book contains my first paid fiction sale, a four-way collaboration. (Well, it'll be paid when the check arrives; I declined the publiDisclaimer: This book contains my first paid fiction sale, a four-way collaboration. (Well, it'll be paid when the check arrives; I declined the publisher's offer of receiving money through Paypal. Later: I received the check a little earlier than promised, and got the balance by Paypal almost instantaneously afterwards.)
This is the first official, licensed anthology of short fiction set in the Space: 1999 universe. Rather annoyingly, the book doesn't have the name of any of its contributors on the cover; nor does it name the editor anywhere. (Since William Latham acted as the editor for our collaboration, I suspect he edited the book as a whole, but that's just a guess.)
The book assumes some familiarity with the characters and settings of Space: 1999; since I memorized the series in my childhood, I'm not sure how accessible it would be to non-fans.
The book contains a foreword by publisher Mateo Latosa and the following nine stories:
"The Touch of Venus" by John Kenneth Muir "Fallen Star" by Albert Leon, Ken Scott, Lindsey Scott-Ipsen, and Raja Thiagarajan "Cargo" by Brian Ball "Futility" by John Kenneth Muir "Dead End" by E.C. Tubb "Remembering Julia" by Stephen Jansen "Mission Critical" by Michael A. Faries "The Astelian Gift" by Emma Burrows "Spider's Web" by William Latham
It also contains a two-page "About the Authors" section.
Here are my ratings (on the Goodreads scale) of the stories. I'll try to avoid spoilers.
"The Touch of Venus" (3 stars). This details a painful story in the background of one of the main characters.
"Fallen Star" (4 stars--but I can't be objective). This tells the tragic, but heroic, story of the death of a well-beloved character who was only seen once in the series.
"Cargo" (3 stars). Set during breakaway, this is the story of the reconciliation of a guilt-ridden character with someone who has reason to hate him. (I deducted a star because it's inconsistent with—and partly undermines—the events of one of the TV episodes.)
"Futility" (5 stars). This is my favorite piece of short (prose) fiction in the Space: 1999 universe. It delivers the heady mix of SF, horror, and thoughtful philosophy that the series had at its best.
"Dead End" (3 stars). An solid story of humans tested nearly to destruction.
"Remembering Julia" (3 stars). A suspenseful story of a hostage situation shortly after breakaway.
"Mission Critical" (3 stars). A short slice of life in Year Two.
"The Astelian Gift" (4 stars). An excellent, literate, story of one of the main characters before she joined Alpha. There's a strong hint of tragedy for readers familiar with the character's introduction; I'm not sure what non-fans would make of it.
"Spider's Web" (3 stars). A somewhat harrowing story of a well-liked character in extreme circumstances. I found it a bit puzzling at first; I'm assuming it ties in with Space 1999 Survival which—believe it or not—I haven't yet read. ...more