Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Metal Man

The Metal Man and Others; The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson, Volume One, Jack Williamson (edited by Stephen Haffner) (Haffner Press, 1999, ISBN 1-893887-02-2, cover by Frank R. Paul).

The first in an excellent series of books from Haffner Press. Stephen Haffner is bringing all of Williamson's non-serial magazine appearances between covers, spanning a multi-decade career.

The introduction by Hal Clement makes one very good point (and one that some of the proponents of "mundane SF" seem to miss regarding science fiction): Science fiction is both a literature of ideas and of story. The ideas may become dated, heck, they may be completely impossible by any stretch of reality that we may know. But, if well written, the story remains timeless. Clement makes the point that Williamson is such a writer. And I'll agree: we may not be able to terraform the Moon. Mars might not have a surface covered by canals. Barnard's Runaway Star might not be inhabited by evil aliens. But The Legion of Space remains an excellent tale despite any "dating" of the science involved.

Scientifiction, Searchlight of Science: An essay that appeared in Amazing Stories Quarterly in 1928.

The Metal Man: Very much in the spirit of one of Williamson's early influences, A. Merritt.

The Girl from Mars: Co-written by Miles J. Breuer, M.D., who acted as a guide for Williamson's early writing. A minor work involving humans from Mars.

Made up of: Jack Williamson—Speculator (Hal Clement); Scientifiction, Searchlight of Science; The Metal Man; The Girl from Mars (with Miles J. Breuer, M.D.); The Alien Intelligence; The Second Shell; The Green Girl; The Cosmic Express; The Birth of a New Republic (with Miles J. Breuer, M.D.); The Prince of Space; The Meteor Girl; Afterword; Appendix.

Counts as four (4) entries in the 2007 Year in Shorts.

Part of the 2008 Year in Shorts.

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