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Book review: The Cold Equations - Phil's Rambling Rants
November 21st, 2005
03:48 pm


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Book review: The Cold Equations

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Date:November 21st, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)

The review

I retain my respect for you as a reviewer, even while my reaction to the stories you refer to was dramatically different. (I think the fact of my being exposed to old issues of *Astounding Science Fiction* from a friend's parents' collection in my early teens has given me a bit more of an antiquarian feel for the stuff than many people in my age group.) It's been made clear in the last 20 years or even longer that well designed space flights definitely do have more of a margin of error, but when I read "Cold" in 1962 or 63, this had not yet been made clear. Also, I have never heard the filksong. *The Survivors* was also put into a paperback edition as *Space Prison*; for all that it's a very thin book and now seems old-fashioned, I found it an absolute grabber, largely because of the intelligent animal life ("prowlers" and "mockers") and the way the relations between them and the humans on the planet Ragnarok developed. Though I have not read the whole compilation, I did note, while hefting the book in my hands at the store, that a very bad sequel to *The Survivors* (I believe the title was *The Space Barbarians*) was not included; I'm glad to note that some editors have the sense to realize that every so often there is a book so awful that the reader's fans don't *want* it to be remembered! Good to have the other stuff, though, and perhaps I'll buy the compilation at some point.

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Date:November 22nd, 2005 06:36 am (UTC)

Re: The review

I did enjoy The Survivors, despite the flaws I saw in it. I often enjoy books quite thoroughly even though they have what seem like they should be fatal flaws when I consider them afterwards, while other books can fall flat even when I can't point to specific things the author did wrong. If I really understood what makes me like a story, there's a good chance I'd be writing for a living. Or maybe not; the hangup that keeps me from seriously trying to write isn't being able to come up with a story I want to tell.
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