By John Hertz: We’ll discuss three classics at Westercon 66, one discussion each. Come to as many as you like. You’ll be welcome to join in.
For our starting definition, “A classic is a work that survives its own time. After the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself.”
One author from England, three from the United States; one woman, three men; one outside our field, three among us. Two stories from almost the same time, one a decade earlier. Each seems to be a love story; but is any of them?
Each may be more interesting today than when first published. Have you read them? Have you re-read them?
Nothing like the Moonraker came for two more years; even then the R-7 and Atlas couldn’t burn hydrogen – fluorine. At Boskone 50 our discussion flamed with inquiry whether this story is s-f. What about the craftsmanship? What about the denouement of Gala Brand?
Henry Kuttner & Catherine Moore
“Vintage Season” (1946)
Haunting, careful, penetrating, it’s often anthologized. It’s been attributed mainly to Moore, but both said that after they married they wrote everything together; for this one they used the name Lawrence O’Donnell; some call it their best. What makes them different from their symphonist Cenbe?
To Live Forever (1956)
Vance preferred to entitle it Clarges, and maybe we should; it seems easier to find now under the infinitive. Compared to The End of Eternity (Asimov, 1955), or The City and the Stars (Clarke, 1956), it may not be forever; maybe they ought to be compared, they resonate. As usual, the language is brilliant, and the book is full of sparks.