Great book cover, right? Aloha, science fiction fans! Hang onto your seats!
This week’s compact yet thoroughly satisfying book, Richard E. Peck’s “Vintage Science Fiction,” has 13 stories that span the years 1969 through 1979, the so-called “New Wave” or “Silver Age” of science fiction. This is right in the beginning of the era where science fiction was breaking out of the niche market and expanding into the cultural mindset. In our time, the genre has become mainstream where movies like “Avatar” and “Star Wars” rank as the highest-grossing of all time and have become an integral part of the tapestry of our culture.
This compilation of 13 tales features a wide variety of genres in science fiction. The ideas are terrific! For instance, what if the Titanic hadn’t hit an iceberg, but an “iceberg” hit the Titanic, and you’re in space? That is the first story “In Alien Waters.” The book also contains tales that feature space travel (with an early version of “slipstream technology”), a host of aliens similar to us (but fortunately aren’t BEMs (bug-eyed monsters), some featuring what we today would know as GPS, and a few are dystopian visions of the future. Like watching film noir, these stories are a nostalgic foray into the earlier works of science fiction when stories were breaking new ground with a unique character all their own.
Richard E. Peck, author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books, is also a playwright (several of his plays have been performed on Kauai) and a part-time resident and has regular articles in publications on the island. The stories he has crafted in this genre were even influential enough to propel his son to eventually be the chief technologist at NASA! Powerful stuff! And one of our better sellers in our bookstore!
Ed and Cynthia Justus are the owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.