James E. Gunn – Station in Space and The Listeners

Gunn is clearly embracing the ebook age, making him only one of a dozen or so sf authors who are; 9 of his novels and his short story collection Future Imperfect are available as Kindle ebooks.  I mentioned his first story in Station in Space, “In the Cave of Night,” as a memorable one for me in an earlier post.  The two novels by him that I recommend are:

Station in Space (Kindle ebook) surprised me as a child in the 1950s reading these stories.  These were not the altruistic heroes of my beloved boys-adventure series, but hard-bitten men, working in a dangerous, unforgiving environment, keeping secrets, waging bureaucratic battles, and far past the romance of it all, with —-ing language [censored then] to match.  Raw, brutal, real.

The Listeners (Kindle ebook), on the other hand or grasper, is a slow patient tale of long range purpose by Earth’s cultures and the McDonald family, trying to establish a lightspeed-limited radio dialogue with the alien Capellan culture lightyears away.  Like most of Gunn’s novels, the narrative was originally published as magazine short stories.  Instead of distracting/detracting from the structure of the novel, this enhances the episodic nature of his story as we meet five generations of McDonalds at pivot points in the tale, while messages and responses crawl between stars at light’s limit.

Carl Sagan’s Contact and Jack McDevitt’s original version of The Hercules Text (Ace Special, No 7) are two other good SETI novels.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: