The Evolution of Science Fiction discussion

General Science Fiction > Help! Short Story, the first line was, “In the beginning was the W.O.R.D.”

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
A friend is asking help to find a short story he read, probably 35 years ago in some long-forgotten annual short story compilation book.

It was a short story about the creation of the universe. The first line was, “In the beginning was the W.O.R.D.” where W.O.R.D. was an acronym for the project plan. The general contractor/project manager had a title with the acronym G.O.D. And the story is a bit of a farce, where the bureaucracy keeps shooting down parts of the project plan. For example, the FAA won’t approve the birds unless they’re fitted with running lights and landing radar. But the bird design team says all that extra weight will keep the birds from being able to take off. So birds get scrapped from the plan, but that creates problems with the insects and rodents, and so on. It has a pretty clever ending.

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Well, I know I want to read it. Again? It does seem vaguely familiar.

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
It seems familiar to me, too. I was thinking Asimov for some reason. Maybe Heinlein. I tried googling it, but got no where. I want to read it, too.

message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I finally got around to asking in the "What's the Name of that Book?" group & they answered in a couple of hours! It's "Making Light" by James P. Hogan. There's an excerpt here:

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Oh excellent. I'll be wanting to read that.

message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Isfdb says it's in:

Minds, Machines & Evolution

The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF

Note the matching keyword...."

The last looked good so I bought it through Abebooks the other day. I thought hard about getting Hogan's book, though. Maybe later.

message 8: by Dan (last edited Jan 09, 2019 08:37PM) (new)

Dan Hogan is a quintessential hard science fiction writer. Man could he crank it out! 28 novels if I count right.

message 9: by Dan (last edited Jan 10, 2019 08:07PM) (new)

Dan It seems odd to me that James P. Hogan's name has never once come up in our group previously. I've heard of him--he's always in any list of hard science fiction writers. Still, although well known--his books are widely available in any used bookstore--he's not a top 100 science fiction author. I'm surprised none of his works were ever nominated for (much less a winner of) any science fiction award. I was curious enough to pick up my first Hogan book today: Thrice Upon a Time. Who knows when I'll be able to find the time to read it?

message 10: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 450 comments Hogan was one of the first science fiction author I read, back in the 80s. He wrote a trilogy-Inherit the Stars, The Gentle Giants of Ganymede (one of my favourite science fiction books) and Giants' Star. I liked his style and story telling abilities.

message 11: by Dan (last edited Jan 11, 2019 08:58AM) (new)

Dan I looked for Inherit the Stars since I generally like to start at the beginning. That one had some pretty mixed reviews. Many readers said barely anything happens in the entire novel. Anyway the used bookstore I was in had only eight or nine of his books and that wasn't among them.

Thrice Upon a Time involves time travel, stories about which I really enjoy, and Hogan's take on it is different. He subscribes to the "reset theory of world lines", whatever that means. I hope it's an interesting or clever way to evade the time paradox that plagues me whenever I try to plot a time travel story. I may "borrow" the concept if so.

By the way, please allow me to retract that "no award" comment. I'm so embarrassed. He has had 24 nominations/awards apparently:

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