This book should be, or rather IS, a classic of both political intrigue and science fiction. How is it ignored by so many? The reviews (see the "recepThis book should be, or rather IS, a classic of both political intrigue and science fiction. How is it ignored by so many? The reviews (see the "reception" section of the Wikipedia article of the book) are utter nonsense.
In 1969, Bug Jack Barron, with its depiction of bought and sold political figures, was denounced on the floor of the House of Commons in the U.K. Senators, Congressmen, and Presidents come under a harsh light. In the craziness of politics in 2013, however, where political figures might as well wear corporate logos, it seems like if the sci-fi elements (and the sixties pop culture slang) were taken out of the novel it could be mistaken for non-fiction.
So what Spinrad did was make a prophetic novel that, while it doesn't get any facts right, gets the "feeling" of the future right. In 2013 it seems contemporary. Based on why I see in our own political news every day it seems downright eerily right.
It seems based on the little I know about Spinrad, he has the gift of pissing people off. It's the same gift as Harlan Ellison, but Spinrad was never able to take that gift and weave it into legend like Ellison has. He had the nerve to look politicians in the eye in 1969 and say "you people are all paid off," which in the pre-Nixon world just wasn't done and made him a ton of enemies in politics and in the press. He talked truth to power, and may this book stay back in print forever. ...more
Adolf Hitler is one of the most written about people of the 20th century. Despite the fact that history has lookedWow.. what a piece of work this is.
Adolf Hitler is one of the most written about people of the 20th century. Despite the fact that history has looked at him from about every angle, Spinrad finds a way to examine Hitler in an entirely different new way. He writes the book the Hitler would have written if Third Reich never existed. Every page of the story is about the madness of Hitler. It's purposefully a story that is more about the author than its plot. Though the story is science fantasy, somehow it echoes the history of (our) Hitler's rise and the history of World War II as well. Hitler, *our* Hitler as well as the fictional science fiction writer, believes himself to be Jagger, the indestructible hero of this pulp science fiction story. The story is a vivid illustration of the psychopathic madness Hitler and Nazi Germany suffered from.
Finally, the analysis at the end brings down a shocking and sad point: if there was no Hitler in history then Hitler would have to be created. Somehow out of the horror of Hitler's Germany the Stalinist ideology was also held back. Eventually (long after the time period this novel represents) it would even mean the end Russian-style Communism. In the "analysis" of this book it seems like the world is ripe for a figure like Hitler to emerge. Though a leader like Jagger seems solidly unlikely to "Homer Whipple," the writer of the afterword, maybe in the world of this novel the rise of a Hitler-figure is just delayed.
This book is an amazing exercise in alternative history and I think it's a must for any serious reader of any "speculative fiction" genre. ...more
Actually 3 1/2 stars. I think this is a fairly good story.
I did want to say I think that calling this "Star Wars Fanfic" is incorrect. If I remember bActually 3 1/2 stars. I think this is a fairly good story.
I did want to say I think that calling this "Star Wars Fanfic" is incorrect. If I remember by history of Star Trek TOS correctly, there is a story centering around the "Prime Directive" that is a lot like this. A less-advanced society finds a copy of "Mein Kampf" that accidentally gets left behind and starts to follow its example. This is a similar story with a more positive book as a role model....more
This novel is a lot more polished and than his first Avon novel, "A Terrible Aspect" of so many years ago. I amAvon starts a new set of adventures...
This novel is a lot more polished and than his first Avon novel, "A Terrible Aspect" of so many years ago. I am looking forward to more Avon adventures. He does seem to have a love and an understanding of his old character....more
Not really sci-fi. Wyndam takes what could have been an interesting moral question and instead creates a book about pedestrian intrigues that mostly pNot really sci-fi. Wyndam takes what could have been an interesting moral question and instead creates a book about pedestrian intrigues that mostly plays out in sitting rooms and phone calls. Even worse this booshwa intellectualism is boring. Wyndham is too stuck in his 50s mindset to produce a book that stands the test of time. He wants to think he's a crusader for the intelligence of women while filling his books with casual 1950s sexism causing dramatic situations that are unintentionally funny to a modern reader.
Why do so many people (especially in the U.K.) see Wyndham's books as classic sci-fi? I think it's because his good books like Day of The Triffids and The Chrystalids pull his mind out of his own time and to an environment that is totally different. Wyndham books that happen in contemporary time are not very good. His books (especially Triffids) suffer from the same problems but in fewer amounts as they don't get in the quagmire of his acceptance of 50s conformist culture. Moreover the great adaptations of Wyndham stories (especially the classic Day of the Triffids TV series) throw out these problems and make his stories stronger; even Triffids would be laughable if the pedestrian ethics discussions and hysterical female characters were included in the adaptations of his stories.
Does Wyndham deserve his place? Yes probably for Triffids alone, but his other books (save "Crystalids") just seem a bit overrated to me....more
Tom Baker reading the novelization of one of his most classic serials. You can't beat it.
An interesting note, "Morbius" continues to controversial inTom Baker reading the novelization of one of his most classic serials. You can't beat it.
An interesting note, "Morbius" continues to controversial in fan circles because of the original "brain bender" sequence at the end. In the serial it shows faces of the Doctor that allegedly came BEFORE the first Doctor. However Terrance Dicks doesn't portray any other alleged Doctor faces in this novelization of his own script, sidestepping the famous controversy. Just an interesting side observation as some fans still argue that there are other Doctors before Hartnell based on that episode. Maybe Terrance Dicks didn't intend for the sequence to happen as it did....more
This book feels like it was intended to be the first part of a two part autobiography, and it is a pity that Jon never got the the second half.
Even thThis book feels like it was intended to be the first part of a two part autobiography, and it is a pity that Jon never got the the second half.
Even though he never gets to his later days of Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge, this is still a great read. About two thirds of the book ends up being a memoir of his days in the Royal Navy. If you like the multi-volumes of reminiscence that Spike Milligan wrote, you're likely to enjoy this book as well. It's obvious that the World War II years were formative for Pertwee (just like most people from his generation) and so, without realizing, he covers those years completely.
Not a Doctor Who book, but for those of us in the states that know him only from his Doctor Who work it's a great way to know someone who because a U.K. national treasure. ...more