Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Sci-fi book cover: "Star Ways"
(aka Kilts in Space?)

  • Title: Star Ways
  • Cover blurb: "Enjoyable from first to last. Fast-moving and convincing." — Astounding Science-Fiction
  • Author: Poul Anderson (1926-2001). One of the titans of the science-fiction genre. He was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to Danish parents. According to the Nebula Awards website, "Anderson is probably best known for adventure stories in which larger-than-life characters succeed gleefully or fail heroically. His characters were nonetheless thoughtful, often introspective, and well developed. His plot lines frequently involved the application of social and political issues in a speculative manner appropriate to the science fiction genre."
  • Cover artist: Ed Emshwiller, according to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. (He's not credited in the book, but his nickname appears within the illustration.) Emshwiller's work was also featured in this 2014 post.
  • Publisher: Ace Books (D-568)
  • Cover price: 35 cents
  • Publication year: 1963 for this edition. Star Ways was first published in 1956 and has many editions.
  • Pages: 143
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dediction: "To the MFS — all of them"
  • First sentence: There is a planet beyond the edge of the known, and its name is Rendezvous.
  • Wouldn't having a name make it known? Hush up.
  • Last sentence: The sky darkened around them and the stars came forth.
  • What came fifth? Oh, a wise guy, eh?
  • Random sentence from the middle: His black eyebrows lifted courteously.
  • I got nothing. Me either.
  • Goodreads rating: 3.28 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2014, Ari wrote: "It was one of Anderson's first novels, and the style feels a bit more clipped and the characters a bit shallower than his later work. ... The economics in the novel make no sense. It's hard to imagine interstellar starships selling home made handicrafts."
  • Amazon rating: 2.4 stars (out of 5.0) Some of those low ratings appear to have been unfairly assigned due to the quality of the ebook edition the reader purchased.
  • Amazon review excerpt: In 2017, Indiana Reviewer wrote: "The book displays an early version of Poul Anderson which includes some quite unrealistic SF elements. That an alien who evolved on another world could pass for a stunningly beautiful woman is unlikely to the extreme, and is a fatal and unrepairable flaw in this novel, for that is a central theme from beginning to end. If the reader can overlook that, the story is quite decent."
  • Reddit dunks on the cover: Some excerpts:
    • I dig the space kilt! Finally the fellas have to suffer with impractical spacewear!
    • It looks like Emsh took every prop he had in the room for that wardrobe idea.
    • I don't think plaid should be paired with... any of that.

1 comment:

  1. If you hadn't given the publication date, I would have guessed this was a retitled novel with the intent to ride the Star Wars wave of the late '70's, especially the way the title almost looks like a sticker placed over the original.