Hamilton and Gibson

by Dylan Jeninga
(Illinois, Wisconsin)

Firstly, let me say that I'm thrilled to see the final chapter of "The Arc of Iapetus!" It's been a special treat, reading that tale. A trip into the past.

Secondly, I was wondering if you had any tips, Zendexor, for obtaining "The World of the Never Men" and "The Lost Treasure of Mars"? Would that they could be found together, in a sort of mini-anthology.

And thirdly, I wonder if you are familiar with "Tama of the Light Country"? It's an OSS tale set on Mercury, but I've only just begun it, so I can't speak to its quality yet. I know a sequel was published, so that's something at least!

{Z: It was good to get a glimpse of Saturn itself at the end of "Arc of Iapetus". The author also tidied up some of the preceding chapter or two. Not sure it all makes sense, but then a van Vogtian extravaganza doesn't have to! The main idea seems to be this "event-stem-cell" notion, which avoids the binary "alternate" requirement of a choice between probability worlds. Maybe, to use a metaphor, it's a move towards "analogue rather than digital" in the probability business. I'm just thinking aloud...

Now, about the Hamilton tales you mention. I haven't met them in anthologies, which is surprising, seeing as how good they are. Hamilton is in the odd position of of having his best tales mostly ignored and many of his weaker ones anthologized. How hard is it to get old sf magazines nowadays, I wonder? I haven't tried for a long time - since before the Internet, in fact. I used to get my Hamilton tales by mail from the US back in the Eighties, I think, from a bookseller in (I think) Illinois! Don't suppose he's still around, and I've forgotten his name! Anyhow, he knew what I wanted and used to write to me every now and then when he found a magazine with a Hamilton story in it. Quite an efficient system in its way, but surely the Net can beat it, one would think... Of course we can wait for the completed Collected Edmond Hamilton to come out but at the moment it's still on Volume 5, I think, not reaching the dates of the tales you mention.

Lastly, your possession of the Cummings book interests me greatly - I'd be keen to hear your opinion on it. I was very disappointed and never finished it, indeed never got far, but that was decades ago, and I might be willing to give it another try. (The sequel is "Tama, Princess of Mercury". I have both books on my shelves.) My objection to the story was what seemed to me to be its lack of atmosphere, its lack of seriousness.}

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