Program - Classics of Science Fiction

By John Hertz

We'll discuss three classics at LoneStarCon 3, one discussion each. Come to as many as you like. You'll be welcome to join in. We'll start with "A classic is a work that survives its own time. After the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself." One author from Switzerland, three from the United States; one woman, three men; one outside our field, three among us. Each may be more interesting today than when first published. Have you read them? Have you re-read them?

Herman Hesse - The Glass Bead Game (1943; sometimes called Magister Ludi)

The first and for fifty years the only Nobel Prize science fiction novel, recently (July 2013) among "100 Greatest Novels Ever" in Entertainment Weekly, here is the author's last and crowning work, one of the rare science fiction masterpieces from outside our field, a satire, a story, a character study, poetic even in translation, we hope not prophetic, searchingly profound.

Henry Kuttner and Catherine Moore - Vintage Season (1946)

Haunting, careful, penetrating, often anthologized, it's been attributed mainly to Moore, but both said that after they married they wrote everything together; for this one they used the name Lawrence O'Donnell. Men, women, mavericks, martinets, all come under the lens, all right, all wrong, all tragic.

Jack Vance - The Dying Earth (1950)

Translated into Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Polish, Spanish, Russian, the author's first novel - maybe; Mike Resnick said "If Kirinyaga is a novel, The Dying Earth is a novel" - may be his best known work. Robert Silverberg said "Its prose is measured, taut, controlled, mesmeric." It may be science fiction.