this is the 70th in my series of forgotten books
The Complete Venus Equilateral by George O. Smith © 1942-1947, 1973 – Del Rey 1976 paperback, science fiction short story collection
Having read a review of this on Friday Forgotten Books, I was sufficiently intrigued to find a used copy. It is a set of 13 short stories, all but one of them published in Astounding Science Fiction in the mid to late 1940s. This is hard science fiction in the best John Campbell (editor of Astounding) tradition. There were several times while reading this that I wished I had a better understanding of pre-solid state electronics, though it isn’t necessary to follow the plots or enjoy the stories. I just had to assume that all the talk of diodes, tubes and capacitors, not to mention voltage, meters and the rest, were factual or based on it.
The central concept here is that man has colonized most of the solar system, particularly Mars and Venus, and that to maintain communications while one or both of these planets is near or behind the Sun there needs to be a relay station in a specific spot equilateral to them and Earth, thus the name of the station and the book. The people running this station are technical wizards and in addition to keeping things operating properly they do research and are often coming up with inventions.
Some of these inventions make things better, some make things tough for only certain persons or companies, some threaten to change society. The stories are presented in order of events, not necessarily the order in which they were published, so it’s a straight telling, as if each story were a chapter in a longer book, and many characters – all of the principles – are found in each one. There is a light-hearted approach to most relationships, there’s little in the way of darkness, and lot of banter and good-natured joking. Which is not to say there aren’t the threats both of the outer space environment and from outsiders, each with a personal agenda not in the best interests of Venus Equilteral.
- QRM – Interplanetary (1942)
- Calling the Empress (1943)
- Recoil (1943)
- Lost Art (1943)
- Off the Beam (1944)
- The Long Way (1944)
- Beam Pirate (1944)
- Firing Line (1944)
- Special Delivery (1945)
- Pandora’s Millions (1945)
- Mad Holiday (1947)
- The External Triangle (1973)
- Identity (1945)
An enjoyable collection of good old hard SF from the past, worth your time if you enjoy this sort of thing, which I do.
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links to all of this weeks Forgotten Book posts can be found
on Patti Abbott’s blog, Pattinase