[PDF / Epub] ☂ Before the Golden Age ✐ Isaac Asimov – Tshirtforums.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Before the Golden Age

  1. says:

    Over the last ten years, I ve dipped into this book intermittently at times, most recently in 2008, so it s been parked on my being read intermittently shelf since then But I ve recently decided to move it to started and not finished It isn t awful as such, like some of the permanently abandoned books on that shelf it s just that I ve realized that I m not really excited about finishing it, when there are so many other books out there I actually want to read and would be excited about I actually began reading it back when I was projecting the development of a college level SF class but when that fell through, the book ceased being vital reading for that plan The clincher to the decision to change shelves was the discovery that I d failed to write a partial review of the material I ve read up to now, as I would have if I d been following my current practice at the time So, I ll consign it to limbo, with the notation that the stories I read were workman like SF pulp, but not as worthwhile as most of the content in Adventures in Time and Space Famous Science Fiction Stories.


  2. says:

    I read these stories from the toddler years of SF with great delight One can see the child growing up from infancy to early childhood I can easily pick out two favourites in Sidewise in Time and The Parasite Planet.A worthy addition to the library of any aficionado.


  3. says:

    This thousand page monster is one of the longest books I have read for a very long time I didn t rush through it I picked it up in a second hand bookshop in 2003 and began reading it soon after I finished the final story on the last day of December 2010 Seven years from beginning to end exactly as long as the time frame 1931 1938 covered by the anthology itself, for this is a chronological showcase of Nineteen Thirties pulp SF edited by Isaac Asimov.The guiding principle behind BTGA is an interesting one, namely the magazine stories but not the novels or longer novellas that most impressed the youthful Asimov when he was an avid reader of SF but not yet published himself Hence the volume s title The Golden Age of SF is generally said to date from August 1938 with the publication of John Campbell s Who Goes There in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction to the beginning of the New Wave in the early 1960s Asimov was a crucial part of that Golden Age, as were Heinlein, Van Vogt and L Sprague de Camp None of those authors will be found in this anthology In fact, very few pre Golden Age writers survived into the Golden Age and many of the names in BTGA were unfamiliar to me.Some of the authors in BTGA are represented by than one story Edmond Hamilton has three, all of them founded on intriguing concepts and every one solidly written The piece that kicks off the volume is one of his, The Man Who Evolved , a nicely wrought tale with an inevitable but genuinely satisfying ending Later in the volume, another Hamilton story, Devolution , serves as its reciprocal and answer but the best Hamilton contribution on display here is The Accursed Galaxy , which is based on the fabulous conceit that the human race is a dreadful virus, a disease so terrible that our galaxy can be regarded as infected , causing all the other galaxies to flee in panic, which explains why the universe is expanding.Although The man Who Evolved is a powerful opener, the story that immediately follows it, The Jameson Satellite by Neil R Jones, is far creaky Asimov regards it as the weakest piece in the book, but in fact the core dilemma at the heart of the plot is very good a scientist held in suspended animation in a sealed space capsule is awakened in the far future by a race of alien cyborgs Humanity has ceased to exist the refugee from the past is offered a choice between living out his natural span as the last relic of his race, dying a natural death and condemning the human race to oblivion, or being converted into a cyborg, losing his humanity but gaining immortality and the opportunity to acquire vast knowledge.The conceit of a man who is put into suspension only to awake thousands or millions of years later was a popular pulp SF device Nat Schachner contrives a situation whereby an Ancient Greek and an American from the 1930s both end up in a far future dystopia resembling the social hierarchy of Brave New World Schachner betrays a greater grasp of social issues than most of his contemporaries and Past, Present and Future is enriched by a political awareness generally lacking in the other BTGA stories It s a worthy read, but the most startling deployment of the sleeper awakes theme occurs in the story The Man Who Awoke by Laurence Manning, the first in a linked series that follows the adventures of one Norman Winters through vast eras of future history This first instalment has made me curious to seek out the entire set, and they do all exist in book form I consider this to be an essential purchase for 2011 The Man Who Awoke demonstrates an acute ecological sensitivity that is startling for a story written in 1933.Another popular theme, possibly even overused by early pulp SF writers, is the shrinking man who has adventures on the surfaces of atoms Ray Cummings specialised in this kind of story in the 1920s Another specialist was Captain S.P Meek, represented in BTGA by two linked novellas, Submicroscopic and Awlo of Ulm Colourful, vibrant and bigoted, these display all the worst qualities of pulp SF and yet they are not without their redeeming features Certainly they possess incredible momentum, far than for instance P Schuyler Miller s Tetrahedra of Space , which is reminiscent of the very first Jack Williamson story, The Metal Man Lush and overwritten, Tetrahedra of Space is followed by the crisp and bitterly ironic The World of the Red Sun by Clifford D Simak, a time machine exploit with an exceptionally bleak ending.Time travel also plays a significant role in Jack Williamson s The Moon Era , which rather unusually takes place on a much younger version of our Earth s satellite, a miniature world with its own atmosphere and strange flora and fauna It s an enjoyable romp but completely overshadowed by Williamson s second contribution to BTGA, Born of the Sun , an astonishing example of the thought variant subgenre, in which it emerges that the planets and satellites of our solar system are in fact the ready to hatch eggs of immense star birds Williamson was one of the few truly successful pre Golden Age writers to survive intact into the Golden Age he had a vibrant and lengthy career Many years ago I read The Early Williamson, a showcase of the stories that first established him as a name in the SF field, and I was impressed his ideas were always original and interesting and his grasp of plot relatively sophisticated.Returning to the shrinking man theme, two offbeat treatments can be found in BTGA Henry Hasse s He Who Shrank , which takes the concept to an extreme, its unfortunate narrator descending through uncountable submicroscopic universes nested inside each other, with the implication that the loop will eventually be closed and Donald Wandrei s Colossus , which reverses the idea, the main protagonist expanding in size until he grows bigger than our universe, which turns out to be a single atom in a much larger cosmos Hasse s prose style is dense and overwrought and reminiscent of the Weird Tales standard Wandrei s is extremely clumsy and awkward and doesn t do justice to his concepts.Charles R Tanner is a forgotten name now, but Asimov cites him as a major early influence, and on the strength of Tumithak of the Corridors and its sequel, Tumithak of Shawm , one can understand why Both novellas are well written and unusual, almost the sort of thing a youthful Jack Vance might have written, and indeed they are among the highlights of BTGA Apparently Tanner wrote four Tumithak novellas which combine to make a novel it s out there somewhere, issued by a small press, and is undoubtedly worth making the effort to seek out.I was less enthralled by Raymond Z Gallun s Old Faithful , which is a sympathetic portrait of an alien being along the lines established by Stanley Weinbaum s justly famous A Martian Odyssey in the July 1934 issue of Wonder Stories That particular Weinbaum story doesn t appear in BTGA, as Asimov states that he was unaware of it at the time, but The Parasite Planet does, and it s almost as good, with a traditional hostile world scenario rendered special by a superior writing technique and skilfully timed dynamic Weinbaum would surely have become a major Golden Age author had he lived long enough, but he died of cancer only eighteen months into his career at the age of 33.Murray Leinster, as an extreme contrast to Weinbaum, enjoyed a career of immense duration His first SF story, The Runaway Skyscraper , was published in 1919 in the pages of Argosy, predating Williamson by one decade and Asimov by two Sideways in Time is the first properly developed lateral dimensions story Various alternate presents appear on Earth at the same moment, turning our world into a patchwork of bizarre lateral civilisations The concept is vast and difficult to handle, but Leinster does a good job, though his prose is a little stiff By the time of his second contribution to BTGA, Proxima Centauri , he has become a much fluid and controlled writer, and in fact this tale of an alien race that has evolved from carnivorous plants and travels in wooden spaceships is one of the finest in the anthology.A quirky story that rises above its numerous defects and becomes almost an example of unintentional surrealism is The Human Pets of Mars by Leslie F Stone, the only female writer represented in this volume and one of the few women active in the field in the 1930s of whom the greatest was probably C.L Moore Asimov claims that The Human Pets of Mars no longer stands up, and yet I found it thoroughly enjoyable Owing as much to Swiftian satire as contemporary pulp SF, Stone s parable of a group of humans who are abducted by octopus like aliens and turned into domestic pets, fed on overich food, pampered and punished, subjected to mystifying training sessions, is amusing It reads almost like a parody of pulp SF, though almost certainly that wasn t Stone s intention I found it even entertaining than the story that immediately follows it, The Brain Stealers of Mars by John W Campbell.Campbell is represented in BTGA by two stories, one of which is a sort of speculative essay in a series designed to educate the casual reader about the conditions on the various planets of the solar system Other Eyes Watching is a mildly interesting piece but nothing special The Brain Stealers of Mars , on the other hand, is actually a very good story, a puzzle tale about two maverick adventurers stuck in a very nasty tight spot who must use wits rather than brawn to escape a dreadful fate.The authentic puzzle tale is an abstruse subgenre of its own, known in German as a gedanken One of the finest examples of this specialised genre rounds of BTGA in fine style, Ross Rocklynne s The Men and the Mirror Rocklynne should have been as big as Asimov and Heinlein but for some reason it never quite worked for him, although he was an important part of the Golden Age and a major influence on Asimov The Men and the Mirror drops its two protagonists into a situation where only a good understanding of the laws of physics, coupled with an accurate mathematical ability, will be able to get them out It s an ingenious tale It also happens to be well written and is undoubtedly the highlight of BTGA.I have neglected to mention that Asimov includes one of his own stories in the anthology, Big Game , an early piece he thought had been lost It s a slight throwaway affair, scarcely worthy of the mighty author who penned Foundation Of vastly greater significance are the autobiographical linking pieces between each of the stories in which Asimov talks about his youthful discovery of SF, his own attempts to write it and the rocky road of his home life and education.BTGA was worth reading, but I feel obliged to stress that it s not really an anthology that can be digested all in one go without extensive pauses between the stories The quality of the writing is mostly competent but rarely brilliant and although there s a tendency to forgive such clumsy prose by saying It was only the 1930s it must be remembered that writers such as Yevgeny Zamyatin, Karel apek, Frigyes Karinthy and Olaf Stapledon had already produced immensely sophisticated SF before this time Pulp magazine SF was enjoyable and often responsible for some genuinely intriguing and original concepts, but it was still pulp fiction, not highbrow literature.


  4. says:

    This is an anthology edited by Isaac Asimov He picked stories from the 1930 s that he felt were memerable or important in the development of science fiction at the time.He surrounds each stories with autobiographical interludes telling about his life and times at the time he read the story So we get a peek at Asimov s life and a peek at lots of old,Classic SF stories.Of the 26 stories, some of course are much dated than others A few I found really pretty bad However, most of these stores have NOT been collected very often and would take some searching to find If you ARE curious to read early science fiction and see how the genre was 70 years ago, this anthology would be a good starting point Note for paperback publication it was split into two volumes Recommended for those who are fans of Asimov and those curious about the early years of science fiction.


  5. says:

    this book was amazing, but probably has a pretty specific audience some of the stories are awkward by today s standards both literary and science y but always fascinating as a sort of sociological record of the thirties the best part is definitely asimov s commentary he has written a sort of autobiographical intro as well as a page or two between each story placing them in the context of his life and burgeoning science fiction interest asimov is brilliant and he knows it and he s still brilliant, if you get me the stories are eclectic and colorful and extremely well presented.


  6. says:

    Before the Golden Age A Science Fiction Anthology of the 1930 s Isaac Asimov could sure put together a mean anthology, and this has to be one of his best There are so many great stories in this book that I won t list them all, but my favourite has to be Jack Williamson s classic Wellsian tale The Moon Era This is an absolute gem of a story, which featured a complex and sympathetic alien protagonist the mother several years before the first appearance of Tweel, in Stanley G Weinbaum s classic SF short story A Martian Odyssey But, then, Jack Williamson was often ahead of everybody in SF, wasn t he With what seems to be a recent resurgence in popularity of classic Golden Age and pre Golden Age SF and the growth of specialist SF publishers such as Haffner Press, who concentrate on collectible editions of golden oldie classics from the same era, BEFORE THE GOLDEN AGE is an absolute must have for all fans of this kind of SF This is one of my favourite SF anthologies, EVER A mammoth hardcover of over a thousand pages, which is broken up into three sometimes four books when published in paperback, this book collects some of the best SF stories of the 1930s Bursting at the seams with nostalgia and sensawunda, I d recommend this gem of an anthology to all fans of early SF This huge hardcover, the original edition, is the most desirable for true collectors and I m totally thrilled to have it But if you can t find it or afford the expense , track down the much cheaper paperback volumes, which seem to be found easily enough on or Ebay You won t regret it.


  7. says:

    Nerdy, geeky, cheesy, but endlessly fun These are all words that come to mind when thinking about Isaac Asimov s Before the Golden Age anthology In 1974 the famous and prolific science fiction writer put together this collection of stories from the 1930 s It is certainly worth a good read for various reasons The stories are framed by an autobiographical narrative by Asimov about his high school years when he worked in his father s candy store The store kept a stock of pulp science fiction magazines which his father thought were trash but they fascinated the young Asimov anyways In between each story, Asimov gives brief anecdotes about his life along with commentaries and background information about each selection These were the stories that he found most memorable and influential Common themes emerge throughout the book One of them is travel It could be said that most of these stories are actually adventure tales that take place in a science fiction setting There is a proliferation of space travel and time travel but a couple stories also deal with the theme of shrinking down to subatomic size and traveling in the smallest regions possible A lot of stories are claustrophobic as well Many take place in underground tunnels, domed cities, lonely laboratories and, most of all, a whole host of various space travel vessels Isaac Asimov admitted to having a fascination for enclosed spaces so these themes might be less of a particular literary pattern and of a preference of the editor himself Being a science fiction anthology, the prevalence of the hard sciences is also a key element in all these stories Biology, evolution, atomic and mechanical physics, technological warfare, environmentalism, robotics, and relativity all serve as the basis in one place or another These stories are science fiction, though, with the emphasis on the fiction While the physical sciences frame these writings, the plots easily fly off into the wildest realms of fantasy and imagination Scientific accuracy takes a backseat to wild story telling One memorable story, The World Of the Red Sun , involves two men who travel into the future where a tyrant uses telepathy to plant nightmarish delusions in peoples heads, making it easy to control them with fear the time travelers learn that the despot is motivated by deeply rooted insecurity and narcissism, so they start laughing at him thereby weakening him to the point where he is easy to kill Here we get a little social commentary on the psychology of bullying, making me wonder if the author had a particular person in mind when writing the story And wouldn t it be great if we could destroy Donald Trump simply by laughing him into oblivion Another story, Born Of the Sun , is about how the Earth and moon are actually eggs containing flying green monsters that cause an apocalypse as they start to emerge from the shells two men and a woman build a space craft so they can leave and begin repopulating the human race in outer space while a doomsday religious cult tries to stop them Towards the end, another story, Other Eyes Watching , possibly a precursor of Stanislaw Lem s Solaris, is about two astronauts who show up on Mars where a race of creatures draw data out of their unconscious minds and use it to reproduce twenty clones of themselves They have to think quickly, using logic and basic scientific knowledge to outsmart the clones and prove which ones are not the real Earth men While scientific gadgetry plays a central part in these stories, many of them pose puzzles that need to be solved with a bit of psychology rather than brute force That brains over brawn element is what separates science fiction in its highest and truest sense from the less exciting pulp stories of people with ray guns fighting bug eyed monster aliens In addition to the science based wild imagination of each story, there is also some cultural baggage of the time that finds its way in The 1930 s saw the last days of the Prohibition era, the onset of the Great Depression, and the rise of fascism in Europe too It was a bleak time for America These short stories are undoubtedly escapist but escapism can indicate what it is the authors and readers were escaping from The idea of all pervading loneliness, alienation, and mediocrity is mentioned by the narrators Many of these scientists are lone individuals who work in solitary laboratories while being ignored by the rest of the world Using a motif rooted in the telling of classic fairy tales, the ordinary man travels to another world and becomes transformed into somebody extraordinary by embarking on colorful adventures that result in heroic status at the end as he saves the lives of space aliens, subatomic humans, or even ordinary humans in some cases One sad and lonely guy even falls in love with a female fur ball with purple eyes and giant lips when he travels to the moon which is far exciting than his life in Texas as a high school math teacher On the downside, the worst cultural baggage in these stories is racism Many of the monsters and villains are racial caricatures, based on negative and unfair stereotypes In his commentaries, the ever Liberal Asimov rightly criticizes this racism which was all too common in that era But rather than simply dismissing it outright, he uses these stories as examples of how to spot racism in literature, explaining why it is harmful and why it needs to be avoided in future science fiction writing The stories in this anthology vary in quality but they do not vary greatly The are easy enough to read but there are a lot of them Retro junkies and fans of vintage culture will find a lot to like here Most significantly, you can read this literature as one of the starting points that would eventually lead to comics, tv shows like Star Trek and The Outer Limits, movies like Star Wars and the whole plethora of sci fi books that have been produced up until now.


  8. says:

    This huge old dinosaur of a book from the early 1970 s collected what Asimov felt to be the best of old dinosaurs from the 1930 s the pre Campbell golden age era The stories are for the most part crude by modern standards in so far as characterization and, in some cases, narration, but they are filled with the sense of wonder element that popularized the genre Asimov s lengthy autobiographical interludes are interesting but occasionally grow a little tedious, but it s easy to skim them and launch into the next story Great stuff from Murray Leinster, Jack Williamson, Edmond Hamilton, and many others, including Campbell himself My favorites were probably the two Tumithak stories by Charles R Tanner It s a terrific history of the beginnings of the field.


  9. says:

    I m enjoying these stories from the early days of science fiction in the 1930s, as quaint as some of them seem nowadays Interesting that in these stories the travel through space or matter is the result of individuals, not concerted efforts by large groups or nations Several stories explore the relationships between what might be called the microcosmoses and macrocosmoses, where the protagonist either shrinks or grows and finds multiple levels of universes built on the same patterns May 26, 2009.


  10. says:

    An entertaining mix of sci fi history and Asimov autobiography It s an excellent selection of science fiction stories that influenced the Golden Age authors The stories got progressively better I thoroughly enjoyed most of them, and it was fascinating to see the advanced ideas that were being used as early as the 30salso rather comical the sheer number of phenomena they attributed to cosmic rays A must read for the sci fi buff who can t get his hands on any 1930s sci fi magazines.


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Before the Golden Age download Before the Golden Age, read online Before the Golden Age, kindle ebook Before the Golden Age, Before the Golden Age 3ae35ca800d7 Science Fiction Stories, Complete In One Volume, Originally Published Before When The Golden Age Of SF Began , With Autobiographical Remarks By Asimov Before Each Story Includes A Previously Unpublished Story By Asimov, Big GameComplete Text In One Volume Contents IntroductionPart To By Isaac AsimovPart Two By Isaac Asimov The Man Who Evolved Edmond Hamilton, Wonder Stories Apr The Jameson Satellite Neil R Jones, Amazing Jul Submicroscopic Captain S P Meek, Amazing Aug Awlo Of Ulm Captain S P Meek, Amazing Sep Tetrahedra Of Space P Schuyler Miller, Wonder Stories Nov The World Of The Red Sun Clifford D Simak, Wonder Stories Dec Part Three By Isaac Asimov Tumithak Of The Corridors Charles R Tanner, Amazing Jan The Moon Era Jack Williamson, Wonder Stories Feb Part Four By Isaac Asimov The Man Who Awoke Laurence Manning, Wonder Stories Mar Tumithak In Shawm Charles R Tanner, Amazing Jun Part Five By Isaac Asimov Colossus Donald Wandrei, Astounding Jan Born Of The Sun Jack Williamson, Astounding Mar Sidewise In Time Murray Leinster, Astounding Jun Old Faithful Raymond Z Gallun, Astounding Dec Part Six By Isaac Asimov Parasite Planet Stanley G Weinbaum, Astounding Feb Proxima Centauri Murray Leinster, Astounding Mar The Accursed Galaxy Edmond Hamilton, Astounding Jul Part Seven By Isaac Asimov He Who Shrank Henry Hasse, Amazing Aug The Human Pets Of Mars Leslie F Stone, Amazing Oct The Brain Stealers Of Mars John W Campbell, Jr Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec Devolution Edmond Hamilton, Amazing Dec Big Game Isaac Asimov Written Part Eight By Isaac Asimov Other Eyes Watching John W Campbell, Jr Astounding Feb Minus Planet John D Clark, PhD Astounding Apr Past, Present And Future Nat Schachner, Astounding Sep Part Nine By Isaac Asimov The Men And The Mirror Ross Rocklynne, Astounding Jul