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Mists of Time

Cradle of Saturn by James P. Hogan

Cradle of Saturn  (Cradle of Saturn, volume 1)

By James P. Hogan 

20 Jun, 2000

Ghastly Beyond Belief


Cradle of Saturn

James P. Hogan

Baen Books [1999]

421 pages

I’m a die-hard hard SF fan. HSF has never been an especially large genre and to read any amount of it, I have had to develop a certain ability to forge my way through seemingly endless crap to get my HSF fix, which is why I was able to finish James Hogan’s Cradle of Saturn . Hogan’s grasp on certain aspects of physics has never been the firmest [The orbital mechanics in his first novel, Inherit the Stars are dodgy at best] but he used to turn out readable pulp, something one could happily read sitting in the back of an old van, listening to Ian and Sylvia 8‑tracks.

It’s not uncommon for older writers to get fixated on one issue at the cost of their fiction or to suffer a general decline in their ability to write, perhaps due to age, illness or even burnout. Mr. Hogan has apparently fallen victim to both: he has become an ardent Velikovskyite and his prose has declined as well. This means that not only is the book filled with crack-pottery, it is filled with badly written crackpottery.

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Lost Voices 28: The Jupiter Theft by Donald Moffitt

The Jupiter Theft

By Donald Moffitt 

18 May, 2000

Lost Voices


The Jupiter Theft

Donald Moffitt

Del Rey [1977]

374 pages

Synopsis: In the latter half of the 21st century, the two super-powers, China and the USA, are preparing a joint crewed mission to Jupiter. Already hampered by attempts by the communist government of China and the post ACWII authoritarian government of the US to spy on each other, the mission and all of humanity are apparently threatened with extinction as a powerful x‑ray source is detected headed towards the solar system at near light speed. The x‑ray source slows and goes into orbit around Jupiter. A probe gets a brief glimpse of the visitor before being fried by an energy beam: Jupiter has a new Earth-sized moon which is orbited by obvious artifacts.

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Lost Voices 27: Space Viking by H. Beam Piper

Space Viking

By H. Beam Piper 

17 May, 2000

Lost Voices


Space Viking

H. Beam Piper

Ace Books [1963]

243 pages

Synopsis: The Federation has fallen, civilization collapsed and high technology is preserved on only a few worlds, among them the Sword Worlds, home of the Star Vikings, who prey on weaker worlds as their namesakes preyed on weaker communities in Europe. On one such Sword World, Gram, Lucas Trask, a noble, gets married. Less than an hour after his wedding to Elaine Karvall, Trask is badly wounded and his new wife is killed by Andray Dunnan, a mad would-be suitor of Elaine’s. Dunnan escapes immediate vengeance by fleeing Gram, stealing the starship Enterprise [no relation]. Trask, who up until now has seen the activities of the Star Vikings as draining the Sword Worlds of vital skilled labour, no longer cares about the larger picture and only wants revenge. He stakes his holding to pay for a new ship, the Nemesis and sets out to find and kill Dunnan.

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Lost Voices 26: Malevil by Robert Merle


By Robert Merle 

15 May, 2000

Lost Voices



Robert Merle [Translated from French by Derek Coltman]

Warner Paperbacks [1975]

589 pages

Synopsis: Emmanuel and his childhood friends live in the vicinity of Malejac, a small, isolated and backwards French village. Gathered together in Emmanuel’s wine cellar in Malevil, a restored castle [Built courtesy of the English forces in the Hundred Years War] near Malejac for a political meeting, the five friends, Emmanuel’s maid and her mentally deficient son are spared instant death as a flash of heat, possibly from a very large nuclear device exploded over Paris.

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Lost Voices 25: House of the Wolf by M.K. Wren

House of the Wolf

By M. K. Wren 

13 May, 2000

Lost Voices


House of the Wolf

M.K. Wren

Berkley [1981]

310 pages

Synopsis: Book three of The Phoenix Legacy, HotW is well after a series of droughts, epidemics and nuclear wars destroyed our civilization. A civilization armed with high technology was reborn in Australia, spread to conquer the world and eventually, the stars [For values of the stars’ equal to Alpha Centauri’, expeditions father afield being unsuccessful to date]. The PanTerran Confederation inherited a fairly odious caste system: attempts to liberalize it led to civil war and the post-war Concord is dominated by highly reactionary politics.

Two brothers are born to the House of Dekoven Woolf. 

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Lost Voices 24: Into Deepest Space by Fred Hoyle & Geoffrey Hoyle

Into Deepest Space

By Geoffrey Hoyle & Fred Hoyle 

12 May, 2000

Lost Voices


Into Deepest Space

Fred Hoyle & Geoffrey Hoyle

Penguin Books [1974]

205 pages

Synopsis: In the previous book, Rockets in Ursa Major , the attempt by the Yela, a highly advanced nonhuman species, to destroy Earth1 was foiled by the lithium-bombing of the sun, making the vicinity of the sun too lethal for space travel, even by the Yela. Several years later, solar conditions are cooling down and the new attack is possible.

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Lost Voices 22: Gryphon by Crawford Kilian


By Crawford Kilian 

9 May, 2000

Lost Voices



Crawford Kilian

Del Rey [1989]

260 pages

Synopsis: Three hundred years ago, humans contacted aliens. Although interstellar travel is impractical, many species belong to an interstellar communications network, giving them access to a vast database of ancient information. Humans were able to decipher and understand a millionth millionth of the data and with it, raise a few millions of us to great heights of luxury while wiping out the rest. By the twenty fourth century, only twenty or so million humans are left, mostly isolationist immortals. As well, the side-effects of a few million spoiled godlets making their own individual gardens of Eden have destroyed most of the native ecosystems of Earth.

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