"Earlier, I mentioned how happy I was to get a copy of the SFBC edition of Foundation. It was the centre piece of many of the SF book club ads I had seen in my older books and magazines and it really struck a chord. When I saw this Analog with the Kelly Freas cover for William R. Burkett's Sleeping Planet, an image I have seen reproduced many times, I really had a similar feeling, that my collection had taken on a whole new shape and significance for me. "
Since then I have returned to the store on several occasions and picked up more issues including those containing parts 2 and 3 of Sleeping Planet. I also googled to see why the format changed. Wikipedia offered the following explanation. Analog's current publisher Condé Nast also published a number of "slick magazines".
"All the advertisers in these magazines had plates made up to take advantage of this size, and Condé Nast changed Analog to the larger size from the March 1963 issue to conform. The front and back signatures were changed to glossy paper, to carry both advertisements and scientific features. The change did not attract advertising support, however, and from the April 1965 issue Analog reverted to digest size once again."
What I loved about them is that the covers held up better and the reproduction of the interior illustrations was great. I had only been lukewarm on Freas as an illustrator, but his work on the interiors here is magnificent. So I have included three of those interiors in this post.
I had planned to do an extensive review of Sleeping Planet here. But Alan Brown, as part of his wonderful series on classic science fiction novels on Tor, has provided an excellent overview here.
So I will just offer some comments. The plot concerns the invasion of Earth's solar system by a race known as the Llralans. The Earth at the time of the story, has colonies on Mars and Venus and the Terran Federation has expanded to a number of other star systems. At one time the two groups coexisted peacefully and movement between the two empires was possible. Now a vicious war has broken out. The latest assault on Earth and the nearby planet sees the Liraions use a bioweapon that puts Terrans into a state of hibernation for an extended period. This leaves the Liraions free to occupy Earth and demand concessions from the larger Federation. A few humans are unaffected, the most important are Bradford Donovan a truck driver who lost his legs to a wild animal attack and James Rierson a lawyer who is hunting at the time of the invasion. Sleeping Planet is interesting in that an almost equal amount of the story is devoted to the Llralan side, primarily to the commander of their forces, Martak Sarno and their chief of security Drelig Sjilla. I read a paperback version and have to say I found it a bit long, especially the portions devoted to the Llralans which seemed a bit repetitive.
However I was impressed when I found out that this was really the author's first published science fiction, novel or short story.
from Brown's post on Tor
"One of the remarkable things about this book is the fact that Mr. Burkett wrote it at age 18, and published it at age 20. But despite this auspicious start, he soon turned his attention from fiction to a career in journalism, and then to public affairs. He also did work related to his lifelong love of hunting and the outdoors. After retirement, he turned his attention back to writing SF."
I especially enjoyed the portion involving James Rierson and the robots and the more I thought about it the more impressed I was at the portrayal of Martak Sarno the Llralan commander and the deterioration of his personality over the course of the story, when faced with apparently unlimited power. A worthwhile read in my opinion.
I also want to encourage you to read Alan Browm's other posts on Tor.com, (The one on Heinlein's Starship Troopers in one of the most insightful and even handed reviews I have read) I will return to Brown's comments on the various authors he encountered in the pages of Analog in another post.