Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie
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Oct 01, 12

bookshelves: favorites, science-fiction

Dated but wonderful book. I have the book with When Worlds Collide and After Worlds Collide both in it though it's simply called When Worlds Collide. As noted this book is very dated, was written long ago and has some pretty un-PC parts, but it's a good story and shouldn't be missed.

You will definitely spot the time lag here when you start to deal with science in the book but it doesn't take away from the experience. As a matter of fact you might find it interesting. The world of science fiction before miniaturization, portable computers, lasers, etc. Magnetic tape is in it's heyday here and we predate videotape. The book gives great portrayals of humans and human nature which hasn't changed all that much over the years...or decades...or centuries...or
millennia...

They even have to use actual paper books, wow. I always wonder what happens to the first interplanetary voyage if when they/we get there we can't access the electronic library. For that matter what happens HERE if there's an EMP and all the books preserving human knowledge are saved digitally.

Oh well, off topic.

This is a well plotted, well written book. One of my favorites from way, way back. Enjoy.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by LazerWraith (new)

LazerWraith I love ebooks, but an EMP scenario scares me more than an actual nuclear strike on cities. According to some sources, at least, it wouldn't do much more than turn off most computers (though what it does to the electric grid is another story).


Mike (the Paladin) There's one scenario where a single strike on a few central power nodes will wipe the power in the entire country in a cascade effect. But if there were wide spread high EMP saturation it could destroy circuitry in every device as well as wiping saved information.

Of course those would probably be precursors to an attack. The alternative could be sunspot or sun-flare activity as far as I know.

Whatever it would be, unpleasant. :)


Melissa (ladybug) I think I have seen a movie called When Worlds Collide :D


Mike (the Paladin) There was an old one from the '50s. It covers what would be the first half of this book or the first novel as they were written. There's when worlds collide covering a pair of "wandering planets" hurtling toward Earth and a plan to save at least some of humanity (that's what's in the movie). Then there's After Worlds Collide which covers, well what happens next.


message 5: by Jim (last edited Oct 04, 2012 09:41PM) (new)

Jim Mcclanahan Actually, the first of the two novels does a much better job of describing the reactions of those who realize they aren't going to be included as passengers on the arks than the movie did. A more cynical, but realistic view.

I loved the part where they were going to use books as insulation inside the hull of the spacecraft to protect the passengers from the cold of space.

The second book was an altogether different piece, with different challenges and dilemmas. But also good in a dated sort of way. Not bad for 1933 and 1934. I enjoyed them both.


Mike (the Paladin) I got them from Audible a while back but haven't taken time to listen yet. I read these first in the '60s. You're right, but that the book does things better than the movie is no surprise. They also have a different type ending for the movie.

Have you read Heinlein's Starman Jones? It's another that has a good but dated hook.


message 7: by Kernos (new)

Kernos I found this book amazingly up to date. The basic science is accurate and the propulsion system used for the ark has beed proposed for generations. Stephen Baxter's recent Flood and Arc is a reboot of the When World's Collide, though the disaster is different. He uses the same propulsion system to get his ark to get to the new planet. Newtonian physics has not changed much.

Feminists may object to their place in the story, but IMO one must read such pre-Golden age SFs in the context of their time. It was PC for the '30s. Baxter of course plays it very PC making the main movers women, almost to the exclusion of males.

I enjoyed both duologies an the movie too a lot.


message 8: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL I like classic SF, Mike. Read this years ago; remember I thought it was pretty good.

Regarding the EMP, all government records and so on would be affected. However, imho there will always be a few people who kept--are keeping now--their paper books.


Mike (the Paladin) I like to hope so, but who knows in 50 years??? It may be like phonograph records are now. It's a niche market and there are some around but mostly collectors.

Of course the E-book thing could also kill the ability of writers to make a living by writing. I know people who think nothing of pirating books if they're on line. The implications are so wide I doubt most of us really think about it.

I guess the world changes, hope we can hold on to what's good.


message 10: by Kernos (new)

Kernos The ability of the purveyors of e-books to wipe your devices of said books may cause some to avoid this model for some time. Corporate trust is becoming a problem as is licensing vs owning.


message 11: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Oct 29, 2012 09:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike (the Paladin) I know I belong to Audible and I make it a point to respect copyright laws. If someone hears one of the books I bought they're listening on my device and at home. The only other person is my daughter and that's because I play them on my computer and she's in the next room. If she doesn't like the book she closes the door.

I remember when the music thing was so big (and my kids were young). For a while they wondered why I wouldn't let them get music they hadn't paid for. I hope they got the point in the end.


Mike (the Paladin) Think I'm going to reread this one.


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