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Millennial Reviews XXXIII: Timescape by Gregory Benford (1981)

Timescape

By Gregory Benford 

16 Feb, 2000

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Timescape
Gregory Benford
Pocket Books, 1981
366 pages

Synopsis: There are two eras covered in Timescape: the UK, 1998 and the US, 1962 – 1963.

The world in 1998 is deeply screwed: a chemical used in agriculture turns out to have an entirely unsuspected ability to reproduce, killing vast number of the fish in the sea. The UK is in another economic downturn and the World Council is pulling funding from many nonessential avenues of research.

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Millennial Reviews XXXII: A Martian Odyssey” & Valley of Dreams” by Stanley G. Weinbaum

A Martian Odyssey” &Valley of Dreams”

 

15 Feb, 2000

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A Martian Odyssey” [1934]26 pages
Valley of Dreams” [1934]24 pages
[From The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum ]
Stanley G. Weinbaum
Ballantine 1974

Synopsis: Jarvis and several companions are the first men on Mars. Jarvis has just returned from an unplanned forced march from where his atomic plane stopped working and recounting his tale.

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Millennial Reviews XXX: After Things Fell Apart by Ron Goulart (1970)

After Things Fell Apart

By Ron Goulart 

13 Feb, 2000

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After Things Fell Apart
Ron Goulart
Ace, 1970
189 pages

It would have been funny to have some extremely raunchy sex-SF in this spot. I don’t seem to own any.

Synopsis: Jim Haley is an agent of the Private Investigation Office in San Francisco (or Frisco’, as the young folks call it in ATFA) Enclave some years after the collapse of the USA and an abortive Chinese invasion. A terrorist called Lady Day and her gang of mankillers is kidnapping prominent men in the SFE region and killing them. The PIO wants this to stop and Haley is sent to look into a lead out of SFE, into the jumble of microstates surrounding SFE.

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Millennial Reviews XXIX: Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper (1957)

Omnilingual

By H. Beam Piper 

13 Feb, 2000

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Omnilingual (from the collection Federation )
H. Beam Piper
Ace 1981
54 p
ages

That 1981 is very misleading: Omnilingual dates from much earlier. For some reason, Federation doesn’t give the details of prior publication. IMS Baen was running Ace’s SF line at that point and insufficient notation of prior publication used to drive me up the wall when Baen Books started out. I think it came out in 1957 in ASF.

Synopsis: Near the end of the twentieth century (Carr gives the year as 54 AE, AE = 1945), a post-Atomic War Earth is unified under the Federation. Advanced and wealthy, the Federation is funding interplanetary exploration. Omnilingual takes place on Mars where a fair-sized group of archaeologists are exploring the ruins left by a very recently extinct race of intelligent Martians. Mars is a dying planet, past the point of non-technological occupation by humanoid species, with the richest life found in the ancient seabeds, where depth and scaleheight give the animals enough air to breath.

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Millennial Reviews XXVIII: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach (1975)

Ecotopia

By Ernest Callenbach 

13 Feb, 2000

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Ecotopia
Ernest Callenbach
Bantam Books, 1975
213 pages

Synopsis: It’s 1999, almost twenty years since the USA’s Pacific Northwest split off from the USA, beginning a period of noncommunication between Ecotopia [as the PNW calls itself] and the USA which makes the current situation between Cuba and the USA look like a torrid love affair. Journalist William Weston is one of the first Americans to venture into Ecotopia since the secession, ostensibly to report on conditions there but also on a covert mission from the US President to feel out the possibility of readmitting the split away states into the Union.

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Millennial Reviews XXVII: The Far Call by Gordon R. Dickson (1973)

The Far Call

By Gordon R. Dickson 

12 Feb, 2000

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The Far Call
Gordon R. Dickson
Dell, 1977 [1973]
414 pages

Synopsis: A six-nation joint project to put a team of men on Mars is about to come to fruition. Jens Wylie, Undersecretary for the Development of Space, tries to warn the powers that be that the astronauts are overscheduled and is ignored. A low level engineer tries to warn of a worrying increase in problems in the twin space- craft’s laser communication systems and is ignored on the grounds that while problems increased, they are well within spec. Gervais, an Air Force Intel type is keeping an eye on Jens, among other people, and is increasingly unhappy with a colleague’s inability to do his job.

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Millennial Reviews XXV: The Harvest by Robert Charles Wilson (1993)

The Harvest

By Robert Charles Wilson 

9 Feb, 2000

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The Harvest
Robert Charles Wilson
Bantam Spectra
438 pages

Synopsis: A large alien artifact goes into orbit around the Earth, where it apparently does nothing for a year. Rumours start that the leaders of various government have been in contact with the Artifact. A coup is put into motion in the US, although the President manages to bluff the would-be junta into delaying for a few days. Doctor Matt Wheeler learns that the blood work on patients going to his hospital is very strange, so peculiar the patients should be extremely dead. Finally, the entire world falls into a deep sleep for over a day. In their sleep, they all dream that they are asked if they want to live. The ones who say yes will be given a form of immortality. About one in ten thousand say no.

The book follows two sets of people who say no, a large one from Matt’s town, including Matt, and a smaller one centred on a mad military fellow named Tyler.

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Millennial Review XXIV: Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman (1979)

Alongside Night

By J. Neil Schulman 

8 Feb, 2000

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Alongside Night
J. Neil Schulman
Ace, 1979
280 pages

Synopsis: It’s 2001. The inflation of the 1970s never stopped but only go worse, driven by the destructive polices of the self-serving statists running America. This is not a universal problem: EUCOMTO, akin to our EU, is on the Gold Standard [sf/x chorus of angels] and the Eurofranc is solid as a rock, so solid the USG has made possession of it in the US illegal. Inflation is over 2000% per year and coffee cost $500.00 a cup.

[That last would have me in the streets waving a gun, albeit very slowly].

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