Going to Boskone/? John Hertz as Special Guest will lead discussions of three SF Classics; here are his notes so you can read up.
We’ll take up three classics at Boskone 50, one discussion each.
Each of our three is famous, each in a different way. Each may be even more interesting now than when it was first published.
Our working definition is, “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.” If you have a better definition, bring it.
Come to as many as you like. You’ll be welcome to join in.
Philip K. Dick
The Man in the High Castle (1962)
This won Dick’s only Hugo. The Allies lost World War II; Nazi Germany controls the east of North America, Imperial Japan the west, where the story is mostly set. Avram Davidson said “It’s all here, extrapolation, suspense, action, art philosophy,” and if the likes of us dare add to him, endless resonances, for example falsehood.
Nothing like the Moonraker came for two more years; even then the R-7 and Atlas couldn’t burn hydrogen – fluorine. Science fiction all right. Can James Bond take it? What can we learn? Could this be among the rare craftsmanly s-f from authors outside our field? What about the denouement of Gala Brand?
Galactic Patrol (1937)
Here we first meet Boskone and the Lens; prequels and sequels followed. Samuel Johnson said the essence of poetry was invention; Patrol has that; its vitality, and its focus through all the coruscations, are remarkable. Characterization? If you think Worsel is painted too explicitly, look at Kinnison’s leaving footprints all over Blakeslee