Classics of SF at Westercon LXV

Westercon LXV, July 5-8 in Seattle, accepted John Hertz’ suggestion to program discussions of selected classics of science fiction. Read up and join in! The list of books appears on the Westercon website. But let me save you a click –

Edwin A. Abbott
Flatland (1884)

This little book is well loved even outside our field.  Because it teaches geometry?  Relativity?  Because it uses up the last pure original idea?  Because it’s so old the satire no longer stings and people feel safe – no, what about the women? Because it’s well made?  Aha!

Robert A. Heinlein
Double Star (1956)

Here was Heinlein’s first Hugo.  The Kelly Freas illustrations for Astounding were on display at Noreascon IV; the February 1956 cover is particularly wonderful.  James Blish admired Lorenzo’s growth under pressure.  Is a statesman just a quotation box, or is Lorenzo so unreliable a narrator that in fact by becoming Bonforte he turns modest?

Walter M. Miller, Jr.
A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)

We’re not long on stories that well paint any mainstream religion.  This one shines and soars – I warned you about these puns – with the Catholic Church at center stage, the light relentless, but not ruthless, on Catholics and everyone else. Nor is that more vital to the tale than its characterization, selection, and timing – alas, another.

Thanks for sharing your notes, John.