SF significant

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Jan 21 15:32:43 EST 2005

Verity wrote:

>You might also want to be wary of the book immediately following the Scribner
>12, _Podkayne of Mars_, which is much less clean cut than the others. It's
>pretty much a progenitor of _Friday_, although it's sometimes placed with the
>others in Category RAH-Juvenile.

(The book immediately following the Scribner 12 was *Starship Soldier*
later *Starship Troopers*, which Scribner's editorial board turned down.
I'm not sure I blame them: there would have been a stink if they'd
published that as a juvenile, I suspect.)

He certainly didn't think Podkayne was a juvenile, anyhow, and he didn't
write it to be one (he was being glad to be away from the editor at
Scribners who'd told him the flat cats seemed to her "a trifle too Freudian
in their pulsing love habits", and wanted a "good Freudian analyst" to
interpret Willis in *Red Planet; he was fed up with censorship, and he put
in a tad of sex just as a gesture of independence, but honestly, one would
need a pretty hefty microscope to see it).  I wouldn't have said Poddy had
anything much in common with *Friday*: where do you see that?  A female
lead character is about the only thing they seem to me to share.

>Finally, one that's not part of the Scribner 12 is still suitable for juveniles
>but _Double Star_ is again rather lacking in SF elements (breathing apparatus,
>torch ships and native Martians with their wacky sufficiently-advanced tech).

(And brain-wipe drugs, don't forget the brain-wipe drugs!)

It was written in, um, 1956 (copyrighted 1958 in UK) and at one point has
"a short cut through the Archives -- miles on miles of endless files, each
one chockablock with microfilm and all of them with moving belts scooting
past them so that a clerk would not take all day to fetch one file.  But
Penny told me she'd taken me through only one wing of it.  The file of the
files, she said, occupied a cavern the size of the Grand Assmbley Hall."

So yes, perhaps a little short on expected SF elements: he hadn't thought
to include the computer in his worldview; which is strange, considering
that they were already a commonplace of the genre by the fifties.  Maybe
everyone was too busy depicting them as either taking over and running
everything and being AIs and benign or ditto but hostile to humanity, and
just didn't think to show a computer doing the job they would be good at,
storing data?


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