Hugo Nominee, Short Story : “The Moment” by Lawrence M. Schoen

Schoen was a complete unknown to me, so I do not know if this is his usual style.

As stories go this one does not, to me, have a real plot. The closest to a story line is the search for archeological evidence.

The story feels like a series of disjointed images with an extremely loose connection. there is the search (see above), then an image of a generation ship (crash) landing on a moon, and finally a connection to a great machine, apparently near the center of the galaxy.

I found the conclusion a bit anticlimactic, oh, yes, this seems to be about a species (probably humanity) leaving a planet (probably Earth).

While I do not particularly like the story, I respect the author going where few have gone before, even if this did not work out for me. It must have worked for other people, since it was nominated for the Award.

3/10 from me.

DanCon 2010

Today I went to a small scifi convention in Copenhagen.

The DanCon is a one day convention with a single thread, all going on i one room. It is organised by one of the Danish Science fiction societies, Science Fiction Cirklen. Everything was going on in Danish.

The con opened with a very nice panel discussion on “Tendencies English language short stories”, with a few examples of authors old and new.

After lunch we had a very nice presentation on medical science of the future, seen in the light of Star Trek technology, quite entertaining with a few examples illustrating how far we have already come and where we are behind the ST tech. An interesting fact is that the “hypospray” of ST had already been invented and tested some years before the original series aired.

The rest of the afternoon we had a presentation of the older British comic strip “Dan Dare”, a presentation of Anime

The afternoon ended with a presentation of the classic scifi magazine Astounding (before Campbell), an interesting insight into the scifi of the 30’s.

I found that I might have a subject for a presentation on a following con, so I am afraid I may have some work to do until then.

All in all a very enjoyable day meeting scifi friends in Denmark.

Escape Pod : “The Story of the Late Mr. Elvesham”

One of the fiction podcasts I listen to is Steve Eley’s “Escape Pod”. Every week a new short story reading in the Science Fiction genre. previously they had a mixture of Scifi, Fantasy and Horror, but Horror is now done by the sister podcast “Pseudo Pod” and Fantasy by “Podcastle”. If you go back into the archives you will find all three genres represented.

With so many stories it is impossible to find a story I like every week, occasionally I drop the listening after beginning listening to an episode, but mostly I listen through the story.

Some highlights for me would be Mur Lafferty’s “I Look Forward to Remember You” and the Escape Pod 100th episode was a good reading of Isaac Asimov’s classic short story “Nightfall”, first published in 1941

Episode 182 brought H.G. Wells’ “The Story of the Late Mr. Elvesham”, the first time the podcast has brought a story from the public domain.

Mr Elvesham, an old and frail philosopher, takes up contact with a young student and offers him to become his heir. The youn man is, of course, cautious but is slowly drawn to the belief that this could be something.

Let’s just say, the intention of the older man is not quite what it appears, there is no happy end, but simply a cautionary tale – “no one is exactly what he or she appears to be”.

In some ways a similar story could be told today (and has been), it is interesting to note that this story is more than 100 years old. For a story publishes in 1896 it feels surprisingly modern. It makes me want to read more og H.G. Wells’ stories.

On another note : The podcast has been coming out every week since May 2005, but due to family (and other) circumstances there will be a hiatus for the rest of the month of November. Steve has a rather long entry in his blog telling the story. The main point, I think is that he may have been pushing too hard to get this going, and needs a breather to regain the fun of doing the podcast. “Pesudo Pod” and “Podcastle” are not affected.

Link :

Escape Pod

Arthur C. Clarke : “Travel by Wire” short story

“Travel by Wire” was published in 1937 in “Amateur Science Fiction Stories” in December 1937. According to Clarke it was his first story ever published, and for that reason alone I would consider it historical. It has later been published in the “The Best of Arthur C. Clarke 1937 – 1955”, and later again (2000) in the book I found it in : “Arthur C. Clarke – The Collected Stories” with about 100 of his short stories.

The story is only 4 pages long, in spite of that I quite like it. It concerns the possibilities of sending not just voice, but also matter as signals through wires. To be sure, it also mentions “the radio transporter”, but considers it less reliable. a bit of rivalry between labs where the “wire transporter” and other things are researched gives the story a bit of humour as well. I also liked the final statement of the story.

In such a short story you do not find any character development, it is all about the idea.

I have no doubt that this story was inspiration for the “beaming” transporter in “Star Trek”.

I have recently learned that Clarke and Roddenberry had a long lasting friendship.

Now I have to read some more of the stories of this book. It also contains (no surprise) “The Sentinel” which in part is the basis for Clarke’s most famous work “2001 – A Space Odyssey”