Lucky Strike, The (PM Press Outspoken Authors) Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"The best nature writer in the U.S. today also happens to write science fiction." --"The Ends of the Earth"
"The foremost writer of literary utopias." "--Time" magazine
"It's no coincidence that one of our most visionary science fiction writers is also a profoundly good nature writer." --"Los Angeles Times"
"This stimulating little chapbook would work very well as a basis for classroom debate on speculative fiction, history, or the notion of free will." "--Publishers Weekly"
Top customer reviews
A demanding read, not to everyone's taste - but if your mind is open and you're happy for KSR to mess with it, then I'd recommend this deceptively short book.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
These and many other questions are asked in Kim Stanley Robinson's novella The Lucky Strike. This small volume includes his complementary 1991 story, "A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions," which takes an entirely different approach to the Hiroshima question. Lastly, a wide-ranging interview with Robinson is included to provide more personal thoughts. A great addition to any SF fan's library, and perfect background reading for a seminar on the ethics of war, a post-WWII history class, or a wide variety of other seminar-style courses.
"The Lucky Strike" takes place in an alternate 1945 where the Enola Gay crashes several days before Hiroshima, and the bombing is left to another pilot, Frank January. The story follows this protagonist's gradual discovery of the moral conundrum involved in ending the war by killing tens of thousands of civilians. Eventually the story presents a vision of how the postwar world could have turned out differently if the pilot had only spurned his duty. I must say that I find this story somewhat flawed, in that it ignores American troops' general reluctance to sympathize with the "Japs", as well as the strategic designs that Stalin had for the postwar era. Still, it's an entertaining read.
KSR followed up that short story with "A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions", a reflective essay on the tradition of speculating about history. KSR presents a dizzying listing of possible futures that might arise from the change in one initial condition, and he distinguishes two major factors that can change history. One is the so-called "butterfly effect", which KSR illustrates as follows:
"For instance: on July 29th, 1945, a nomad in Kirgiz walked out of his yurt and stepped on a butterfly. For lack of the butterfly flapping its wings, the wind in the area blew slightly less. A low pressure front therefore moved over east China more slowly than it would have. And so on August 6th, when the Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima, it was covered by ninety percent cloud cover, instead of fifty percent."
The other factor that can change history is the decision of a single individual, which makes all the difference in "The Lucky Strike". This essay also tempers the naive idealism of "The Lucky Strike", noting that any peace between nations can be quickly upset; nothing is permanent.
The third section of the book is an interview with KSR that covers the general course of his career, as well as some somewhat irrelevant trivia ("How come you only drive Fords?", "If you could play music, what would you play?"). Nowhere does this interview touch on "The Lucky Strike", so its inclusion in this volume is strange.
This collection might appeal to dedicated fans of Kim Stanley Robinson, but more casual readers might be disappointed by the essay and the interview. For those simply looking for a decent yarn, "The Lucky Strike" has also been reprinted in Harry Turtledove's anthology The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century along with some other classics.
Look for similar items by category