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The Outward Urge

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  396 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The 'outward urge' was a factor in the Troon inheritance. Successive generations of Troons, looking up at the stars, heard the siren voices that called them out into Space. And, as the frontiers of Space receded, there was usually one Troon, if not more, out there, helping to push them back.
The four exciting episodes related here deal with the parts they played in the buil
Mass Market Paperback, 187 pages
Published 1962 by Penguin Books (first published 1959)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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Troy Campbell
3.5 stars.

It's a collection of loosely connected short stories, and the large time jumps, whilst helpful for worldbuilding, don't really make up a continual thread and so don't build tension but rather an anticipation of the next story. In this sense, the novel is quite successful. The characters are reasonably well fleshed out and aren't merely carbon copies of each other.

Wyndham's semi-pessimistic style was a notable contrast to the optimistic works of Asimov and Clarke, carrying with it a gr
This book has five stories set across 200 years, linked by the development and exploration of space, as well as by the Troon family. It is common for Troons to have the ‘outward urge’–that is, to explore space, to go further, to know what else there is out there. And so the Troons are at the forefront of every spaceward progression these stories explore. The first British space station, the first landing on the moon, the first Mars landing, the first Venus landing… I love that Wyndham uses a fam ...more
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I have never made a secret of my love of John Wyndham. He lured me into the world of science fiction, a genre I had previously avoided with unjustified prejudice. I always love his narrative voice and measured tone, his imagination, his characters, and his compelling future-based stories. I particularly loved The Chrysalids and the Midwich Cuckoos, but to be honest I’ve enjoyed all of them. So when I tracked down the out-of-print The Outward Urge, I leapt upon it.

To be honest, after all that exc
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For as long as man has existed, there have been those with an inner need to explore. Almost a genetic predisposition, some men are driven to see what is Out There, whether it's across the sea, or to the stars. This is the story of four generations of one family, the Troon family.

In 1994, George Montgomery "Ticker" Troon is part of the group secretly building the world's first space station. One day, a missile shows up, probably from the Soviets, that could easily destroy the station and kill a l
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would only recommend to die-hard Wyndham fans, and/or die-hard sci-fi fans.

On the positives, Wyndham follows an interesting theme, that being one family lineage has a seemingly natural propensity--or 'urge'-- to venture to the beyond. This makes for an interesting framework, and it seems plausible, if not curious, that these endeavours should be helmed by members of a distinct line. Just as many actual people in the world possess names that were originally given by nature of a person's craft,
Hayley Dunning
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully constructed, both intimate and overreaching.
Rita Carla Monticelli
Scroll down for the English version.

Un interessante presente e futuro alternativo

Nel 1959, quando questo libro venne pubblicato per la prima volta, non eravamo ancora andati sulla Luna (ci saremmo andati ben dieci anni dopo) e la conquista dello spazio era vista come una normale estensione della cosiddetta guerra fredda. Questo scenario tutt’altro che ottimistico fa da sfondo alla storia di una famiglia di astronauti che si dipana per duecento anni.
Il pessimismo di Wyndham, che avevo già visto
Bert Bruins
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The fun thing about reading older sci-fi is that you are reading history about the future, which makes for some odd observations. So in a 1950s Arthur C Clarke story we see astronauts using tube-post (you know, the aged system that department stores and banks used to move messages across buidlings) on board of an interstellar craft. In this collection of stories about "conquering" our solar system, cigarettes are happily lit on space stations and on the moon (by the moon-station's doctor...).

Ian Banks

Not indicative of the wider Wyndham canon but probably the most ambitious in scope of all his books. It's the story of 200 years in the lives of a spacefaring family at the awkward birth of a future history spanning the inner solar system.

While I'm not a fan of stories that feature families that are just so damned amazing that they dominate a society for generations, this is an interesting tale that posits that some members of this family were present at key junctures in history that are conveni

Mike Stone,
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"There Once Was A Family Named Troon, Determined To Go To The Moon"

These five stories were written in the 1950s, and cover the conquest of space through the eyes of a single family, British-Officer-Class in origin, named Troon, which manages to be always at the leading edge of it.

The first story covers the building of the space station, and the intrusion of Cold War politics on a timeline where the Soviet Union didn't fall. The second is on the Moon when the Cold War has turned hot.

The third po
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written before the moon landings but after Sputnik, this book attempts to predict the space race by charting the family tree of the fictional "Troon" family - a space dynasty the follows in the wake of one of the early space heroes.

Imagine if Neil Armstrong's son was the first to travel to mars, and his grandson the first to set foot on Venus, and so on.

Right on the money in some areas, and miles off on others, it beautifully captures the great hopes of space travel at time when so much was un
Andy Deemer
Mar 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Always sad when one of your favorite authors writes something so painfully awful. None of his traditional joie de vivre and cocktail jokery in the face of certain apocalypse. Just another bland "boys adventure among the stars." (Presumably why he published it with a non-existent collaborator's name on the cover? So he could shove off the blame?) ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars really, so I will round up...

Interesting hard sf written before the moon landing. Some of the stuff is pretty prescient, some not so much.

Four stories of the Troon family going to outer space. Is ok. Will never reread, but my keep it with my other Wyndham books since I like the guy.
Ian Hamilton
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
There's grand, cosmic ambition here in Wyndham's attempt at a minor epoch, but the story isn't that interesting overall, despite being well-written - not painful enough to warrant a one-star review, but mediocre. ...more
Ivy McKee
Feb 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Interesting concept but not as enthralling as Wyndham's other books. ...more
Dated but still worth reading.

For readers new to John Wyndham, I would strongly recommend starting with The Day of the Triffids.

Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Probably my least favorite of his books. Makes me glad he didn't do a lot of space sci-fi. ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
A combination of prescience and anachronism. Stubbing out a cigarette on the inside of a spaceship's cabin! Good descriptions of spacewalking a few years before it happened. Enjoyed it. ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is an old favourite of mine. Written in simpler times, it has a directness in its story-telling that I find appealing. Likewise other stories by this author.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
…Я слышал, как звезду звала
Ее далекая сестра
Полночным писком комара.

Что вы испытали, прочитав эти три строки? Не почувствовали ничего? Или вспомнили как сидели в два часа ночи на даче и смотрели в ночное звездное небо, так сильно боясь провалиться в него, улетев на этот самый беззвучный, но такой громкий, такой понятный и такой прекрасный зов космоса? Наверное, такое звук взывал и Колумба, и Магеллана, и всех других путешественников, чьи имена канули в лету. Хочется так думать, а не понимать, чт
Sep 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This work appears to collect four short stories, probably written in the 1930s or 1940s judging by the inferiority of the quality of the writing to John Wyndham's 1950s work. It cadges together the four stories in odd fashion as chapters in an effort to be one novel. It nevertheless feels more like reading four distinct short stories.

The story traces the Troon family from one generation to the next, and in all but the last chapter focuses on how the lead character dies while exploring space. The
Gregg Chamberlain
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
John Wyndham offers up a different view of the early exploration of space from the POV of the Troon family, whose members all seem driven by "an outward urge" to always be on the move. The Troon behaviour pattern results in several members playing key roles in the development and exploration of inter-planetary space. Now, granted, the text may be a bit dated, especially concerning the description of Venus, but the stories themselves stand up well, especially the political-economic imperative bac ...more
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Delightful. Each story sketched out characters, events, and motivations with a scarcity of strokes but an impressive amount of depth. I love reading Wyndham's work, because he reminds me that this is what a gifted writer can do.
The only part that didn't work for me was the last story - I wasn't sure it rounded out the bunch but rather left an end dangling. Maybe that was deliberate, but it keeps the set of stories from a 5 star review.
Erik Graff
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wyndham fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, aka John Wyndam and Lucas Parkes, is normally a safe bet in the genre of science fiction, being author of The Day of the Triffids ('51) and The Midwich Cuckoos ('57) both of which had seen several movie remakes. This dated future history of the Earth and of space travel is an exception. ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: my-books
unlike his earlier novels, this one is "hard" SF. unlike his earlier novels, this one is boring. credited to wyndham and parkes, supposedly at his (both are aliases for the same person) editor's insistence. maybe so that wyndham's fans could blame parkes for the boring bits (i.e. most of the book)? ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am not a science-fiction fan yet I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is a collection of four interconnected stories on space travel and although they might feel dated, the characters and the theme of war feel universal.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stories
Locker verbundene Stories über die Eroberung des Weltalls. Mit vorn dabei ist immer ein anderes Mitglied der Troon - Familie. Die Stories sind nicht übel. Blöd, dass sie mit einer Story auf der Venus abschließen, die halt in Wirklichkeit ganz anders aussieht als in der Story.
Timothy Keable
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Very interesting exploration of Man's expansion into Space. War seems to be the underlying motivation in this book. ...more
Jenny Burridge
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: wyndham
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John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was the son of a barrister. After trying a number of careers, including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, he started writing short stories in 1925. After serving in the civil Service and the Army during the war, he went back to writing. Adopting the name John Wyndham, he started writing a form of science fiction that he called 'logical fantasy'. ...more

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