The Black Star Passes by John W. Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Arcot, Morey and Wade discover there IS life on other planets, and with it comes terrible and amazing new technology that will help them save their own planet and eventually the solar system from threat of destruction!
Science fiction as a genre is relatively young, compared to what is available on the bookshelves today. A lot of more recent SF is focused on world-building and technology. But older SF is sometimes even more interesting a read than modern SF because of its lack of technology. Instead, this book relies on science to advance the plot.
In reality, there isn't a lot of plot in this book. Two scientists, in an attempt to foil a pirate of the sky, inadvertently solve the puzzle of space travel. In so doing, they meet the inhabitants of Venus, save one Venerian nation from another, unite the two planets into mutual cooperation for the benefit of both, and then repel an invading fleet from another solar system. Pretty simple, right?
To make up for the lack of story, though, the characters go on and on and on and on and on about how they are making the ships and other technology used to defeat both armies. They thoroughly discuss it to the point where I had no idea what they were talking about. It made a little sense to my scientifically-challenged mind, which was nice, but it did become overwhelming. It wasn't so much of an adventure as a description of how all of these things can be made. I'm curious, though, if the science was correct, or if the author just made it up. I'm an English major, not a physics professor, after all.
I really enjoyed the humor at the beginning of the book, and the sky pirate's (Wade) storyline, but it kind of waned from there. Overall, though, it was a great book, and I am looking forward to reading more of this writer's work. Recommended to all SF lovers, as it is a fantastic example of early SF.
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