Apocalypse 1955: Growing Up Telepathic

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”

The much-revered writers of the Golden Age of science fiction can be quite rough around the edges, even downright embarrassing on occasion. The writing is hurried, the plots of plot-driven books are disturbingly inconsistent, and the characters are primarily stock types and authorial mouthpieces. To top it off, many of these novels are ambitious, earnestly offered as novels of big ideas. These ideas are usually sympathetic (tolerance, freedom, racial equality, escape from religious tyranny), but generally reduced to platitudes expressed in long, somnolent sermons by the your standard pointy-headed philosopher-scientist.

So why bother to read these books? Continue reading “Apocalypse 1955: Growing Up Telepathic”

Apocalypse 1953: Homicidal Alien Blobs

Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End was my main pick for 1953 in our survey of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, but John Wyndham’s Kraken Wakes is another great apocalypse novel from the same year. (It was published as Out of the Deeps in the US. Apparently Americans weren’t expected to know what Kraken means, until the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, because now China Mieville can publish a novel just called Kraken and people purchase it.)

Kraken Wakes is much like The Day of the Triffids in style and development. It’s an apocalypse that develops slowly at first, and then suddenly there’s a tipping point and civilization as we know it could end. Continue reading “Apocalypse 1953: Homicidal Alien Blobs”