Friday, May 08, 2015

Crashing Suns, by Edmond Hamilton

I tried sending Patti a notice that I'd like to take part in Forgotten Books Friday but I don't think we managed to connect. It's the first time in a long time I've had a chance to do anything for that. Anyway, here's an unofficial entry for Forgotten Books Friday: 



Anything that I could find at our small-town library that smacked of science fiction got checked out and brought home. Thus it was I stumbled upon a little paperback called “Crashing Suns,” by Edmond Hamilton. I didn’t recognize the author’s name at the time; I was more familiar with Asimov, Clarke, Anderson, Heinlein. It didn’t matter. The cover showed a rocket-ship and a round, pink, fuzzy alien with multiple limbs pointing a blaster at an astronaut. More importantly to me, the words “Crashing Suns” and the catch phrase on the cover of “Red alert for the Interstellar Patrol” ignited my imagination. Many, many years later, I found a copy of this book in a used book store and snapped it up. It’s too brittle and worn to read again but I still cherish it.

The book contains five novella length space opera stories, the title piece, “The Star Stealers,” “Within the Nebula,” “The Comet Drivers,” and “The Cosmic Cloud.” From what I can find out, all five of the stories were published in Weird Tales between 1928 and 1930. All but the first involve the Interstellar Patrol, sort of a pre-Federation Starfleet that defends the galaxy from evil. Hamilton apparently wrote these tales in a white heat and they sometimes show it. The science is often inaccurate and the language is quite overblown with flights of fancy in many places. But, you know, I don’t care. Hamilton was clearly enjoying himself and I enjoyed right along with him. There’s passion and excitement and that can make up for a lot of technical slights. I still want to join the Interstellar Patrol. I may be 56 on the outside, but inside I’m still 12 when I hear the siren call of “Crashing Suns.”

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18 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I loved Hamilton's work when I was a kid. Still enjoy it on occasion. You can't go wrong with a cover like that, no matter what's inside.

David J. West said...

I always buy books like this from my childhood to regain that magic and share it with my kids too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bill, I know. Those old covers had such pizazz

David J., I need to get a copy I can reread

Oscar said...

I may have read this in my sci-fi phase, but know for sure.

Todd Mason said...

Charles, you have to check the blogs! I'm covering for Patti this week; happily, Rick Robinson shot a note about this one my way. Thanks, gents.

R.K. Robinson said...

Also, I'll say this is a book full of old fashioned SF fun. I like it a lot.

George said...

Edmond Hamilton was a great story-teller! And ACE Books had some great cover artwork!

Todd Mason said...

Along with Lovecraft only moreso, Hamilton was the sf star of WEIRD TALES, which liked to tag his early work "weird-scientific"...

Cloudia said...

Your response to this book as a boy no doubt influenced your writing!




ALOHA from Honolulu,
ComfortSpiral
=^..^=

David Cranmer said...

James Reasoner directed my attention toward Hamilton a few years back. Like Mr. Crider I enjoy dipping in those waters on occasion.

the walking man said...

Charles you make me feel as if I wasted my youth with the reading I did. Both of my parents were voracious readers, like weekly trips to the library voracious and literally hundreds of paperbacks and three newspapers a day in the house (all local) and a weekly on top of that.

The old man like some science fiction, but I gravitated to historical fiction *meh* now, as I said you make me feel like i missed something in my childhood. Although i read a lot of the usual comics I don't think it's quite the same thing.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I agree. Hamilton enjoyed his writing. The passion was there.

sage said...

I've never read Hamilton, but can relate to the excitement you felt in such a "find"

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, thanks for spotlighting Edmond Hamilton who is new to me.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, if you read it when you were young you'd likely remember it. Maybe not later. It's exciting for young ones, I thought. Me included at the time.

Todd, Mason, ahh. I've tried to do it twice and messed up both times. I check blogs very regularly but don't always get every post for sure.

R.K., exactly!

George, yes, even though the alien looks rather poofy it was still so cool to me when I was a kid.

Cloudia, I'm sure it did. Of course, all this early stuff probably did to some degree.

Mark, I actually missed out on a lot of the comics. They weren't readily available in our small town.

Bernard, he definitely seemed to like what he was doing.

Sage, would love to recapture that excitement.

Prashant, he also did some Sword and sorcery stuff as well.

Greg said...

I read just about everything science fiction or fantasy I could find at the library too, but somehow I missed this one. Thanks for mentioning it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Greg, fun book

Riot Kitty said...

Just the cover looks cool!