Program - Classics of Science Fiction
by John Hertz
We'll discuss three classics at Chicon 7, one discussion each.
Each of our three is famous, each in a different way. Each may be even more interesting now than when it was first published.
The authors were British, Czech, and American. As it happens each broke new ground in SF.
Our working definition is, "A classic is a work that survives its own time. After the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself." If you have a better definition, bring it.
Come to as many as you like. You'll be welcome to join in.
Here is one of those books everyone talks about but no one has read. It is poetic and pungent. The man runs; the monster blames; what is missing from this picture? The author puts in a blind man to make sure we see. Cries for sympathy pour from the monster's lips. Where have we heard them before?
R.U.R. is "Rossum's Universal Robots," a word introduced by this play. The author said it was a melodrama. The first New York performance was called "Murderous social satire... hair-raising." All true. Why is there only one woman (two, actually)? Does the lust to dominate follow from the consciousness of pain?
Pebble in the Sky (1950)
Set in a future Chicago! How could we resist? If in the Foundation series ordinary things happen to strange people, here strange things happen to a very ordinary person. Of course the author carefully quotes, not quite as in the original, "I find no fault in this man." Of course it's a third love story and, as advertised, unlike the others.