Classics of SF at Boskone

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.

Ian Fleming

Moonraker (1955)

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?

E.E. Smith

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

2 thoughts on “Classics of SF at Boskone

  1. Having just finished rereading Moonraker, for the first time in over 40 years, I’m half-convinced that John put it on the list so that we could argue about whether or not it’s sf.

  2. I’ve tried several times to read this E.E. Smith title, and I haven’t made it past page 30. I’m quite sure I found it at the wrong age, trying at age 25 and not knowing about it at age 13.

    The PKD novel is pretty good, but I don’t find it to be his best work. Like many good novels that spark discussions, it has several levels.

    Isd the Ian Fleming book better than CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG?

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