In this segment I want to highlight authors who wrote about distant planets or places humans colonised in a far flung future and who also encountered a myriad of aliens—some benign, others not so much.
Hacking back to the Golden Age and Classics of SF, I started thinking about what authors exemplified the far, far away bit in my title.
Here’s who I came up with.
Bob is another of those prolific authors I was introduced to when I first read, Lord Valentine’s Castle (Bantam, 1981), which is set on the magical planet of Majipoor. A weirdly, wondrous world populated by shapeshifters, yet settled also by humans. This book is the first in a series which Silverberg explores a number of themes, including coexistence, destiny (or maybe, fate) and, of course, what it means to be human.
Check out: Lord Valentine’s Castle, the Majipoor Chronicles, and Valentine Pontifex.
JACK L. CHALKER
My first Jack Chalker book was the start of a seven book series called, Midnight At The Well of Souls (Del Rey, 1977) — and the Well World. Long before the books and TV series, The Expanse, Chalker was writing about an artificially constructed world by a then defunct alien race known as the Markovians. A world that was both the controller of and the gateway to 1560 other worlds created by the Markovians.
The series features the irascible Nathan Brazil, a starship captain who goes on a rescue mission only to find himself suddenly transported to the Well World. And, of course, several books of adventures in time and space!
Check out: The Saga of the Well World series (7), The Watchers at the Well World series (3), and so many more!
GORDON R. DICKSON
Another author I am sure no one has heard of, but this Canadian/American wrote about humanity seeding the stars in the 23rd century and, in Soldier, Ask Not (Dell, 1967)—part of the Childe Cycle series—has humanity splintered into specialised groups and cultures: such as ‘Exotics’, ‘Philosophers’, ‘Mystics’ and ‘Psychologists’ and then, those who are hired and trained to protect them, the Dorsai, professional soldiers.
Rebellion, mayhem, murder, and them against us, and how one man has the power to manipulate people, and events, into happening.
Check out: Tactics of Mistake, The Spirit of Dorsai, and Lost Dorsai.
I guess this post also fulfils another ‘Blast From The Past‘ of books and authors I’ve read. And, of course, more to come soon!