Xenephrene, enters into an orbit around our Sun, passing fairly close to Earth every 17 months. Close enough that its initial passage causes Earth to tilt on its axis, disrupting weather patterns and making much of the planet uninhabitable. If that isn't bad enough, while humankind scrambles toward the relatively hospitable climes of the equatorial regions, the aliens, armed with their superior "infrared" weaponry, begin an invasion against which Earth appears all but defenseless.
Meanwhile, our hero, Peter Vanderstuyft, falls in love with an alien girl named Zetta.
Metaphorically, the aliens are the Enemy du jour, and this is one of those funky utopian novels in which millions must die in order for human beings to see that they really aren't so different, after all. If people are that stupid, though, then "utopia" isn't oneness and peace, it is war and wasted lives. Peter may see hope in the way the world's nationalities unite to fight the invaders, but I see only an ad hoc coalition destined to crumble the first time someone screams "democracy" or "God."
Literally, the aliens are rather disappointing, being chiefly different from humans in their weight. They look just like us, but for some reason they weigh much less. Zetta, if I remember correctly, appears to be a normal woman, but weighs only 18 pounds. (Well, at least she and Peter can effortlessly enjoy the Clasp.) Otherwise, they are, like us, ruled by greed, jealousy, and the lust for power.
It wasn't always that way. The aliens used to be a peace-loving race. But, writes Cummings -- in another of those remarkable statements for 1928 (if indeed that's when it was written) -- one man changed all that, through the eloquence of his oratory. "It is a frightening thing," Peter's father says, "what one evil man can do."
That the problems of the world are only temporarily forgotten is evident in the novel's one real claim to "alienness": man-sized multi-legged insects that the aliens use as guards and cannon fodder. Combine the two worlds and the insects are second in intelligence only to men. Yet Peter isn't fascinated by them; he is repulsed by them. So much for tolerance and equality.
Cummings is by no means an exceptional writer and A Brand New World is by no means a good book. But it is competent, on the level of pulp. And I doubt many people read old science fiction for the quality of the writing. Personally, I was hooked by the blurb: "Xenephrene...made a pretty vision in the evening sky -- until flying things and strange visitants appeared. Xenephrene was inhabited...and its inhabitants had discovered Earth." I was half hoping for an atmospheric first act full of mystery and menace. Of course, at the time, I'd forgotten the story had started its life as a serial and that there was clearly no time for that.
dimarts, 21 de juny de 2016
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”The Flight Into Size and Space" was interesting because instead of trying to travel fast through space, they just kept getting larger until eventually they were larger than the universe and kind of emerged into a larger universe. Kind of like a cosmic marble, -- while that chapter was still boring and entirely too long....... The Girl in the Golden Atom is the story of a young chemist who finds a hidden atomic world within his mother’s wedding ring. Under a microscope, he sees within the ring a beautiful young woman sitting before a cave. Enchanted by her, he shrinks himself so that he can join her world. Having worked for Thomas Alva Edison, Ray Cummings (1887–1957) was inspired by science’s possibilities and began to write science fiction. The Girl in the Golden Atom was enormously successful at its publication in 1923, and Cummings went on to write an equally successful sequel, The People of the Golden Atom. DA INIMPUTABILIDADE LITERÁRIA Raymond King Cummings. His career resulted in some 750 novels and short stories, using also the pen names Ray King, Gabrielle ..
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