Archive for the ‘Robert Spencer Carr’ Category

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Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr

December 12, 2012

The Book: Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr. Copyright 1951. Published 1954 by Dell (#781).

Beyond Infinity

The Stories:

“Beyond Infinity” -1951 – Somewhat noir-y mystery/indirect observation of a space/time adventure. Good.

Morning Star” – 1947

Those Men from Mars” – 1949

“Mutation” – 1951 – Short but slightly tiresome story about survivors of an atomic blast and the mutations they deal with in their environment.

The Evaluation: I enjoyed “Beyond Infinity” and “Those Men from Mars.” The other two were not great stories. The quality of the writing was decent, and fun in places. This collection is a solid “meh” from me.

The Cover: A fine Richard Powers cover.  A man, a woman, and an alien environment. And possibly a sign post.

Next Up: Sentinels from Space by Eric Frank Russell.

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“Those Men from Mars” by Robert Spencer Carr

January 9, 2011

The Book: “Those Men from Mars” by Robert Spencer Carr. Dated 1949, possibly published in the Saturday Evening Post, but my only source on that is Wikipedia. Read in Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr, published in 1951 by Dell. At 75 pages, this is firmly in novella territory.

The Setting: Earth, Washington D.C., the White House lawn

The Story: A newspaper man, a bio-chemist, and a secretary walk into the first encounter with life from Mars. The Martian just wants a little place for the last of his race to call home, but he and his brother have to figure out whether the US or the USSR will offer a better deal. They disagree on the answer to that one and end up fightin’ round the world.

The Science: In this story, a synthetic uranium atom, blown up to the size of a beach ball, hooked up to an unknown power source (possibly cosmic rays) produces impenetrable “air armor.” This is the first story I remember reading that has force field armor, and I thought it was pretty cool. As for the actual mechanics of the stuff, it sounds pretty fishy to me – solar powered energy shield? I was also delighted to find that there is ongoing research into deflector shields using plasma. I wonder where that research is now.

The Reaction: I went back and forth on this story. At first I was really distracted by the narration. It’s very corny and very 1940s. It’s either fantastic or horrible and I can’t decide which. Then I was distracted by the cartoonishness of the Martian ship, as it was described developing facial features. But I think it’s still a good story, if a bit simplistic. The Martians go from a peace loving, telepathically linked pair to a death duel in about 24 earth hours. It seems too fast to be reasonable.

The Cover: Same as last time.

Next Up: Earth Abides by George R. Stewart.

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“Morning Star” by Robert Spencer Carr

October 13, 2010

The Book: “Morning Star” by Robert Spencer Carr. Dated 1947, possibly published in the Saturday Evening Post, but my only source on that is Wikipedia. Read in Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr, published in 1951 by Dell.

The Setting: The New Mexico desert. Earth.

The Story: An illegal alien (from space!) infiltrates a top secret meeting of government scientists and convinces them to send a man to Venus. For sex.  Probably.

The Science: I’ll admit that I’m trying to write about this quite a while after reading it, but I can’t come up with much on the science side of the discussion. They plot some things for space travel, but it’s much less about science than men going ga-ga for a pretty lady.

The Reaction: I don’t even know where to start with this. A Venusian woman (they’re all women there, I think) comes to Earth to beg them not to use the bomb and please, oh please, send some nice young men to Venus. It’s dated and pretty sexist. Some amusing devices in the story (trying to frame it from a third perspective) but mostly… meh.

The Cover: Cover art by Richard Power. The cover is very cool. 1950s abstract sci-fi aesthetic. Not very sensical, but some nice shapes.

Next Up: Destination Infinity by Henry Kuttner.