I was moved to write this new Books That Time Forgot post after looking up Bob Shaw, one of my favourite authors, on Goodreads and seeing that many of his works had actually garnered only two star ratings from some readers. Two stars? Insane!
Vertigo is an extended short-story based in a society where anti-gravity belts are commonplace and people fly. This new-found freedom comes at a price with criminal gangs, closely resembling the outlaw motorcycle gangs of today, making flying hazardous. Onto this scene plummets a traumatised ex-flying cop. Could be very loosely described as a sort of flying Mad Max/Hawkworld, sort of, but not really. Just read it. It’s also set in Alberta, Canada where the author lived (as did I) for a short period.
The Ragged Astronauts postulates two planets linked by a narrow strand of breathable atmosphere and the attempt by the barbaric, pre-industrial world of Land to reach it’s sister world of Overland. I.e. a pre-industrial space programme based on primitive balloons. Fantasic idea, had me glued the moment it came out. There’s also an excellent sequel called The Wooden Spaceships.
In the The Two-Timers a man’s wife is murdered. the solution? Simple- just work out how to travel to parallel universes and time-travel. Now go back in time, kill the murderer and dispose of your parallel wife’s parallel husband. In other words, remove the parallel you, then assume his life. I wonder if the Fringe writers knew about this novel?
Honestly, almost everything Bob Shaw wrote was great, I know this because I’ve read it. You should too.
*He’s also the author I completely failed to meet, along with Harry Harrison by hanging out at the One Tun Inn.