Classics at Lunacon 2010

The Lunacon 2010 program features several discussions organized by John Hertz, each devoted to one of the “Classics of Science Fiction”. Three of John’s selections are:

Isaac Asimov
I, Robot (1950)
Framed in Dr. Suan Calvin’s reminiscences is this set of stories first published over the years 1940-1950. The author originally wanted to call the book Mind and Iron; what would that have told us? How are the stories as character studies? Narrative? What’s missing from the final episode?

R.A. Lafferty
Past Master (1968)
Thomas More is brought five centuries across time and space, maybe to help — as defined by whom? Lafferty was one of our original authors. This, his first novel, is poetic, satirical, and strange. You can guess which of those I think most lasting; what do you think? A book note by me is at

E.E. Smith
Skylark Three (1948)
Here is the second and my favorite of the Skylark Series, which begins with The Skylark of Space (1946). Space and Three were each published in earlier forms. Discovery and invention fuel the story, which is driven by people, some of whom are aliens. Excitement, adventure, you bet, and it’s remarkable how much is timeless.

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3 thoughts on “Classics at Lunacon 2010

  1. Not sure why you (as in John) wouldn’t use the original serialization dates for the Skylark books. It seems to me significant that Skylark Three was originally published in 1930 (and Skylark of Space in 1928) even if they were revised for book publication. On the other hand, I’m guessing John has his reasons.

  2. I haven’t asked John, but I assumed that his intent was to point everyone to the text with Smith’s revisions for the Fantasy Press hardcover edition. (Am I right that is the text picked up in later paperbacks?) But if somebody has only read the story in the original pulp serialization I’m confident they won’t miss a beat.

  3. I was thinking more that using the original serialization date is a signal of what type of SF to expect. Smith seems old-fashioned to a lot of modern readers– even more old-fashioned than, say, Asimov — and for good reason. But this is neepery on my part. Neep, neep.

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