Monday, April 09, 2012

About a book

Can anyone help me? I've been trying to identify a book that I read many years ago, and which I have a very vivid memory of - just not enough of a vivid memory to help pin down an author or title.

It's SF, and I read it in the late seventies, or (at the very outside) the early eighties. It was probably a Gollancz book, because I borrowed it from the local mobile library, and the distinctive yellow hardback covers were a shibboleth of good SF. It was an epic book, and the part I remember (though the book was not just about this incident) was the construction of one or possibly two massive spaceships, possibly arc ships for planetary evacuation. This construction took years, perhaps generations, and then public panic and hysteria led to the ship (ships?) being stormed by mobs while they were on the launch pads. Thousands of people died and the ship (ships?) was (were?) destroyed.

Anybody got any clue what that might have been?

22 comments:

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

That sounds a lot like Michael P. Kube-McDowell's The Quiet Pools to me.

skybluepinkish said...

I hope Denis is right because I feel your frustration and have spent hours putting strange phrases into Google and tormenting patient booksellers with requests for books I have suddenly recalled and would love to read again but can't remember the title.

Smillie said...

That Sounds like "When Worlds Collide" by Phillip Wylie and Edwin Balmer to me.

Poxy Proxy Predator said...

I have the feeling I've read that one as well but it was 30ish years ago

Anonymous said...

I was just about to make a post, but Smillie beat me to it. I remember seeing the 1951 movie When Worlds Collide when I was a very small boy in the mid 1990s. BBC 2 had a Sci-Fi B-Movie season hosted by Craig Charles. They'd show movies like War of the Worlds and Invaders from Mars.

I'd come in from the local park at the end of the evening when the tone of my mother's shouting suggested I'd nearly pushed my luck too far and there would be consequences if I didn't run back as fast as my little legs could carry me. I remember sneaking back in and starting to watch one of these movies, pretending I'd been watching it all along and had never been messing around in the park. But my mum would always see through me (my grass stained knees usually gave it away).

Even back then I thought how naff and over acted the movies were. I remember Invaders from Mars had a silver alien (because everything futuristic has to be silver) in a bloody goldfish bowl! Although War of the Worlds was quite scary for a small boy. Seeing a faceless alien force invade the earth, that was impervious to our most terrible weapons, and destroy all human resistance made me acutely aware of my own mortality and scared the shit out of me.

Tom

Joe said...

If it is "When world collider", then you're in luck - to quote Wikipedia: "Another film adaptation is scheduled for release in 2012 by DreamWorks, directed by Stephen Sommers and produced by Steven Spielberg.[3]
"

Well, maybe you're in luck, or maybe a treasured memory will be ruined...

Blitzspear said...

I had the same problem finding Twilight of Briareus, The Death of Grass and The Ragged Astronauts. Got ahold of the best scifi books encyclopedia that had good discriptions of the books i remembererd. Still looking for that one with the white haired guy that was leading a group of genetically cloned south american super soldiers into space. they followed him cuz they were hard wirerd to follow the orders of a guy with white hair. Still got a couple of those yellow scifi books Gateway by Fred Phol and This Immortal, gotta love library sales lol.

Will Wright said...

I am having the same problem with a WW3 book,where. The USA is invaded by I think the chinese,the presidents daughter is a private in an army unit that gets captured and there was this badass Green Beret that killed a whole enemy company that was sleeping in a school gym by unleashing nerve gas.
I feel your pain.

And one other book where all the ants die and it starts a wicked bad chain reaction where the entire ecosytem is about to collapse,I think that one was called Dust

Will Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
943ffdb6-8447-11e1-9caa-000f20980440 said...

Could it be John Brunner's Crucible of Time?

Roberto said...

You should post it in http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/185-what-s-the-name-of-that-book
And perhaps join the author program too. ^^

Matthew F. said...

+++ Still looking for that one with the white haired guy that was leading a group of genetically cloned south american super soldiers into space. they followed him cuz they were hard wirerd to follow the orders of a guy with white hair.+++

ON MY WAY TO PARADISE by Dave Wolverton.

Mark Grudgings said...

That sounds like a scene from a BL book I read recently, whereby mobbing refugees prevented the ground crew from releasing a ships anchor and the whole thing tears itself apart, possibly Warriors of Ultramar by Graham M? Would he know?

The same thing happened to me recently while writing and its been driving me mad. I can remember getting a story lodged in my mind whilst studying psychology and/or English,

The short story is about an elderly institutionalised mental patient (Mr X) who supposedly once killed a woman on a bicycle. After fifty plus years or so he became so familiar and friendly with the staff that they believed him to be safe to re-enter society again. Twenty minutes out of the institutions gates and guess who is back after his announcing that he's 'had his little pleasure and is now just glad to be back among friends'

Any ideas anyone or does it ring a bell? I don't believe it was a textbook script...

Blitzspear said...

Thankyou Matthew that sounds like the one. guys got a big beard iirc on his dust jacket pic.

Graeme said...

Will Wright: I suspect you're thinking of Invasion by Eric L Harry.

Had the slightly wacky premise that the Chinese would invade somewhere in the South West of North America and then proceed to the notoriously North Eastern Washington DC, generating plot along the way.

Will Wright said...

Hot damn Graeme that was indeed it.thanks.
Now if you could help Dan :)

Arion said...

I wish I could help you but I wasn't even born in the 70s...

By the way, I really wanted to say that New Deadwardians is the best of the new Vertigo titles, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to review the first issue. If you want to check that out here's my blog:

www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

Cheers.

Swainson said...

King David's Spaceship by Jerry Pournelle?

Swainson said...

i'm getting a ton of spam from this post

Anonymous said...

When Worlds Collide + the sequel: After Worlds Collide was cool as well.

Anonymous said...

Did it also happen to feature sloth like pets that almost everyone had? Men being so more numerous than women that women had achieved god like status? If it's that book then I too would like to know what book it is.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone reognise this one?

I read it when I was about 14 which got me into sci fi/fantasy and I have never found it again. This is all from memory but it was about a society run totally by a specific religious order.

The "hero" does not agree with the teachings of the religious order and he gets arrested by them and interrogated, only to find that the way to join the order is to be critical of the regime and profess yourself a heretic.

Does anyone recognise this?

Nige