James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Contributor

Reviews by Contributor: MacLean, Katherine (4)

Fool’s Mate

Second Game

By Charles V. De Vet & Katherine MacLean  

24 Oct, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Charles V. De Vet and Katherine MacLean’s 1981 Second Game is a stand-alone interstellar espionage novel.

Having discovered to their astonishment that they share the galaxy with another starfaring race, the Ten Thousand World Federation1 attempted to open diplomatic relations with the Veldqans. Rebuffed by the aliens, the Federation dispatched a fleet to underline the benefits of friendly relations. That fleet having been annihilated through mysterious means, Master Spy Leonard Stromberg is dispatched to the alien home world to take a closer look.

Key to his efforts: a board game.

Read more ➤

From the pages of Astounding and Galaxy

The Diploids and Other Flights of Fancy

By Katherine MacLean  

9 Aug, 2015

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


I have been listening to the old radio show X Minus One . Because her stories provided the basis of several episodes, Katherine MacLean (last seen here in my review of her Missing Man) has been on my mind. Hence this review. The Diploids and Other Flights of Fancy (or as it is called in my edition,

The Diploids and 7 Other Stories), collects a number of her works from the 1950s. 

By purest coincidence, I recently encountered someone who had never read MacLean’s much-anthologized The Snowball Effect.” [1] That does not make me want to read this collection more than I already do — but it does convince me that now is a good time to review this (sadly obscure and wildly out of print) collection.

Read more ➤

Who Decides?

Missing Man

By Katherine MacLean  

1 Mar, 2015

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


I discovered MacLean in the 1970s [1] but her career began in the 1940s. During the 1950s she was one of the more prominent women writing science fiction, with stories like Pictures Don’t Lie,” The Snowball Effect,” and Incommunicado.” Like most authors at the time, she focused on short works rather than novels, but in the 1970s she did produce a small number of novels, of which this would be the best remembered.

Read more ➤