Now reading Triplanetary, the 'first' Lensman book by E.E. 'Doc' Smith, a food technician turneed SF writer!
This book originally appeared as a serieal in early magazing amazing stories in 1934 and was put into novel form later. There are two forms of this book it seems. The most common version has extra material dealing with Earth history. Thankfully the edition I'm reading, a 2007 copy from Wildside Books, has this extra material omitted.
There is news that a TV series is planned based on these books(there were provisionally 6 in the series), produced by the guy who gave us Babylon Five!
Well this book took me by surprise! It wasnt what I was expecting at all. I found it quite tedious past the halfway mark, but stuck with it and kind of enjoyed it in the end. I've been informed that its not the best Lensman book by far so there is the hope that things get better with the rest of the series!
Next up is Islands in the Sky, an early novel from Arthur C. Clarke.
16 year old Roy Malcolm wins a TV quiz, the prize being a trip to anyhere on Earth. Being a clever kid he reasons that the low-Earth orbits of the space stations are technically still part of Earth and so he gets the trip of a lifetime, becoming part of the crew aboard the Inner Station. During his stay young Malcolm will encounter everything from a space voyage, gun smuggling pirates, the making of a TV show in space and a monster in a lab! All gripping stuff with each short chapter ending on a cliff,keeping the reader interested!
Its actually a juvennile novel, aimed at '11 and over' and yet its not childish in its writing, and although a lot of the facts are now out of date (it was written in the early '50s!) there's a lot of stuff in here thats still very relevant!
For a juvennile book we get a good idea of what its like up there in space-not your average kids book (though the kids were probably different in the 50s!)
Next up a classic from a lesser known SF and Fantasy author, Jack Vance.
Vance had his own breed of SF that as far as I can make out is strongly influenced by fantasy, but as I've not read any of his books I can't comment.
Well I was not that impressed with this book at all. The first half is very much fantasy-I didnt see it as SF at all, then just after the halfway point it changed and became an SF adventure. Much better but by then it was too late.