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Reviews by Contributor: Ford, John M. (3)

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Growing Up Weightless

By John M. Ford  

2 Oct, 2018

Special Requests

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John M. Ford’s Growing Up Weightless is a standalone coming-of-age novel. 

If Luna had an Age of Heroes, that era is long over by Matt Roney’s time. Independence from Earth was won decades ago. Geniuses gave humans starflight; by Matt’s era, interstellar travel is mundane. All of the interesting things have been done by previous generations. What is a teenager to do with himself? 

To be honest, Matt does have a wealth of opportunities. So many that he cannot decide. Nor is it clear that any of them will offer him the independence and self-esteem he craves. 

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Our One True Guiding Light

The Princes of the Air

By John M. Ford  

12 Aug, 2017

Special Requests

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(Added November 2019)

The reasons given in this review for Ford’s work being out of print are wrong. I apologize for the error.

The actual reason can be found here.


1982’sThe Princes of the Air wasJohn M. Ford’s second novel. His first novel, 1980’s Web of Angels(which I wish I had reviewed, because then I could link to thereview) was a cyberpunk novel. ThePrinces of the Airwas a space opera of manners. Ford’s reluctance to stick to aspecific genre is only one of the reasons he is not better known.

Orden,David, and Theo had sufficient talents to have spent their livesworking up to ever more complicated con games … that is, until theforces of the law fell on them and consigned them to whatever fatewaits the criminal classes in a star-spanning empire. Orden evadedthis fate by entering the diplomatic service, an alternative careerpath for those blessed with a gift of gab and an eye for a good con.His friends David and Theo parlayedpractice on simulated, video-game starships into crewing the realthing.

Anyprudent person in Orden’s position would have maintained a lowprofile in a minor position. Ambitious Orden brought himself and hisfriends to the attention of the Queen.

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If You Listen, You Can Understand

From the End of the Twentieth Century

By John M. Ford  

30 Sep, 2015

Graveyard Orbits

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(Added November 2019)

The reasons given in this review for Ford’s work being out of print are wrong. I apologize for the error.


The actual reason can be found here.

If I had been more on the ball, I’d have had this review ready in timefor 25 September, the ninth anniversary of John M. Ford’s death. Fordwas an author’s author, beloved by the literati, someone who didn’t condescend to the reader by making his textseasy to read. That, and a habit of drifting from genre to genre, lefthim more obscure than he deserves. Although no more obscure than lazyreaders deserve.

Tomake matters worse, although he had long been in ill-health (in theUS, no less), Ford never got around to choosing a literary executor. Due to barbaric laws that grant no inheritance rights tosignificant others to whom one is not legally married, the rights tohis books are held by his blood kin. They didn’t approve of hiscareer and have not, the last I heard, allowed any outof-print-material to be reprinted. 

Iseriously considered reviewing John M. Ford’s 1993 juvenile GrowingUp Weightlessto get the taste of Luna:New Moonout of my mouth … but I was already in a bad mood. Thinking aboutwhy GrowingUp Weightlessis out of print would have just made it worse. So I decided to reviewhis 1997 collection, FromThe End of the Twentieth Century,one of three works by Ford that I believe are still in print. (Seethe end of this review for a list.)

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