Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I love old school Science Fiction novels

I love out of date Science Fiction, Cari and I have started a collection of vintage science fiction paperbacks, so now you know what to buy us for birthdays and V-days (vegan anniversaries). We want the books with most whacked out silly fifties, sixties and seventies covers you can find. Ace doubles oh yeah we want them!

I want to on this blog from time to review some of these lost gems that are worth reading. Some for fun stories, and science fiction concepts that often beat out the modern stuff. I love the works of Ursula K. Leguin and Phil K. Dick as much as the next geek but their books get the respect they deserve. How about the works of Clifford Simak, Barry Malhzberg or Norman Spinrad?

Anarchists have noticed the work of Leguin certainly her novel the Dispossessed is very anarchist and her more recent Always Coming Home even more so. Spinrad is even more radical also an anarchist he has explored the concept of anarchism in several novels including Child of Fortune and a Void Captain’s Tale. I owe Mister Cody Goodfellow for pointing me to Spinrad’s work

Ok two short old school Sci-Fi reviews starting with Spinrad. At some point in 1966 while Star Trek was just getting under way (just to give some perspective) Norman Spinrad was writing Men in the Jungle.

It’s about a team of interseller gangsters who fancy themselves revolutionaries going from planet to planet starting insurrections. They make money until the natives finally get sick of their shit and off to the next revolution. For 1966 this is some serious badass sci-fi. Ok so the computer prints out revolution indexes and the tech is out of date but hell the heros end up on a planet of cannibals who eat 2/3 of the babies born.

Men in the Jungle is a great read, and still has many important things to say.

Let’s go further back and stay with the anarchist Science Fiction. How about a novel released in 1940 by a man who went on to brainwash celebrities. When I was very young the first long novel I ever read was Battlefield Earth while more respectable than the film L.Ron Hubbard was not the best Science Fiction writer on the planet.

However Final Blackout is a bleak doozy of a short novel that I feel had an anarchist message. Obviously shortly after Poland was invaded but before the Americans joined WW II this novel is quite an amazing feat of speculative fiction. Indeed Hubbard predicted a fair amount of stuff right.

The novel is about a U.S. Lieutenant who becomes a cult leader (hmmm) in the aftermath of atomic devastation across Europe. This leader sees that the problem was in our leaders who created these governments who were bound to fight. The Final Blackout is a rip roaring adventure and makes a clear statement against hierarchy. Hubbard didn’t seem to hold on to those beliefs.
Try to find the Final Blackout used or at your Library because you know where that money is going right?

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