Hertz: Classics of Science Fiction at LSC3

By John Hertz: We’ll discuss three classics at LoneStarCon 3, one discussion each.  Come to as many as you like.  You’ll be welcome to join in.

One author from Switzerland, three from the United States; one woman, three men; one outsider, three among us.  Each of our stories may be more interesting today than when first published.  Have you read them?  Have you re-read them?

Herman Hesse
The Glass Bead Game (1943; sometimes called Magister Ludi)

The first and for fifty years the only Nobel Prize s-f novel, recently (July 2013) among “100 Greatest Novels Ever” in Entertainment Weekly, here is the author’s last and crowning work, one of the rare s-f masterpieces from outside our field, a satire, a story, a character study, poetic even in translation, we hope not prophetic, searchingly profound.

Henry Kuttner & Catherine Moore
“Vintage Season” (1946)

Haunting, careful, penetrating, often anthologized, it’s been attributed mainly to Moore, but both said that after they married they wrote everything together; for this one they used the name Lawrence O’Donnell.  Men, women, mavericks, martinets, all come under the lens, all right, all wrong, all tragic.

Jack Vance
The Dying Earth (1950)

Translated into Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Polish, Spanish, Russian, the author’s first novel — maybe; Mike Resnick said “If Kirinyaga is a novel, The Dying Earth is a novel” — may be his best known work.  Robert Silverberg said “Its prose is measured, taut, controlled, mesmeric.”  It may be science fiction.