postheadericon Other Days, Other Eyes, Gollancz, Hardback, 0-575-01485-7

I bought this in paperback years and years ago, and I’m ninety percent sure it was one of the books I bought from the Science Fiction Book Shop in Edinburgh. I recently purchased a hardback edition, but it turned out to be The Readers Union and not the Gollancz edition as advertised. I was given a full refund and I offered to return the book but received no reply. Even more recently I acquired a copy of the Gollancz hard back edition. At an expensive price I may add but seeing as it’s one of the small group of Shaw hardbacks that are reasonable rare the price wasn’t excessive.

It’s quite a slim volume, and can only just be called a novel, there are a few ‘sidelights’ throughout the book: short stories not connected to the main story and characters but about Slow glass.

Sidelight One is the original story, Light of Other Days, which Shaw in his How To Write Science Fiction book says was anthologised over forty times and brought him in as much money as a novel – definitely more than he expected from a short story.

Sidelight Two: Burden of Proof is about how a piece of Slow Glass is used as corroborating evidence of a crime. Judge Harper waits for the revealing of secrets in the Slow Glass to know if the accused sent to the chair was guilty or innocent.

Sidelight three: A Dome of Many-coloured Glass deals with the personal conflict between the planner and the private and Slow Glass is used as a – very ingenious – weapon in the personal war.

The rest of the book tells the story of Alban Garrod, engineer and inventor of Slow Glass for inclusion on aircraft. As we begin the novel Slow Glass is being tested on a supersonic plane belonging to the United Aircraft Constructors, commonly referred to as UAC. Thankfully they are no relation to the UAC in the DOOM series of games.

After some accidents Garrod slowly begins to realise what he has and Slow Glass is developed and invented. The plot further develops when his father in law is accused of murder. Garrod smells something fishy and tries to accelerate some slow glass to see if they can prove him innocent. However, all does not go well and through circumstances his wife is partially blinded by Slow Glass. Her sight comes back to an extent and she can see through lenses made of Slow Glass. But she wants to wear lenses that have already been word by Garrod, so she can see what he has seen.

I found Other Days, Other Eyes engrossing when I first read it in paperback years ago.

It was interrupted slightly by the separate story chapters that were not central to the main story but Shaw’s writing and characterisation more than made up for that.

Slow Glass is one of Shaw’s most famous inventions and he has explored the subject in a variety of ways throughout the book. As always he pays close attention to his characters throughout the book, building them carefully, developing them. The problem of Slow Glass and its impact on society is resolved right at the end of the book, where an implementation of Slow Glass changes the world forever, and Garrod is at peace with it.

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