Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book reivew: Venus Equilateral

Fantastic Collectibles is a great place to get old Science Fiction books. I recently treated myself to over a dozen books, many of which were between $1 to $3.

Venus Equilateral is a collection of short stories about great scientists who work on a relay station in the L4 or L5 orbit for Venus. The author, George O. Smith, realized that if people moved to Mercury, Venus and Mars, there would be times when the sun would be between two planets, making it impossible to communicate. The Venus Equilateral Relay Station was built to allow messages to be transmitted around the sun.

The stories are very dated. Many of the stories were published in Astounding Science Fiction between 1942 and 1945. Often the heroes go into technical details in trying to solve various problems.

Don Channing, one of the heroes, is the ultimate engineer. He is forced to deal with crooks, lawyers and businessmen. He and his gang whip out new technical marvels in almost every story. For example in one of the later stories they build a matter duplicating machine. George O. Smith does a great job in exploring the impact of that on society. Think about what it would mean if you had a machine that could duplicate money, gold, cars, books, and so on.

I did enjoy the stories, but the dated technical details bogged me down at times. On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this a 3.

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