Classic SF on Loscon Program

John Hertz, the Loscon 38 Fan Guest of Honor, invites you to join his discussions of selected classics of science fiction.

As John defines it, “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.”

Now’s the time to pull out the copies in your collection or check whether they’re available online, read them and come prepared.

Here are John’s previews of the three works being discussed at Loscon 38:

Ray Bradbury
The Martian Chronicles (1950)

Bradbury has said this is fantasy, not science fiction.  His poetry, his satire, his reproach — above all his poetry, without which stinging bees would starve — are in full bloom.  Of course he satirizes the Martians too, who in all their beauty have folly.

James Blish
Jack of Eagles (1952)

In Blish’s novel of paranormal powers, they prove to be within science; an organization treating them as mystical proves to be powerful, tyrannical, and unsound — as an ordinary man must discover for himself.  Never mind what pq – qp equals.

Pat Frank
Alas, Babylon (1959)

It may seem to focus less on technology than, say, Roshwald’s Level 7 (1959), or even Burdick & Wheeler’s Fail-Safe (1962).  Take a closer look.  The author’s sense of character and event develops much from simple themes.

Loscon 38 takes place November 25-27 at the LAX Marriott in Los Angeles.

[Thanks to John Hertz for the story.]