Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Cosmic Engineers

This one was a no-no right from the start. Two reporters on a space ship, one of them turning a dial to tune in the radio, gave me difficulties with suspension of disbelief right at the start. People from the 50s supposedly in a future three thousand years away from us. Other things in the science and the narrative were appalling. A guy getting into a pressurized spaceship through the front screen was risible. Then there was a woman, after a 1,000 years in hibernation during which she was conscious, waking up and behaving as if she's been a bit stir crazy for a few days and, incidentally, speaking the same language as the reporter who freed her. Nah. This makes me realize how much SF I swallowed with a naive hunger when I was younger.

This is not really a review since I didn't get more than a chapter or two into the book.


shamus said...

Don't recall whether I've read this one, but I've certainly read other Simak and enjoyed them (albeit many years ago now like yourself). However, it appears that your criticisms are based on the envisaged mechanics of the future. Or perhaps the lack thereof, given the portrayal in terms familiar in the 50s.

I wonder whether this makes a lot of SF from that era that was enjoyable for 10-30 years later seem somewhat facile 60-70 years later where the technological advancements are second nature to us now. Where the appalling science detracts too much from any story.

Unknown said...

I also used to simply read everything, thirty years ago. I am sorry to hear you didn't like the Eric Frank Russel book, though I can't remember that one specifically, I totally loved his writing when I discovered it. I'm sure I read everything I ever found of his.
Did you read "Wasp" by him?.
I still read all your posts. Enjoyed The Soldier very much.

Neal Asher said...

Shamus, exactly right. There's a point where suspension of disbelief becomes untenable.

Uncletigger, yes, I read Wasp and enjoyed it immensely (many years ago) which was why I had high hopes for the one mentioned here.