Imatge de l'autor

A. Bertram Chandler (1912–1984)

Autor/a de The Big Black Mark

220+ obres 5,373 Membres 91 Ressenyes 10 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Crèdit de la imatge: photo credit: paul collins


Obres de A. Bertram Chandler

The Big Black Mark (1975) — Prefaci, algunes edicions204 exemplars
The Inheritors / Gateway to Never (1978) 188 exemplars
The Broken Cycle (1975) — Pròleg, algunes edicions148 exemplars
Spartan planet (1968) — Pròleg, algunes edicions142 exemplars
The Rim of Space (1958) 138 exemplars
The Far Traveler (1977) — Prefaci, algunes edicions134 exemplars
The Way Back (1976) 131 exemplars
Star Courier (1977) — Prefaci, algunes edicions116 exemplars
To Keep the Ship (1978) — Prefaci, algunes edicions110 exemplars
Kelly Country (1984) 108 exemplars
Star Loot (1980) — Pròleg, algunes edicions103 exemplars
The Anarch Lords (1981) — Prefaci, algunes edicions103 exemplars
Frontier Of The Dark (1984) 89 exemplars
Empress of Outer Space / The Alternate Martians (1965) — Autor — 88 exemplars
Rendezvous on a Lost World (1961) 84 exemplars
The Wild Ones (1984) 83 exemplars
Matilda's Stepchildren (1979) — Prefaci, algunes edicions83 exemplars
The Road to the Rim (1967) 73 exemplars
The Rim Gods / The High Hex (Ace Double 72400) (1968) — Autor — 71 exemplars
Secret Agent of Terra / The Rim of Space (1962) — Autor — 66 exemplars
Nebula Alert / The Rival Rigelians (1967) — Autor — 65 exemplars
The Last Amazon (1984) — Prefaci, algunes edicions63 exemplars
To the Galactic Rim (2011) 63 exemplars
The Lost Millennium / The Road to the Rim (1967) — Autor — 58 exemplars
The coils of time (1940) 56 exemplars
John Grimes: Tramp Captain (1990) 54 exemplars
The Inheritors (1972) — Autor; Prefaci, algunes edicions54 exemplars
To Prime the Pump (1971) 53 exemplars
First Command (2011) 51 exemplars
John Grimes: Survey Captain (2002) 51 exemplars
John Grimes: Reserve Commodore (2004) 50 exemplars
Beyond the Galactic Rim (1959) 49 exemplars
Catch the Star Winds (1969) 47 exemplars
Bring Back Yesterday (1961) 46 exemplars
Alternate Orbits (1971) 41 exemplars
John Grimes: Rim Runner (2004) 41 exemplars
Space Mercenaries (1965) 39 exemplars
The hard way up (1972) — Pròleg, algunes edicions37 exemplars
The Rim Gods (1968) 33 exemplars
The Alternate Martians (1965) 30 exemplars
Contraband From Otherspace (1967) 29 exemplars
The Hamelin Plague (1963) 29 exemplars
John Grimes: Rim Commander (2005) 24 exemplars
The Dark Dimensions (1971) 24 exemplars
The Gateway to Never (1972) 22 exemplars
The Ship From Outside (2015) 21 exemplars
Into the alternate universe (1964) 20 exemplars
The Sea Beasts (1971) 20 exemplars
Gateway to Never (John Grimes) (2015) 19 exemplars
Empress of Outer Space (1965) 18 exemplars
The Deep Reaches of Space (1967) 18 exemplars
Giant Killer [short fiction] (1945) 15 exemplars
A Clockwork Lemon 14 exemplars
Nebula Alert (1967) 13 exemplars
Kosmisk gåta (1982) 9 exemplars
All Laced Up 9 exemplars
From Sea to Shining Star (1990) 9 exemplars
Aphrodite Project 9 exemplars
The bitter pill (1974) 8 exemplars
The Mountain Movers (1971) 8 exemplars
Bad Patch 8 exemplars
Critical Angle 7 exemplars
Glory Planet (1964) 7 exemplars
The Tin Fishes 7 exemplars
Fire Brand! 6 exemplars
The Word 6 exemplars
The Soul Machine [John Grimes] (1969) 6 exemplars
Artifact 5 exemplars
The Man Who Sailed The Sky (1971) 5 exemplars
With Good Intentions (1972) 5 exemplars
The Subtracter (1969) 5 exemplars
The Sleeping Beauty (1970) 5 exemplars
The Sister Ships (1971) 5 exemplars
The Wandering Buoy (1970) 5 exemplars
What You Know (1971) 5 exemplars
The Forest Of Knives (1901) 5 exemplars
Hall Of Fame (1969) 5 exemplars
SOS, Planet Unknown 5 exemplars
The Rub (1970) 5 exemplars
Chance Encounter 5 exemplars
Jetsam 5 exemplars
Grimes At Glenrowan 5 exemplars
Forbidden Planet 5 exemplars
The Winds Of If 5 exemplars
Familiar Pattern 5 exemplars
Raiders of the Solar Frontier (1950) 5 exemplars
Stability 4 exemplars
The Tides Of Time 4 exemplars
The Last Hunt 4 exemplars
Final Voyage 4 exemplars
Last Day 4 exemplars
Precession 4 exemplars
Change Of Heart (1962) 4 exemplars
The Golden Journey 4 exemplars
One Came Back 4 exemplars
Drift 4 exemplars
Haunt 4 exemplars
The Principle 4 exemplars
Sea Change 4 exemplars
Journey's End 4 exemplars
Dawn Of Nothing 4 exemplars
Two Can Play 4 exemplars
Fall Of Knight 4 exemplars
Special Knowledge 4 exemplars
Reaping Time 4 exemplars
Long Way 3 exemplars
The Habit 3 exemplars
What's In a Name? 3 exemplars
In The Box 3 exemplars
Sense of Wonder 3 exemplars
Last Dreamer 3 exemplars
The Idol 3 exemplars
The Pied Potter 3 exemplars
Shadow Before 3 exemplars
Castaway 3 exemplars
Seeing Eye 3 exemplars
Le Long Détour (1976) 3 exemplars
Ghost 3 exemplars
Late 3 exemplars
Traveler's Tale 3 exemplars
Hindsight 3 exemplars
The Hairy Parents 3 exemplars
The Key 3 exemplars
The Sleeping Beast 3 exemplars
New Wings 3 exemplars
To Run The Rim 3 exemplars
The Underside 3 exemplars
The Wrong Track 3 exemplars
The Beholders 3 exemplars
Rim Change 3 exemplars
The Song 3 exemplars
The Proper Gander 3 exemplars
Preview Of Peril 3 exemplars
The Outsiders 3 exemplars
Wet Paint 3 exemplars
On The Account 3 exemplars
The Long Fall 3 exemplars
The Dutchman 3 exemplars
False Dawn 2 exemplars
Universum der Roboter (1975) 2 exemplars
The Ultimate Vice 2 exemplars
UFO 2 exemplars
Moonfall 2 exemplars
Second Meeting 1 exemplars
Anno 2000 1 exemplars
The Serpent 1 exemplars
Path of Glory 1 exemplars
Motivation [short fiction] (1958) 1 exemplars
Tower Of Darkness 1 exemplars
Lady Dog 1 exemplars
Gift Horse 1 exemplars
Man Alone 1 exemplars

Obres associades

Great Tales of the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1989) — Col·laborador — 434 exemplars
The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus (1973) — Col·laborador — 248 exemplars
The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels (1980) — Col·laborador — 173 exemplars
A Science Fiction Omnibus (1973) — Col·laborador — 148 exemplars
12 Great Classics of Science Fiction (1963) — Col·laborador — 146 exemplars
Penguin Science Fiction (1961) — Col·laborador — 136 exemplars
8th Annual Edition: The Year's Best S-F (1963) — Col·laborador — 116 exemplars
The Year 2000 (1970) — Col·laborador — 112 exemplars
Science Fiction of the 50's (1971) — Col·laborador — 109 exemplars
The Fantastic Universe Omnibus (1960) — Col·laborador — 106 exemplars
Isaac Asimov: Science Fiction Masterpieces (1986) — Col·laborador — 100 exemplars
Lambda I and Other Stories (1964) — Col·laborador — 89 exemplars
Flying Saucers (1982) — Col·laborador — 89 exemplars
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: 7th Series (1958) — Col·laborador — 84 exemplars
The Penguin World Omnibus of Science Fiction (1986) — Col·laborador — 72 exemplars
Best SF: 1967 (1968) — Col·laborador — 69 exemplars
Great Short Novels of Science Fiction (1970) — Autor — 68 exemplars
Tales from the Planet Earth (1986) — Col·laborador — 65 exemplars
The Best Australian Science Fiction: A Fifty Year Collection (2004) — Col·laborador; Col·laborador — 65 exemplars
Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 19 (1957) (1989) — Col·laborador — 64 exemplars
Tales from Super-Science Fiction (2012) — Col·laborador — 57 exemplars
Beyond Tomorrow: Anthology of Modern Science Fiction (1976) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions51 exemplars
Anthropology Through Science Fiction (1974) — Col·laborador — 46 exemplars
Tomorrow Bites (1995) — Col·laborador — 44 exemplars
City on the Moon / Men on the Moon (Ace Double) (1953) — Col·laborador — 44 exemplars
The Random House Book of Science Fiction Stories (1996) — Col·laborador — 44 exemplars
No Place Like Earth [collection] (1951) — Col·laborador — 43 exemplars
SF: Authors' Choice 2 (1970) — Col·laborador — 41 exemplars
Centaurus: The Best of Australian SF (1999) — Col·laborador — 40 exemplars
Ensimmäinen yhteys : tieteisnovelleja (1988) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions22 exemplars
Novella : 3 (1978) — Col·laborador — 21 exemplars
Worst Contact (2015) — Col·laborador — 17 exemplars
Macabre: A Journey Through Australia's Darkest Fears (2010) — Col·laborador — 14 exemplars
Gateway to Tomorrow: A Science Fiction Anthology (1954) — Col·laborador — 13 exemplars
Galaxy Science Fiction 1973 May-June, Vol. 33, No. 6 (1973) — Col·laborador — 12 exemplars
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine: Vol. 6, No. 6 [June 1982] (1982) — Col·laborador — 11 exemplars
Galaxy Science Fiction 1969 July, Vol. 28, No. 5 (1969) — Col·laborador — 11 exemplars
Galaxy Science Fiction 1975 August, Vol. 36, No. 7 (1975) — Col·laborador — 11 exemplars
Astounding Science Fiction 1957 06 (1957) — Col·laborador — 10 exemplars
Astounding Science Fiction 1952 09 (1952) — Col·laborador — 10 exemplars
Amazing Stories Vol. 37, No. 9 [September 1963] (1963) — Autor — 9 exemplars
Galaxy Science Fiction 1969 August, Vol. 28, No. 6 (1969) — Col·laborador — 8 exemplars
Galaxy Science Fiction 1971 March, Vol. 31, No. 4 (1971) — Col·laborador — 8 exemplars
Out of This World Adventures, July 1950 — Col·laborador — 7 exemplars
Jim Baen's Universe 07 (2007) — Col·laborador — 6 exemplars
Astounding Science Fiction 1945 10 (1945) — Col·laborador — 6 exemplars
Science Fiction Stories 6 (1971) — Col·laborador — 6 exemplars
Science Fiction Stories 1 (1971) — Col·laborador — 6 exemplars
Astounding Science Fiction 1946 02 (1946) — Col·laborador — 6 exemplars
Criminal Justice through Science Fiction (1977) — Col·laborador — 6 exemplars
Fantastic Universe March 1957 (1957) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars
Vanguard Science Fiction, Vol. 1, No. 1 (June, 1958) (1958) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars
Science Fiction Stories 22 (1973) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars
Worlds of If Science Fiction 39, April 1957 (Vol. 7, No. 3) (2006) — Col·laborador — 4 exemplars
Worlds of If Science Fiction 48, October 1958 (Vol. 8, No. 6) (1958) — Col·laborador — 4 exemplars
Fantastic. No. 058 (August 1959) (1959) — Col·laborador — 4 exemplars
Science Fiction Stories May 1957 (1957) — Col·laborador — 3 exemplars
Imagination, August 1957 (Vol. 8, No. 4) (1957) — Col·laborador — 3 exemplars
Fantastic. No. 057 (July 1959) (1959) 2 exemplars
Fantastic Universe October 1954 — Col·laborador — 2 exemplars


Coneixement comú



This was an okay book; it had some interesting ideas and a cool action-packed space chase. The most interesting bit was the anti-telepath devices which consisted of a living bit of cat brain in a tube eternally screaming in hunger. Other than that, it was a quick read, I finished in about an hour and a half, and I was not angry that I read it. It was just an okay book; I can't really recommend it nor can I really recommend against it.
Ranjr | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Jul 13, 2023 |
This is a 4 in one omnibus edition, including: Breaking the Cycle, The Big Black Mark, The Far Traveler and Star Courier. I got through the first two and then had to stop. The plots aren't all that novel or interesting, but the worst part is the gender imbalance (always more men than women) and the poor portrayal of women, even when they are officers. The writing is interesting but the characters are a bit two dimensional and the relationships between Grimes and his various women is always wrong in many ways. Just too dated to continue with. These are old stories from the late 60's and early 70's, the technology isn't bad, but that's about all that's not outdated.… (més)
Karlstar | Jul 7, 2023 |
review of
A. Bertram Chandler's Kelly Country
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - June 21-27, 2016

This is probably Chandler's 'masterpiece'. I've written a long review entitled "Grimesblower" that you can find here: . This review is just the truncated version. I highly recommend reading the BOOK & then reading my full review.

I read about this one before I read the actual bk. I figured I'd find it one of his better bks & I did. If the writing style weren't so conventional I'd be tempted to give it a 5 star rating but 4 will have to do. Chandler was Australian for the latter yrs of his life & Australian subject matter runs deep thru his bks. Mentions of Aus folk heros abound.

"Every nation has its folk heroes. Very often such heroes are picturesque rogues—and the passage of time has added a spurious glamour to the reputation of many a vicious criminal. The English have their mythical Robin Hood, who stole (it is said) from the rich to give to the poor. They have the real life highwayman Dick Turpin, who just robbed the rich to fill his own pockets. In the U.S.A. there is, among quite a few others, Jesse James. In Australia there is Ned Kelly. He is not only a bushranger in our criminal history but he is the one whose name is most familiar to every Australian. Perhaps it is his famous armor that makes him loom so large in the national imagination, as a sort of living prophecy of the panzer warfare of the twentieth century. Too, there was something of Robin Hood about him. When he robbed a bank he made a great show of tearing up the mortgages that he found in the strongroom. This endeared him to the poor farmers heavily in debt to the financial institutions." - p 7

Kelly was partially reacting against police abuses of power.

"Certain sections of the press demanded that some members of the Victorian Police Force who had taken part in the siege be brought to trial on charges of manslaughter.

"But in those times that would have been going altogether too far." - p 13

As if anything's changed in that respect. Kelly was in the 19th century, we're now in the 21st (well, according to the calendar most commonly used in the culture I live in). Police & their cronies can still massacre people w/ impunity. Look at the mass murders of the MOVE family in Philadelphia, PA, & of the Branch-Davidians in Waco, TX.

In Kelly Country Chandler's recurring main character, John Grimes, isn't the usual captain of a spaceship but is, instead, a writer. Grimes is always transparently a stand-in for Chandler, who was a ship's captain as well as a writer, but he's even more so here where instead of being a spaceship captain he's an Australia-based writer.

"That morning I was doing what I am doing now. Writing. It could have been the same machine that I was using, a manually operated typewriter of German manufacture. I was working on yet-another novel in the never-ending series in which I had become trapped, a further installment of the adventures—and misadventures—of a character who had been referred to by Publishers Weekly as "science fiction's answer to Hornblower." When I was interrupted by the telephone I'd gotten to an interesting part of the story; my hero was putting up a token resistance against the amorous advances of a beautiful, blond, not too alien princess. I used a very appropriate word when my train of thought was disturbed by the insistent ringing. Nonetheless I did not answer the call until I had finished the sentence: ". . . made a major production of filling and lighting his pipe while trying to ignore her attentions."" - p 14

Chandler is routinely publicized as "science fiction's answer to Hornblower" & the "filling and lighting his pipe" thing is a typical Grimes-as-spaceman scene. Hence Grimes IS Chandler here. I enjoy the way that Chandler adapts his hero to the novel w/o bothering to try to justify the discontinuity (except, perhaps, as something that's implied by the time travel side-effects of the novel). I also enjoy the implication that such a discontinuity is a way of fucking w/ "the never-ending series in which" [the author] "had become trapped".

I was pleasantly surprised to find J. W. Dunne mentioned, whose bk An Experiment with Time I read the 1st 75pp of 4 decades or so ago. In Dunne's 1934 "Introduction to the Third Edition" he states:

"Multidimensional worlds of the kind beloved by mystics, and dating back to the days of the Indian philosopher Patañjali, have never appealed to me. To introduce a new dimension as a mere hypothesis (i.e., without logical compulsion) is the most extravagant proceeding possible. It could be justified only by the necessity of explaining some insistent fact which would appear, on any other hypothesis, miraculous. And a new and still more marvellous miracle would need to be discovered before we could venture to consider the possibility of yet another dimension. Even then the major difficulty would remain to be overcome. For why should the, say, five-dimensional observer of a five-dimensional world perceive that world as extended in only three dimensions?

"The universe which develops as a consequence of what is known to philosophers as the 'Infinite Regress' is entirely free from the forgoing objections.

"This 'Infinite Regress', I may explain to the uninitiated, is a curious logical development which appears immediately one begins to study 'self-consciousness' or 'will' or 'time'. A self-conscious person is one 'who knows that he knows'; a willer is one who, after all the motives which determine choice have been taken into account, can choose between those motives; and time is——but this book is about that." - pp v-vi, 1973 reprint, An Experiment with Time, Faber and Faber

""Finish your chili beef. We've an appointment."

""Who with?"

""Dr. Graumann. You must of heard of him."

""I have," I admitted. "The man who resurrected J. W. Dunne's theories about time.["]" - p 16

A somewhat odd interpolation occurs, one that's both obvious, not obvious enuf, & underexplicated, just dropped in:

""Mr. Duffin has been telling me about you, Mr. Grimes," he said. His accent was that of a New Yorker, I thought. "Perhaps I shall have greater success with you than with the real Australians."

"I told him, rather tartly, that I was real enough.

"Duffin said, "Dr. Graumann means the Aborigines, Grimes."" - p 17

William Bligh, most famous as the person rebelled against in the "Mutiny on the Bounty", is practically an obsession of Chandler's. The author has Grimes as a version of Bligh in The Big Black Mark (see my review here: ). SO, for regular readers of Chandler's work it's no surprise to encounter Ned Kelly & Bligh mentioned in the same paragraph:

"The man had the makings of an orator, a rabble rouser. To me, the twentieth century me, he was preaching to the at-least-half-converted. In my own time descent from convicts was no longer something to be concealed but, instead, to be boasted about. Governor Bligh was at last being looked upon as the tragic hero of the Rum Rebellion and the officers of the New South Wales Corps as the villains. And Ned Kelly, of course, was beginning to be regarded as more of a freedom fighter than a mere bushranger." - p 37

Since I'm an anarchist, I always look for the use of "anarchy" in bks. Sometimes "anarchy' is used in the fear-mongering way of "violent chaos", more rarely it's used to mean "individualist responsibility". Chandler's a bit more open to anarchy than many. In this instance, the character using the word pejoratively isn't a sympathetic one:

""Grimes! You must help! Make a fire on the tracks! You must stop the train!"


""Damn you, man! You know that the blackguard Kelly intends to do! If he gets away with it there will be anarchy all through the north east of Victoria!"

"And you won't get your reward, I thought. How much had it been? Five hundred and fifty pounds?" - p 41

In the outer-space travel novels there's a device called the "Mannschenn Drive" wch enables Faster-Than-Light travel & has time-bending side-effects. Chandler's descriptions always emphasize "precessing flywheels". In Kelly Country a similarly described device is used to enable Grimes to perceive the past thru the eyes of an ancestor:

"No, not the slowly rotating Mobius strip that I was expecting.

"It became a complexity of spidery, spinning wheels, set at odd angles each to each, spinning, precessing, seeming ever to be at the point of fading into invisibility but never quite doing so. . . . Precessing, and dragging my mind with them through the warped Continuum. . . . Precessing but spinning ever more slowly. . . ." - p 46

"Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotational axis of a rotating body. In an appropriate reference frame it can be defined as a change in the first Euler angle, whereas the third Euler angle defines the rotation itself. In other words, if the axis of rotation of a body is itself rotating about a second axis, that body is said to be precessing about the second axis. A motion in which the second Euler angle changes is called nutation. In physics, there are two types of precession: torque-free and torque-induced." -

In Chandler's variation on time travel the traveler can remember multiple time tracks: "One of me loves Asiatic food—Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese—the other has only memories of what such meals look like and taste like. From the foundation of the Republic onwards there was a very strict White Australia policy." (p 49) W/o getting into too much spoiler detail, the changes wrought by Grimes's experiencing the time of Ned Kelly through his ancestor are an accidental side-effect of Grimes's support for Kelly as a man fighting back against economic oppression. Alas, this backfires & a fear-of-a-'Yellow-Peril' is one consequence:

"He got out of the car to open a rear door for me. I told him that I would sooner ride in front. This was a mistake as he was a non-stop talker.

""Have ye been seein' the mornin' papers, sir?" he asked. "Things are bad in the Nam an' it's gettin' worse they are. Maybe I shouldn't be sayin' this to ye—but I'm after thinkin' that we should ha' pulled out when the Yanks did. I did me spell in the Nam an' I know what it's like. The people there hate our guts—and why shouldn't they? Why shouldn't they be let to have their revolution in peace—like the Yanks had theirs an' we had ours? What's the world a-comin' to if ye can't settle yer family squabbles without all sorts of strangers a-buttin' in?"" - p 56

Chandler doesn't neglect opportunities to have his 20th century time traveler say things that're unrecognizably funny references to their 19th century auditors:

""Did she kill a man, Mr. Reardon?" asked McLeod.

""She did that."

""Come on, Frank," said McLeod to Brown, "let's be getting the bones and spud peelings out of the way."

"They drifted off.

""How to win friends and influence people," I said." - p 99

Naturally, the 19th century people aren't going to recognize that as a Dale Carnegie quote that came along after their lifetime. For that matter, 21st century readers may've forgotten it by now. Then again, Chandler can use his fictionalized Ned Kelly era character, Red Kitty (perhaps a name inspired by "Red Emma" Goldman), give a contemporary quote that's a personal favorite for me:

""You do not know? You really do not know? I find this hard to believe. Karl Marx, Miss Kelly, has written books that will shake the world, that will change the world. They will become the bibles of the toiling masses."

""Don't blaspheme, woman!" flared Kate. "There is only one Bible!"

""And religion," said Red Kitty, "is the opium of the people."" - p 103

"The full quote from Karl Marx translates as: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people"."(1843) -

""I make no claim to be an angel," said Red Kitty. "I saw that the Superintendent was about to murder Ned, so I . . . intervened. Luckily I had thought to bring my pistol with me when I came down from my room to see the fighting. I had already heard about your brother, of course, and about his valiant fight against the capitalist oppressors. I had heard the police boasting about what they had done at Glenrowan. There was only one side that I could possibly be on."

""And so you have cast your lot among outlaws," I could not help saying.

""I am a servant of the revolution," she told me." - pp 107-108

In the rerouted present that's the outcome of all this, Australia's quite a different place but there's a "Ned Kelly" in power:

"He quieted down. "So I'm like the first Ned, ye say? Game as Ned Kelly . . . That goes for me, I hope, as well as for him. I gave my word that I'd save the Nam from the commies—an' when did a Kelly ever break his word? And now tell me—what was she like?"

""Kate?" I asked.

""No, not Kate. red Kitty. My great-grandmother."


""She sounds quite a girl," said Ned.

""She was. But you wouldn't have liked her."

""An' why not? After all, she's me great-grandmother."

""And also a communist," I said. "A faithful disciple of old Karl himself. And do you think that she'd have liked what you're doing now in Asia?"" - p 113

Chandler references Calamity Jane in other novels by having one of his characters named after her. In Kelly Country he mentions another prominent figure of the 'Wild West', Buffalo Bill:

""But I'm telling you, Mr. Kelly," said Donnelly as he resumed his seat, "that you have backers in the United States. I represent them, as well as Francis Bannerman, Dr. Richard Gatling and . . . others. There is the Harp In The South Committee in New York, with a distant cousin of yours at its head. . . ."

""A distant cousin of mine, Major Donnelly?"

""Yes. Colonel William Cody, better known, perhaps , as Buffalo Bill. he is interested in what you are attempting to do in this country of yours. he is a romantic. . . ." He looked around the table. "As are we all."" - p 130

Long ago I read somewhere that Buffalo Bill got his name by hunting buffalo by shooting them from trains & then hopping off & cutting their tongues out to send back to restaurants in the east - leaving the rest of the body to rot. Not surprisingly, this disgusted me. However, the wikipedia entry doesn't mention that. I don't know what to trust:

""Buffalo Bill" received his nickname after the American Civil War, when he had a contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat. Cody is purported to have killed 4,282 American bison (commonly known as buffalo) in eighteen months, (1867–1868). Cody and hunter William Comstock competed in an eight-hour buffalo-shooting match over the exclusive right to use the name, in which Cody won by killing 68 bison to Comstock's 48. Comstock, part Cheyenne and a noted hunter, scout, and interpreter, used a fast-shooting Henry repeating rifle, while Cody competed with a larger-caliber Springfield Model 1866, which he called Lucretia Borgia after legendary beautiful, ruthless Italian noblewoman, the subject of a popular contemporary Victor Hugo play of the same name. Cody explained that while his formidable opponent, Comstock, chased after his buffalo, engaging from the rear of the herd and leaving a trail of killed buffalo "scattered over a distance of three miles", Cody - likening his strategy to a billiards player "nursing" his billiard balls during "a big run" - first rode his horse to the front of the herd to target the leaders, forcing the followers to one side, eventually causing them to circle and create an easy target, dropping them close together." -

Whatever the story ultimately is, the above massacre-as-competition still repulses me - even tho I'm a meat eater. Was there a "Harp In The South Committee" that Buffalo Bill was part of? Not as far as my superficial searching on the internet determined. There was, however, this:

"The Harp in the South is a novel (ISBN 0-14-010456-9) by New Zealand born Australian author Ruth Park. Published in 1948, it portrays the life of a Catholic Irish Australian family living in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, which was at that time an inner city slum." -

Maybe Chandler was referencing that. Chandler goes further in his reimagining of American-Australian alternate history by having an American offer help in arming the Ned Kelly led Australian revolution:

""What is in it for you? For America, I mean, rather than for you, personally, and your employer, Mr. Bannerman?"

"The major sat lumpishly, still staring at the countess, his cigar smouldering, for gotten on the table before him.

"Then he said, "All right. I'll spill the beans. The U.S. of A. is a Pacific Rim nation. So is Canada. So is Australia. And we're all of us white men's nations. We have a common enemy. The Asiatic hordes."

""The Yellow Peril," put in Byrne. "The Chinese."

""No, Mr. Byrne. Not the Chinese. The Japanese. They are clever—and treacherous. Mark my words, all of you! In years to come they will burst out of their little islands to attempt to conquer the world. And who will have to stop them? The white Pacific Rim nations, that's who. Canada. Australia. The United States."

""So you want Australia to become part of the American Empire, Major?" asked Red Kitty interestedly.

""We are not imperialists, lady," said Donnely stiffly.

""I wish that I could believe you, sir. Our struggle is against British imperialism. Are we to win this fight only at the cost of being swallowed up by a greater and even more ruthless empire?""

"He looked at her reproachfully and said, "We do not want dominions, lady. Only strong and loyal allies."" - p 138

I find that to be a very interesting exchange. Given that this is in the 1880s & in the light of WWII, The Korean War, & the Vietnam War, this considerably predates the US military activity against Asia that I'm familiar w/. Chandler has the racist term predate its credited time of coinage:

"In 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany invented the phrase Yellow Peril, in effort to interest the other European empires in the perils they faced in their invasions of China. To that end, the Kaiser of Germany used the Japanese military victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05) to evoke racialist fear among the white peoples of Western Europe, by misrepresenting Imperial Japan as an ally of China, who jointly would overrun the Western world." -

It's also interesting that Chandler has the American Major represent the Japanese as the threat. This, of course, is born out by Japanese imperialism of the mid-20th century. It cd be sd that Japan started WWII w/ their invasion of Manchuria on September 18, 1931. More conventionally, perhaps, WWII is dated as having started when the nazis invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15/16, 1939.
… (més)
1 vota
tENTATIVELY | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Apr 3, 2022 |
review of
Clifford Simac's / A. Bertram Chandler's The Trouble with Tycho / Bring Back Yesterday
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 19-20, 2018

Go here for the full review:

I finished reading this bk less than a mnth ago & I've already almost completely forgotten it. It's a good thing I take review notes. Typically, these Ace Doubles pair a writer I'm interested in w/ one I'm less interested in. I always read the one I'm less interested in 1st. As far as I can tell, I've only read one other Simak novel, Mastodonia, my review of wch is here: . That review doesn't amt to much but I conclude it w/: "Simak's yet-another SF writer I'm glad to've finally read. Along w/ a few tens of thousands of other bks, I hope to read more by him. I'd better get to work." Indeed. It took me 5.5 yrs to get around to him again & I had a similar reaction of not expecting much & getting more than that. In other words, I liked this.

The Author's bio at the beginning states that: "CLIFFORD SIMAK has been writing science-fiction for thirty years." (p 2) Given that the bk is copyrighted 1961 that wd make his starting date 1931. That's earlier than I wd've expected.

""You ever hear of the Third Lunar Expedition?"

"I nodded. Everyone had heard of it. Two ships and eleven men swallowed by the Moon—just dropping out of sight. Thirty years ago and they had never been found.

""I know where it is," she said.


"She nodded.

""So what?"

""So there are papers there."

""Papers . . ."

"Then it hit me. "You mean museum stuff!"

""You can imagine what it's worth."

""And the story rights. 'I Found the Lost Lunar Expedition.' "

"She nodded. "They'd make a book of it, and a movie, and it would be on television."" - p 13

There you have it. Just reading it play out was fine w/ me. The "hound dogs" are introduced. They're energy beings or some such who attach themselves as 'pets' of sorts to specific explorers on the moon. "Susie" is the name of the one that hangs around the main character.

""Well, I have a funny feeling. Two funny feelings, really. The first of them is that sometimes Susie tries to talk to me."

""Nothing funny about that," said Doc. "We don't know a thing about her or any of her tribe. She could be intelligent. I would make a guess she was. She seems to be pure energy, although no one knows for sure. There is nothing that says that to be intelligent you've got to be made of hide and bone and muscle."

""And there are other times," I said, "when it seems to me she might be studying me. Not me alone, you understand, but the human race. Maybe, I tell myself, that's why she picked me up—so she could study me."" - pp 25-26

Ok, you pretty much know what's going to happen. The Lost Lunar Expedition gets found, the hound dogs are important. I can quote the following w/o really spoiling it:

"Then I saw that we were in what might have been another crater, although the surrounding walls seemed to be too straight for it to be a crater. There was no slope at all, just the walls, rising stark and perpendicular from a floor almost as smooth as a living room. And rising from the smoothness of the floor, the strange typical moon formation—the crazy, jagged peaklets that looked like a melted candle, the tiny craterlets, the obscene-looking mounds, and the crisscross of tiny canvasses. The walls ran in a semicircle, backed against the natural crater wall itself, towering far above the straighter walls, but sloped instead of straight. And I knew, looking at it, that this was the southern slope of Tycho, that we had come all the way across the crater.

"But that wasn't all.

"There, in the center of the area, sat two spaceships—red bodies with gray domes, spraddling on four landing gears. And scattered all about them were moon rigs, gleaming in the glare of sun." - p 56

Simak seems to be one of those SF writers who tries to be realistic based on whatever data was available to him at the time. We're not talking Méliès's fanciful film "Le Voyage dans la Lune" ("A Trip to the Moon") (1902) wch I dearly love. Simak is of an era that makes an attempt to be scientific at the same time that he tells a good adventure yarn:

"Now the Moon was cold. The sun had been gone for hours and the heat, except for the little trapped within the piles of dust accumulated at the bottoms of steep slopes, had fled into outer space. The heaters in our suits were unable to hold off the cold entirely. It was all right as long as one was walking, for then the increased body heat, held in by the suit, became a warming factor. But it would have been suicide to stop and rest without the added insulation and the trapped heat of the dust." - p 74

Thank goodness for SF writers. I enjoyed this. It made me want to create friction w/ a woman SF enthusiast in order to stave off the cold temperatures here on the Moon's satellite. These are my people.


Bring Back Yesterday was different from other Chandlers I've read. Most of them are inter-related.

"I awoke with a start, with the frightening conviction that something was terribly wrong. It was, I decided, the silence. The thin, high keening of the interstellar drive is so much part of a spaceman's life that its abrupt cessation is more shocking than the sudden cacophony of alarm bells and sirens. But why hadn't the alarm bell been sounded? Not only was the drive silent but so were the sobbing pumps, the whining fans." - p 5

The protagonist awakens disoriented. This disorientation, as will be shown, increases throughout the novel. The astronaut realizes that a sexual encounter enhanced by drug use has contributed to his missing his spaceship:

"She started to laugh again, then thought better of it. "Go through to the bathroom," she told me. "You'll find a bottle in the cabinet—anti-euphorine. Bring it through, with a glass."

"I did as she told me, finding the bottle without difficulty. When I got back into the bedroom she was up, standing naked before the big window, letting the sunlight play over her slim body. She turned, smiling, murmuring, "The sun is my only true lover . . ."

"I kept my eyes on her face, said, "Here's the bottle."

"She sighed, "Must I?"

"I began to wish that the effects of the drug had persisted in my case. I asked, "What do I do with this?"

"She smiled impishly, replying, "Unluckily, I'm too much of a lady to give the correct answer." Then: "If you really must, pour just three drops into that glass."

"I did so, handed her the goblet. She raised it to her lips and drained it, shuddering slightly. She let the glass fall, walked rapidly to where her robe was hanging over a chair, shrugged herself into it. The heavy black material covered her from neck to ankle, from shoulder to wrist. Over it her face was white and hard.

"She said, "Get something on. Then you'd better get out of here."" - p 9

Ah.. where are the hedonists that aren't dependent on drugs when you need them?!

ANYWAY, our spaceman hero misses his spaceship's departure leaving him stranded & w/o the support of his no-longer-drugged one-nite-stand.

""And my back pay?"

"The metallic eyebrows lifted.

""Mr. Petersen, surely you are not so naive as to believe that you have any further claims upon Trans-Galactic Clippers? I am well aware that some shipmasters are so weak as to make financial provision for deserters—Captain Gruen, in fact, wished to do so in your case. But I can assure you that this will never be allowed in any port over which I exercise jurisdiction.["]" - p 18

I'm reminded of B. Traven's excellent Death Ship. My review of that is from my early days as a reviewer before I wrote much other than capsule reviews. As such, rather than provide the link, I'll just quote its single paragraph:

"This was the 1st Traven bk I read. He's most known for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" wch was made into a film by John Houston starring Humphrey Bogart. "The Death Ship" starts out humorously enuf as a comedy-of-errors: sailor gets separated from ship, doesn't have papers, etc. However, the real content of the bk is a critique of a world full of borders & capitalist corruption. There aren't any spoilers in this little review. I'll just say that the situation goes from bad to worse until the comedy has turned into clear-cut tragedy. Traven's one of the best political novelists I've ever read." -

Upgrading this plot to a science fiction context makes it much more fun for me but much less of a political commentary on 20th century times. Still, the references to 20th century crime fiction (& its recontextualization here) show where Chandler's heart is:

"["]I always look at people's bookshelves. Very often I get a fair idea of what they're like from their reading matter."

""I always do the same, John," he told me. "Now, as you have already observed, I own a fine collection of detective fiction, none of it modern, all of it from the vintage period. You'll find all the Twentieth Century masters here: Conan Doyle, Chesterton, Macdonald, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie . . ."" - p 35

"I turned to the books for company. They were fascinating stuff, some of them better than others. In some of them the private eye solved his cases by intensive brainwork while the police stood around in admiration; in others the private eye blundered around like a bull in a china shop, guzzling whiskey and seducing blondes, getting beaten up between times by both cops and crooks, and still solved his cases. What it was all supposed to prove I didn't know, but I read on." - p 48

""Readable, Steve, very readable. And they do, in a rather warped sort of way, give a picture of those times, although it's hard to realize that while those quite impossible characters were boozing, wenching and beating each other up, the Space Age was just beginning." - p 51

""The message, if you can call it that, seems to be this. The message seems to be that the machinery of organized crime-prevention and -detection is too cumbersome. The message seems to be that one resourceful man can achieve more than a big and well-equipped police force. And there's another angle. Very often this one, resourceful man—or not so resourceful—having blundered into the middle of some sort of mess acts as a catalyst, so that whole lot blows up, very often right in his face."

""Good. In other words, the private operator, without apparatus, often does better than the police, with apparatus.["]" - p 52

Hence goes the justification for the way the stranded spaceman gets repurposed as the resourceful detective. One of his 1st acts is to try to spy on the one-night-stand who gave him the boot:

"I still feel ashamed of what I did as soon as I was alone, and yet I am sure that most men in my circumstances would have done the same. The temptation was strong, and I was not strong enough to resist the temptation.

"The controls of the spy beam were simple." - p 40

""After a few minutes of futile manipulations of the controls I stood up. "A blocker," I said.

"Yes, a blocker, Perhaps it's just as well for your peace of mind that there is one."

""But, she's not a criminal."" - p 41

Spy Beams & Carlotti Beacons: I don't remember running across the Spy Beam in any other Chandler bk (altho I wdn't 100% vouch for that) but I do recall the Carlotti Beacon as a regular feature:

""The Carlotti Beacons? Aren't they those weird affairs like Mobius Strips coiled around attenuated Klein Flasks out at the spaceport?"

""That's as good a description as any. Well, as you know, interstellar travel is time travel of a sort. We have a faster-than-light drive, but we get it by cheating. Putting it very crudely, an interstellar ship goes ahead in space and astern in time."

""Then there is time travel."

""No. There are limitations. If there were no limitations we should have instantaneous transit between the stars, and the intergalactic drive would be more than a science-fictioneer's dream."

""But these Carlotti Beacons—as I understand it, there is no time lag between the transmission and reception of a signal from and to anywhere in the galaxy."

""But that does not involve the transmission of matter."" - p 55

I haven't quite perfected my own Carlotti Beacon but, look!, I can collapse the 1961 of Bring Back Yesterday w/ the 1975 of Chandler's The Big Black Mark in seconds:

""Grimes, you'll pay for this. This is a big black mark in your Service record that'll never be erased!"

"This was so, Grimes knew. It would be extremely unwise for him to return to Lindisfarne to face court-martial. He would resign, here and now, by Carlottigram. After that? The Imperial Navy, if they'd have him? With his record, probably not." - p 224, The Big Black Mark

It's always a special moment when novelists bring the reader to the why of the title of the bk:

"After he'd had a few drinks he'd start comparing himself with Dr. Faustus. I thought at first that this Faustus was a scientist, then that he was some sort of religious leader. Then, one day, I had to take the dustsled into Pilsen for stores, and I spent an hour or so in the library.

"Q. Go on.

"A. It seems that this Dr. Faustus was an alchemist, back on the Home Planet, thousands of years ago. He was old, and he wanted his youth back, and he made some sort of bargain with the Devil. The Devil came to collect his dues and Faustus tried to change sides at the last moment, and cried, "Oh, Lord, put back Thy Universe, and give me back my yesterday . . ." and when I read that, I remembered that Fergus, when he was drunk, would always say that, or something like it. "Bring back yesterday."" - p 61

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

""Then what's Wenceslaus like?" I asked dutifuly, rather reluctant to shunt her train of thought on to unromantic tracks.

""Just a big ball of dust. Fine dust, almost fluid. You could sink right down in it if you weren't wearing dustshoes. And you'd drown in it if you weren't wearing a spacesuit."" - p 80

Hhmm.. how can I transition to this next part?

"The dust blows forward and dust blows back
And the wind blows black through the sky
And the smokestack blows up in the sun's eye
What am I gonna die?
A white flake riverboat just blew by
Bubbles popped big
And a lipstick Kleenex hug on a pointed forked twig
Reminds me of the bobby girls
Never was my hobby girls
Hand full o'worms and a pole fishin'
Cork bobbin' like a hot red bulb
And a bluejay squeaks, his beak open an inch above a creek
Gone fishin' for a week
Well, I put down my bush
And I took off my pants and felt free"

- "The Dust Blows Forward 'n' the Dust Blows Back" - Captain Beefheart

"The buttons of her shirt were all undone now, and the garment was falling from her slim shoulders, her pointed, pink-nippled breasts. As I buried my face between them her hands were busy with the fastenings of my clothing, and my own free hand had found the press-seam of her shorts. I was lost in the urgency of it all, and so was she, and neither of us noticed when the bunk lurched beneath us, the lights flickered.

"Then, with a crash, the table overturned as the lights went out, and with the sudden darkness came the strident clangour of alarm bells." - p 81

Been there. No space butterflies involved tho.

"She was dressed before I was. While she was waiting for me she did her best to clean up the mess with a soft towel. I was glad that she did. My own space butterfly hunting days began and ended while I was still a first-trip cadet." - p 84

Space butterflies in & of themselves aren't so bad — but when a space butterfly farts watch yr ass.

""What happened? What's the situation on board?"

""Explosion," I said. "Control room wrecked. Captain, chief, and second officers, chief engineer—all dead."

""Who is that speaking?"

""John Petersen. Passenger."

""Who brought her in?"

""I did."" - p 100

What's worse is the heartbreak of learning from a Carlotti cablegram that a space butterfly has departed.

""I thought that a cable parted," I said.

""A cable did part," he told me. "But this is the point, skipper. I made sure that all cables were in the fairleads, that there was no chafe. But the story is that one cable was chafing on a sharp edge." He grunted. "It could have been, too—if somebody shifted it."

""Who'd do a thing like that?" I asked.

""You're the detective," he said." - pp 106-107

Sure, blame it on the communistic bumblebees. As if the space butterflies weren't enuf.

""First a scrambler," he grumbled. "Now this."

""It's all in a day's work," I told him.

""Not often it isn't," he grunted. "The last time was when we had the Shaara Ambassadress staying here. As though anybody would be interested in the sex life of a bunch of communistic bumblebees."" - p 113

How these detectives ever survive is beyond me, thre are so many ways to die. What'll it be next? Moon maggots?

"Suddenly the coach lurched, a woman screamed.

"My eyes snapped open and I saw, directly ahead of us, a pillar of dust, a ragged column that slowly tumbled about itself. We slowed to a halt just short of it, slowed and stopped. We watched in silence, the sliding, settling, flattening mound.

""The bloody fools!" swore the driver. "The bloody, bloody fools!"

"The face he turned to us was whiter than the desert outside.

""What was it?" asked Kravik.

""Those copulating postmen, that's what it was. Those copulating postmen and one of their copulating rockets."" - p 123

This is getting to be just like a horror movie: 1st, our hero tries to fuck & everybody else on board dies; 2nd, the fucking postmen shoot off a load & everybody else on board almost dies. Can't Chandler let the Ant Man Bee?

"But it was not the animals that first caught my attention. To one side of the place was a machine that I had always feared. There, whining disturbingly, was the gelaming complexity of a Mannschenn Drive unit, the smoothly spinning, ever-presessing gyroscopes, the shining wheels that tumbled. Tumbled, drawing eye and thought into a weirdly distorted continuum that seemed always on the point of vanishing into that less-than-nothingness—or greater-than-infinity?—and that somehow never did. I looked away from it hastily, but not before I had seen that mounted on the time-twisting device was an oddly convoluted column, a Mobius Strip in three dimensions—or four?—a Carlotti Beacon antenna. It was a fantastic rig that didn't, that couldn't make sense. Or did it make the wrong kind of sense?

""Don't look at it," warned Fergus." - p 144

Go here for the full review:
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tENTATIVELY | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Apr 3, 2022 |


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