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The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 August, 2016 03:16AM
The early Golden Age of Science Fiction started about the time when the Weird Tales tradition ended. John W. Campbell's and A. E. van Vogt's writings sounded very different from H. P. Lovecraft, C. A. Smith, and Robert E. Howard. Less literary? Less poetic? Less ... what? Less pessimistic? These two groups of writers appear very separate, never touched intellectually with each other, and seemed to be completely unaware of each other? A solid impregnable wall between them? Lovecraft and Smith evolved from a background E. A. Poe, et al., the others coming distinctly from Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells?

John W. Campbell wrote excellent visionary stories like "Twilight", "Night", and "Who Goes There?". A. E. van Vogt wrote "The Black Destroyer", "Discord in Scarlet" (both later included in the novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle), "The Monster", "Vault of the Beast", The Weapon Shops of Isher and others, notable for their dreamlike ecstatic sense of wonder.
Later, Arthur C. Clarke followed with Childhood's End, The City and the Stars, and Rendezvous with Rama.
They shared in common a certain optimistic view of Man's potential transformation in the vast cosmic perspective.

Lovecraft died too early, but C. A. Smith may have had occasion to read Campbell, Vogt, and even Clarke. Yet, I have not heard of that mentioned. Were they worlds apart, intellectually and emotionally? I am sure many of the latter writers's spanning ideas would have fascinated both Lovecraft and Smith.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 16 August, 2016 03:17PM
I have been a fan of the movie The Thing (1981) since I saw it for the first time, so, naturally, I read "Who Goes There?" and was very dissapointed. For my money, even the movie The Thing (2011) is much better than the original CampbellĀ“s story.

I prefer classic horror stories to those dealing with science fiction but I really liked a half-forgotten SF novel called "Out Of The Silence" (1919) by Erle Cox.
[www.goodreads.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 16 Aug 16 | 03:25PM by Minicthulhu.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 August, 2016 06:34PM
The Thing (1981) is a powerful movie. (I like John Carpenter's early films, especially The Fog.) The 1951 version, The Thing From Another World, is good too, although the monster isn't very impressive. I have not seen the 2011 remake.

I thought "Who Goes There?" was well written. Working differently from the movies. The ending is especially creepy, with its devastating implication of how the alien spreads in an unstoppable way. The story has a philosophical horror tension, not present in the films.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 17 August, 2016 01:47AM
I tend to agree with you on this. While some of Campbell's works are almost the stereotypical science fiction of the era, others are powerful mood pieces (such as "Twilight"), and "Who Goes There?" lands neatly between the two poles, with many of the strengths of each.

Incidentally, the 2011 film was not a "remake", but rather a "prequel"... though it used so much of the material from the original, redone with modern effects and a new set of actors, that it could well be seen as a sort of remake. It also lacked nearly all the tension and creativity of the Carpenter film. Ah, well....

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 17 August, 2016 03:43AM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> While some of
> Campbell's works are almost the stereotypical
> science fiction of the era, others are powerful
> mood pieces (such as "Twilight"), and "Who Goes
> There?" lands neatly between the two poles, with
> many of the strengths of each.

I would agree. I have The Best of John W. Campbell (1976), and found most of the stories rather dry reading, mildly enjoyable. Still, even those contain some feverish visions, and I am glad to have read them.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 17 August, 2016 05:09AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Thing (1981) is a powerful movie. (I like John
> Carpenter's early films, especially The Fog.) The
> 1951 version, The Thing From Another World, is
> good too, although the monster isn't very
> impressive. I have not seen the 2011 remake.

It is not a remake of the 1981 film. At one point in the 1981 movie, Kurt Russell and his cronies fly by helicopter to the Norwegian polar station where they find nothing but devastation, dead men, a flying monstrous object of unknown origin, an ice block something had escaped from etc. The 2011 Thing describes what happened at the Norwegian Antarctic station before Russell and the others came.

The Fog is a great movie. Speaking of John Carpenter, he is my favourite director; I really enjoyed In the Mouth of Madness, Prince of Darkness and They Live. What a shame he has not been active too much lately.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2016 01:31AM
There actually is some overlap in the two groups. Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore and Fritz Leiber were members of both camps (admittedly, Leiber is more of a "second-generation" Weird Tales writer. But he did actually corresponded with HPL, as did other SF writers like James Blish and P. Schuyler Miller).

Who Goes There? may well have been influenced by At The Mountains of Madness. And Campbell's story in turn influenced Van Vogt's The Vault of The Beast, which bears some uncanny similarities to The Call of Cthulhu. The Circle of Influence rotates eternally...

It's a shame that Lovecraft died before getting the chance to correspond with John W. Campbell. Both were great letterhacks who liked nothing better than to debate a topic through the medium of the USPS!

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2016 05:35PM
Ken K. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> as did
> other SF writers like James Blish and P. Schuyler
> Miller).

I don't think HPL and Miller corresponded. He describes himself as a fan in "Let's All Jump on H.P.L.", but doesn't mention any correspondence.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2016 06:24PM
Ken K. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's a shame that Lovecraft died before getting
> the chance to correspond with John W. Campbell.
> Both were great letterhacks who liked nothing
> better than to debate a topic through the medium
> of the USPS!


That is how it is, there must finally be a break, a stop for each individual, when the soul's operation through the given body is done. It is all set, and destined. However, through the intellectual tensions and points of mutual enrichment in their separate writings, there is still a "dislocated" dialog, potentially continued, that will either lie dormant for an indefinite period, or can be picked up, developed, and come to fruit, through the minds of others.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 28 August, 2016 12:13AM
My mistake--Miller corresponded with Robert E. Howard, not HPL. Thanks for catching my error!

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 7 November, 2016 07:54PM
Some of the greatest and most genuine weird, supernatural moments I have ever experienced in literature, is the way van Vogt, Campbell, and also Clarke, describe future machines, self-repairing, self-reproducing machines. It truly is haunting, and gives a sense of awe and wonder of actually looking into the future. Seemingly a spiritual experience. Quite unique.

Re: The Golden Age of Science Fiction.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 8 November, 2016 03:40PM
Well, I'll go on with my small monologues here on the dark eldritch site. It's rather enjoyable. Like drifting alone in the abyss of space, with a quiet, loyal audience of some hundred or so ever present spirits, who rarely utter a word.

Anyway, the foremost stories I know of, telling of those haunting future machines, would be The Voyage of the Space Beagle, The City and the Stars, "Twilight", and "Night". ("Night" I finished half an hour ago. I don't think it was quite up to the same high quality as the small masterpiece "Twilight", but even so, very interesting.)

What the hell is this?! "Bismuth". It was mentioned in Campbell's story "Night".
[www.bismuthcrystal.com]

Good night, and good luck to you with the USA elections.



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