Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Two Themes In Wells, Stapledon, Lewis, Hoyle And Anderson

The previous post referred to one work each by Wells and Hoyle, two by Anderson and several by Stirling. Because of the reference to Hoyle's October The First Is Too Late, I have started to reread it. Hoyle makes the point that an sf alien should be something other than a human brain in a reptile body or even a humanoid body. Perhaps Anderson's Merseians or Ythrians measure up to Hoyle's criteria?

Alien Invasion
Wells and Stapledon: Martians invade Earth;
Stapledon: Earthmen invade Venus and Neptune;
Lewis: a demonically possessed scientist from Earth mounts a moral attack on the sinless Venus;
Hoyle: an intelligent gas cloud enters the Solar System;
Anderson: Martians conquer Earth but are controlled by extra-solars;
Anderson: militarily superior extra-solars conquer Earth economically.

Wells: The Time Machine;
Stapledon: mental time travel;
Lewis: an argument that physical time travel is impossible;
Hoyle: serious discussions of the significance of time and the meaning of consciousness;
Anderson: the Time Patrol etc.

Thus, a powerful tradition of serious speculative fiction.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And besides being different in body from human beings, a TRUE alien should also be different from us in MIND, at least in some ways. Which is what PA tried to do in "Night Piece." A VERY tough story to understand!

    And one alien invasion story you did not list but which I enjoyed reading was Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's


    1. Sean,
      Somewhere on the Science Fiction blog, I look at several authors through the Wellsian framework of space travel, time travel, alien invasion and future history. Stapledon has all four themes in one volume. Lewis addresses them in four (one unfinished) Ransom novels.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      A blog piece of yours I will have to find! I have read a fair amount of Wells, but only of Stapledon's works: "Sirius" and "Odd John."


    3. Sean,
      Check "SF Themes" (28 April 2012) on the Science Fiction blog and "CS Lewis and James Blish" (22 April 2012) on the James Blish Appreciation blog.

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      Thanks! I will.