postheadericon Fan Pictures

Found while browsing through ansible . Memory Hole, click on the index at the top left and scroll down to the bottom. The bottom right hand link leads to the pictures. These are some fan pictures from the seventies including some with Bob Shaw.

postheadericon The Internet Strikes again

I’ve got some Google searches set up and I check them as often as I can. One of them is for Bob Shaw. The American baseball player and books uploaded to Sribd aside it doesn’t return too many hits. Most of them are my posts but there is the occasional gem.

Now it seems the bad side of the Internet has struck too.

Today information on Shadow of Heaven turned up and the link was to Never heard of it before and the site has no information whatsoever. You can’t even contact them without having to sign in or register.

It seems whoever did it just hacked my thoughts on the novel and reposted. I’m not going to go mad over it; the reviews are just my personal thoughts and opinions on Bob Shaw’s work. But a little trackback or link would have been nice.

postheadericon The Peace Machine, Gollancz, Hardback, ISBN 0-575-03582-X

A little lacking in posts this month. The following has been ninety percent finished but has been sitting on my USB portable drive for close to a month. The good news is that I can get two posts out of it.

This is one of my favourite Bob Shaw novels, whether it is called Ground Zero Man or The Peace Machine. I first read it in paperback as Ground Zero Man and it fairly rolls along. It’s a cracking read and in my opinion is Shaw at his peak as a writer. The update, issued in hardback by Gollancz as The Peace Machine in 1985, is more or less Ground Zero Man with some updates on a topical references such as television shows – although they are now ancient history references to televisions shows.

Shaw mentioned this novel in his HOW TO WRITE SCIENCE FICTION Book, making a comment that some people thought he should move into thrillers on the basis of this book. And I agree that Shaw would have made a good thriller writer. At his best Shaw is not only a master at plotting but also a master at building suspense and piling the pressure on his characters.

It starts off intriguingly, with the main character telling us ‘My finger rests lightly on the black button’ and who wouldn’t be intrigued by that?

The rest of the novel is in the third person and brings us answers to questions posed in the prologue. Lucas Hutchman is staring at a piece of paper and finds himself in a cold sweat. He is in his office and despite interruptions from other people the thought dancing through his head and filling him with excitement and some fear is ‘I can make neutrons dance to a new tune’. Hutchman takes the afternoon off and as he drives home we get an inkling into his marriage and the personality of his wife, and while he is pursuing his hobby of archery we learn that his ability to control neutrons meant he could build a nuclear machine; one that Hutchman insisted would be an anti war machine.

Then comes the news that Damascus is in flames because a nuclear bomb exploded over the city. This affects Hutchman deeply and deepens his resolution to create the machine that will stop all governments from keeping nuclear weapons. As his relationship with his wife goes back and forth Hutchman commences the project of building a machine that he hopes will bring peace to the world. Hutchman too goes back and forth about the Peace Machine; if he can be brave enough to use it or if he knew deep in his heart that he would never cross that line.

The decision is taken from his hands and Hutchman by the actions of his wife and Hutchman is put on a path that eventually brings him to the attention of the authorities. Intrigue, kidnaps and deaths follow as Hutchman tries to stay ahead of the authorities and use his invention to save the world from itself.

I found it a very enjoyable novel when I first read it in paperback and equally enjoyable when I read the updated and revised edition in Gollancz hardback when it was reissued in 1985. As I’ve said I feel this is Bob Shaw at his finest. The writing is crisp and elegant, the book is well plotted and the characters feel real, even minor characters. The situation isn’t as relevant or as oppressing as it was in the seventies when it was first issued and in the eighties when it was re issued. Nineteen eighty five was a few years before the fall of the Berlin wall and the USSR. After the fall of the USSR nuclear weapons and the nuclear standoff that is pivotal in this novel more or less disappeared. Nowadays the enemy is a lot more difficult to identify and no one knows where to point their nuclear weapons.

The epilogue to the book, like the prologue, is in the first person, and the book ends a little pessimistically but this doesn’t detract from any aspect of the book and is, in a way, quite fitting.

postheadericon Ground Zero Man, Corgi, paperback, ISBN 0-552-10313-6

This is the paperback edition of the book that was revised by Bob Shaw and released in hardback in 1985 by Gollancz. The text is ninety five percent that of The Peace Machine.

postheadericon Ouch

The About page got a heavy whack of spam over the past couple days – one even managed to sneak into the pending category and wasn’t marked as spam. I’ve just deleted over 150 spam messages. Thank god for Askimet; it caught them and held them until I signed in. Which I don’t normally do for my blogs seeing as I use Windows Live Writer to post blog entries. But every now and then I log into the blogs to take a closer look at the stats and other stuff. I didn’t notice a corresponding spike in web hits so god knows where all the spammers came from.