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Something Wonderful: SpaceX Falcon 9 Leaving Earth’s Atmosphere for Orbit
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Something Wonderful: SpaceX Falcon 9 Leaving Earth’s Atmosphere for Orbit

When I was a book editor for Houghton Mifflin in Boston, I’d get to attend Science Fiction Cons as the Director of Paperback Publishing. My entre to the convention were the titles Houghton published: the Lord of the Rings books. After a day of convention work, the editors from various science fiction houses would repair to the party suite for a beverage of choice… many beverages of choice.

[What was that like? Well, you’ve haven’t really lived until you’ve seen a 280lb Princess Leia in flowing white chiffon dress with a beard. ]

A constant complaint among the editors was that science fiction and fantasy in the 1980s just wasn’t much good. [Little did they know of the utter train wreck and degradation of science fiction that has taken over the genre today.]

One house however was still publishing those ripping space opera yarns of rockets and aliens and aliens carrying off white women at every opportunity. That was DAW books. One evening one or more of the drunken SF editors stood up and belted out:

Give us DAW books!
They’re not so bad.
We want the future
That we’ve always had!

SpaceX is giving us our future back.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mike Daly August 22, 2020, 7:37 PM

    and if you watch the image carefully, you can see the first stage return to land in the lower right as God and Robert Goddard intended. These truly are amazing times if you look in the right direction.

  • Gordon Scott August 22, 2020, 7:48 PM

    Gerard, you ain’t kidding about what happened in the 1980s to SF. Or, in the 2000s when the gals who couldn’t get published in trad romance moved in on SF. Of course, nowadays all the characters have to be disabled black lesbians.

    Today I started listening to Heinlien’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” I’ve read it at least three times, but I thought it would be interesting to listen to a good voice artist doing it. I am enjoying it.

    If you want some traditional SF, I can suggest Peter Grant’s Maxwell Saga, which starts with “Take the Star Road.” It’s not high art, but it’s readable and entertaining. The first book is just 99 cents on Amazon and the other four are only $2.99.

    And if you like Louis L’amour, try Grant’s Walt Ames series. The first book in that group is “Brings the Lightning.”

    All of the above books are free if you have Amazon Unlimited. Peter is former of the army of South Africa, and a very interesting guy.

  • Annie Rose August 23, 2020, 5:55 AM

    For a good sci-fi read, check out James S.A. Corey’s series that begins with “Leviathan Wakes”. Great character development and plot that eerily evokes shades of what we are dealing with today: people on a space outpost intentionally infected with a virus that turns out to be an alien proto-molecule that changes human DNA. Why? For financial gain, military dominance, and political power. By who? Is it the UN, the Martian colonists, or the rebel “belters”- or a group of scientists and businessmen who feel they are the new elite? Space has been colonized to save humanity. There have been lots of promises made a generation before about how colonizers would be supported and new worlds created, but they are turning out to be lies as it becomes clear that there are haves and have nots, elites and slaves. Civil war is brewing and just waiting for a spark to ignite. The series was just released on tv as The Expanse, which was also lots of fun.

  • LRFD August 23, 2020, 7:13 AM

    The 1980s did give us Gene Wolfe, and his magnum opus: “The Book of the New Sun” along with 2/3rds of the Latro series. He’s not as well known as he should be, mainly because it would just about impossible to film his works straight without destroying them. He also didn’t improve his standing in modern high literary circles by being a devout Catholic. After the reaction, this will be a badge of honor.

  • Boat Guy August 23, 2020, 7:19 AM

    I’ll add enthusiastic agreement ref Peter Grant while admitting to reading only the Ames books. I grew up on Bradbury, LeGuin and Heinlein but abandoned the genre after that. Reading about the hostile takeover has been sickening. It does appear that there are some other folks Grant links to who are putting out decent stuff as well.

  • ghostsniper August 23, 2020, 8:13 AM

    Just now saw James Comey interviewed on “Face the Nation”.
    Would it be wrong of me to hope someone kills that rotten son of a bitch?

  • ghostsniper August 23, 2020, 8:18 AM

    Oh yeah, back in the 70’s I did the Martian Chronicles.
    They wailed.
    I read like a hoon that whole decade, not sure it did any good but maybe kept me out of some trouble.
    In the 90’s to now much of my reading morfed from trees to pixels, about 20% fiction and 80% non-fiction.

  • Joe August 23, 2020, 8:38 AM

    Space X Falcon. Awh, nothing like the smell of good ole capitalism to my retirement portfolio.

  • Harry August 23, 2020, 9:20 AM

    The 1980s is when I pretty much moved away from science fiction. I thought it was me, not them. I still find time to reread some of Phillip K. Dick’s novels, and the occasional Heinlein and Bradbury. I keep meaning to reread LeGuin and Bester.

  • Daniel K Day August 23, 2020, 10:46 AM

    LRFD, Thanks for the recommendation of the book, but that’s not the main reason I’m replying.
    You put an appropriate name for what is coming in your final sentence, though you didn’t capitalize it: the Reaction. I’m going to use that.

  • Vanderleun August 23, 2020, 11:02 AM

    Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination aka Tiger Tiger is the greatest science fiction novel ever written.

    Change my mind.

  • talgus August 23, 2020, 11:09 AM

    still waiting on Niven’s ringworld video adaption. has been under contract, going nowhere for decades.

  • James ONeil August 23, 2020, 11:21 AM

    I disagree. Hey, that worked for me when I was in high school back in the fifites, reading a sci-fi pulp placed within my open text book and Ft Ward would ask me a question. “I disagree. “, I’d say, he’s reply with something like; “& with what within my query do you disagree, Mr. O’Neil?”, giving me enough time to get my head out of Heinlein, into Melville. replay the lecture and discussion that went on while I was reading and provide a reasonably coherent response to my instructors query.

    I quite disagree with the concept implied that the sci-fi genre is dead or on life support. Of course Space X’s twilight burst is fine and grand but good and sometimes great science fiction, including space operas,. are still being written.

    Of course, in these, the crazy years, a tremendous amount of woke, virtue signaling, politically correct right thinking trash is published but ripping good tales are available as well.

    Having said that I admit I do check the sky occasionally & count moons to assure I’ve not slipped into a 1Q84 universe.

  • Harry August 23, 2020, 11:30 AM

    That may have been the push I needed. I really did enjoy both The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man when I first read them years ago. They are both still on my bookshelf. I will read The Stars My Destination before the year is out.

  • Francis W. Porretto August 23, 2020, 12:02 PM

    The Indie Uprising has produced a lot of crap, but it’s also produced some fine, imaginative stuff. I have in mind at the moment Nathan Lowell’s “Golden Age of the Solar Clipper” novels, the first umpteen of Malorie Cooper’s Aeon 14″ novels (has anyone ever finished that series?), John Conroe’s “Zone War” trilogy, and a particularly imaginative tale of the far future from E. William Brown: “Perilous Waif.” They’re not “the future we’ve always had,” though; they’re better.

  • gwbnyc August 23, 2020, 6:45 PM

    Found “Warrior of Llarn” when I was a kid- had great cover art of a zebra-striped horned steed. Dug around SF short stories a bit later, and Conan, etc. Still dig for shorts of any ilk. Favorite is “The Repairer of Reputations” from “The King in Yellow”- a post-apocalypse NYC c.1890. A friend’s father was a noted pulp illustrator, Norman Saunders. Family members were employed as models and recognizable in the finished works.

  • gwbnyc August 23, 2020, 6:50 PM


    read of Jack Parsons; the wiki entry is a solid start to further exploration, a couple biographies out there, plus.

    and what a cast of characters…

  • BlogDog August 24, 2020, 11:19 AM

    Why has no one done a mini-series of the Lensman series? It seems tailor made for the (now) SyFy channel. If said channel hadn’t become a cesspool of woke.