Sunday, May 4, 2014

Trial of the Century, by Lawrence M. Schoen

Trial of the Century is a tale for fans of old-school John W. Campbell style science fiction in the Analog days.  It is a novella bridging the first and second of Schoen's Amazing Conroy/Buffalito stories, though this one is very much Conroy's story.  Since the first novel wasn't award nominated and isn't in our local library, I've never read it.  This always puts me on the spot because it's hard to be fair to the work.  But since this novella recaps some of the early history in order to tell the story, I feel like I've caught up with the series better than when I read last year's award nominated novel.

Campbell was the first editor in SF to try to bend storytellers away from tales where aliens came in and killed/dominated earthlings wholesale.  Campbell wanted humans to be able to outsmart more technologically advanced species with local knowledge.  Schoen's novella delivers on this front in Conroy's unfortunate delivery back into the hands of the Arconi he stole Reggie the Buffalito from.  It's a successful story in that vein, so I'll not spoil it further.  But it's a good chance to go back in time and enjoy SF the way it was. Three stars from me

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