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Far Stars Hardcover – Dec 1961


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Hardcover, Dec 1961
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Dobson Books Ltd; 1st ed. edition (Dec. 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0234775319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0234775318
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,673,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Stone on 10 Nov. 2004
Eric Frank Russell (1905-78) put much of the gold into The Golden Age Of SF, and this anthology contains six beautiful nuggets.
The first and last, "The Waitabits" and "The Timeless Ones" are both variations on a favourite Russell plot, whereby some seemingly powerless individual or group, without resorting to any kind of force - indeed The Waitabits would probably be physically incapable of doing so - nonetheless completely thwart the aims of someone much more powerful. Both defeats, in this case, relate importantly to "pace rate", the weak party simply acting, consciously or unconsciously, on a totally different time scale from that of its opponent.
But the two stories handle this theme in very different ways. The Waitabits are an alien species, so utterly different from humans as to be literally unconquerable, despite being utterly powerless. The Timeless Ones, by contrast, are a branch of the human race, who, when drawn into conflict at all, are conquered pretty fast - yet win just the same. I have heard this story described as "politically incorrect", yet this suggests a rather short sighted view. The "villains" have never harmed anyone that we know of (indeed they apparently didn't even retaliate when other races tried to exterminate them) and if other "superior" races have lost out, this would seem to be entirely the latter's own fault. The "Timeless Ones" themselves don't come out badly at all.
Moving on, the novelette "Legwork" is to my mind the best item in the collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill Matheson on 7 Nov. 2003
This collection of six short stories dates back to the 50s and early 60s, and yet the high standard of Russell's writing again shows how quality rarely ages.
"The Waitabits" has a plotline and twist that countless "Star trek" episodes have plundered. Russell's characters are full of efficiency but also filled with humour and craft.
It sets a high standard -- one which only really flags with the second story: "P.S.", which is one of the author's few sorties into sentimentality that doesn't really come off. All of the other stories have a common thread of space exploration and the meeting of different species, and "P.S." stands out like a sore thumb.
However, "Allamagoosa" brings us bang up to the high mark, and is a great example of Russell's fine humour.
"Legwork" is an impressive piece of Terran detective work. If Russell is best known for his novels involving space scouts, then this is the other side of the coin for once.
"Diabologic" is a short tale that has its roots well within the novels "Next of Kin" and "Wasp".
Finally, "The Timeless Ones" is an interesting tale that, in these ever so politically correct times, will have you smiling at the final denouement.
Aldiss wrote of Russell: "For more than twenty years nobody has rivalled Russell at his best."
This book clearly demonstrates why.
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