The Black Star Passes

The Black Star Passes


(5 Reviews)
The Black Star Passes by John Wood Campbell









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The Black Star Passes


(5 Reviews)
A sky pirate armed with superior weapons of his own invention....First contact with an alien race dangerous enough to threaten the safety of two planets....The arrival of an unseen dark sun whose attendant marauders aimed at the very end of civilization in this Solar System....

Book Excerpt

gh. "In 2126 we have pirates attacking our air lines. Piracy Preferred! I think I'd prefer the bonds myself. But thank God he did not kill all those people. Doctor, you look worried! Cheer up. If what this pirate says is true, we can resuscitate them, and they'll be better off for the experience!"

The doctor shook his head. "I've been examining your passengers. I'm afraid that you'll never be able to bring these people back to life again, sir. I can't detect any heart action even with the amplifier. Ordinary heart action sounds like a cataract through this instrument. I can see nothing wrong with the blood; it has not coagulated as I expected, nor is there any pronounced hydrolysis as yet. But I'm afraid I'll have to write out the death warrants for all these men and women. One of the people on that ship was coming to see me. That's how I happened to be on the field. For her, at least, it may be better so. The poor woman was suffering from an incurable cancer."

"In this case, Doctor, I

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I found the book dated and the science awful even for its time. The author forgot about inertia and g-forces. Such acceleration would have killed them. As the old saying goes. Those who can't do, teach. And John Campbell was a great teacher.
Dated - but I could overlook that considering when this book was written.

Implausible plot scenarios - that I could not overlook and was unable to finish the book. A few examples...

The two greatest scientific minds in the world are father and son - and the greatest engineer in the world is the son's best friend. At this point my attention began to drift.

A previously unknown scientific phenomena is understood after several hours of consideration - and a prototype to demonstrate the phenomena - and a prototype to overcome it - are developed and functional in 2 days. At this point I closed the book.

Very disappointing considering I have heard that John Campbell is a founding father of the SF genre. I will probably try other John Campbell books and will hope for better.

Being an avid reader of Sci-Fi I found this novel very interesting. Although the author did start out rather slow, I found that once I got into reading it, I could not put the book down. I really enjoyed the way he tied the three novels together and how he took you on a journey from the start to finish.

Keeping in mind that this was written in 1930, the imagination of the author is exceptional. Today, we are doing very close to that which is depicted in the book. We have gone to the Moon; we are talking about heading to Mars and beyond. We are able to take off and land on Earth. We have satellites that go out beyond our galaxy.
What more could you ask for?
I was interested to read this, as I had heard a lot about Campbell (being very influential in Asimov's formative years - including helping set the scene for the Robot series.)

These stories (there are 3 linked stories) were all written in 1930 - one must bear that in mind when reading them as they are very dated.

Overall I would say entertaining light SciFi without being anything to rave about.