Daniel's Reviews > The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown: A Novel

The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont
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's review
Oct 07, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction, sci-fi
Read from September 26 to October 07, 2011

Malmont's sequel-of-sorts to The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, finds a collection of sci-fi writers brought together to help the Allied war effort during World War II. Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Sprague de Camp are tasked by the US Navy to develop working versions of the kinds of things that they normally only write about.

As with Chinatown..., Malmont populates this story with a never-ending parade of writers, both old and new--including old favorites Walter Gibson, Lester Dent, and L. Ron Hubbard--and that's what I love most about his novels.

The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown is part historical fiction, told against the backdrop of the Philadelphia Experiment, the Manhattan Project, and the old Tesla-Edison rivalry, and part adventure story. But, it's also a clever examination of the evolution of popular literature, namely how the old two-fisted pulp stories of the '20s and '30s gave way to the hard sci-fi stories of the '50s and beyond.


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