" In this universe the night was falling; the shadows were lengthening towards an east that would not know another dawn. But elsewhere the stars were still young and the light of morning lingered; and along the path he once had followed, Man would one day go again"

Arthur C. Clarke Against the Fall of Night

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ian Sales; Far Voyager, New Arrivals; PS Publishing - Asimov's

 Normally new books fron the excellent publishing house, P.S. Publishing end up on my H.P.L. blog but these definately belong on Jagged Orbit. (These items were all on sale, and the shipping was reasonable.) As always I lean towards the short story format. I am especially interested in the story "Far Voyager" by Ian Sales whose blog I have followed for years.  https://iansales.com/ 

The Best of Ian Watson cover by Jim Burns
Extrasolar cover by Tomisalv Tikulin
Far Voyager coiver by Philp Simpson

"Far Voyager" by Ian Sales. I am not that big a fan of near future, Apollo era science fiction. That said "Far Voyager", an alternative history of the program is one of the best science fiction stories I have read in several years. Sales presents us with a manned Voyager 1 probe, which after 37 years is about to enter the heliopause. In his introduction, Sales speaks about the importance of the human element and in the character of the astronaunt, (the Admiral) we have a fully realized human being with all the foblies, frailty, vanity and the occasional impulse towards the heroic that one would expect in a man who went through the Apollo training. The story is low key, any information we need to understand the setting is presented naturally as part of the Admiral's thoughts or his interactions with Earth, There are no info-dumps, we get what we need and enough to fill in any blanks ourselves. The passsage of time is conveyed effortlessly with simple references to audiocassettes and a computer mouse. The other day I was reading Simak's non-fiction book  The Solar System; Our New Front Yard and in it he discussed the dangers of radiation in any attempt at long term space flight. Sales handles this problem casually and elegantly and when I mentioned it to my wife she said that was one of the potential solutions she had read about. I enjoyed the Admiral as a character and the opportunity to "listen" in on his thoughts was a high point of story. It really spoke to me about the era of the Apollo and Voyager programs and our thoughts about space exploration at the time. 

I also have been considering some science fiction magazine subscriptions, so I dug out some yard sale issues of Asimov's Science Fiction to see how I liked them.

Asimov's covers L to R Bob Eggleton, Gary Freeman, Greg Lafevere


  1. Ian Sales is a swell human as well -- met up with him on a trip to England. He took a train to meet me in York (he lived, at the time, in Sheffield).

    I miss your reviews!

  2. Hi Joachim

    I will get back to them. I have posted some on my HPL site but I am also working on Simak posts for jagged orbit. I exchanged a couple of emails with Ian concerning a post for SF Mistressworks. I am also following his blog with great interest as he is navigating the current political situation in the UK and Europe. He does seem like someone I would enjoy meeting.