Daily Archives: May 8th, 2009

Friday Book Reviews

I have just finished my reread of Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson’s Saga of Cuckoo ( Farthest Star and Wall Around a Star). From a perspective of over thirty years life experience since my first read, the book(s) have held up remarkably well, in both content and topic.

The only concept that might be dated is the hypothetical faster-than-light particle tachyon. Tachyons emerged as a concept in physics during the 1960s and many experiments have been conducted to prove their existence.

So far, they have been connected with bosonic string theory and tachyon condensation, but little else.

Because the assumption of their FTL qualities, according to special relativity they can neither be proven or disproven.

The jury is still out. But the tale doesn’t suffer because of that.

The only issue I have is the ending, it’s too abrupt for my taste. I like a hidden, twisted, O. Henry type ending, or a slow build-up in the final chapters.

All in all, for the true fan, it’s still a solid read after thirty-four years.


Next on my list is Joe Haldeman’s 1974 classic The Forever War.


First serialized in Analog Magazine , the story was awarded the Nebula and Locus Awards in 1975 and the Hugo in 1976.

It was in the Analog magazine where I first read it (I had subscriptions to both Analog and Galaxy magazines during the 1970s). Even to my teen-age self at the time, I realized the stories were a rip at the Vietnam War, which just ended.

The story starts in the year 1997 and the space exploration component of it was both overly optimistic and depressing. Optimistic in the point that faster-than-light travel was discovered so interstellar colonization could begin before the 21st Century, and depressing because mankind continues to practice his/her favorite occupation since the invention of agriculture.


The book is short, so it shouldn’t take long to re-absorb.

The re-reads aren’t like they are the first time you read them, but from a more adult perspective you appreciate the topics and themes better.

Catch ya later.