Friday Fiction: The Fight For Life

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Fight for Life coverFight for Life
A Novel of the Atomic Age
Leinster
1947

Physicist Steve Sims is wandering around a very desolate USA after nuclear bombs have destroyed everything. While wandering, has also been working on a treatise on the “Paradox of Indeterminacy.” He finds other survivors, particularly a  girl named Frances. Together with a guy called “Lucky” the start using science to take back the country from the unamed enemy. Best invention: a ray gun. I haven’t finished yet, but this story is good.

Murray Leinster is an award winning science fiction author and inventor. Read the wikipedia article here.  Can’t wait to finish this one!

Mary

Book summary

Page 4

17 comments

  1. How interesting that its own jacket (?) terms it pseudo-science! I did look on Wikipedia, and he certainly was prolific. His name is familiar and I’m sure I’ve read some of his books. I’d probably read this one if it came across my path. He did have a long time to refine his craft — he published his first sci-fi story in 1919 and died in 1975. Here’s a question for Mary: the cover of the book says “Complete & Unabridged,” which implies that it is a reprint, and the date is stated as 1947. But the Wikipedia article gives it a date of 1949, with Crestwood as publisher — can you reconcile these conflicting details? I just wondered how soon after Hiroshima he was writing.

    1. Judith, I saw that too. I took my info from the book and world cat. I am guessing a typo or that pulp novels maybe start out as a short story or serial and then get repackaged as a full blown novel. (Leinster had so many short stories credited to him.) The novel itself is quite short at 118 pages. Hopefully another ALB reader will clarify.

  2. Curious–I’ve never heard “pseudo science” as a description for SF. But that does sound like an interesting one.

  3. I’m pretty sure this was before pseudoscience became a completely negative description. The term “science fiction” wasn’t coined untill 1954, according to Wikipedia.

    Still, an awesome find.

  4. I imagine it is before the term “pseudoscience” became associated with fraud, but in years of reading old SF and about old SF, I don’t remember coming across that term in this sense. Interesting.
    Leinster was very prolific. I recommend his short story “A Logic Named Joe” which imagines the modern Internet in a lot of ways.

  5. This book looks pretty decent actually. Can someone point out to me why is it on this website? Condition of this copy perhaps?

    1. On Fridays, I just post fiction titles. These aren’t necessarily awful. Don’t try and take the title of the website too literally. 🙂

  6. Hold on, I just realized I misread the Wiki article. Especially since the back cover uses the term “science-fiction”!

  7. The first two pages of this sounded wonderfully chilling and well-written. I love a good after-the-end story. There’s something very special about Golden Age novels. Somehow, the less that science knew about space, the more imaginitive the story was. The women in them are usually sigh-inducingly dumb, though. It’s funny how none of the men who wrote old SF predicted second-wave feminism.

  8. @Ro LOL! “It’s funny how none of the men who wrote old SF predicted second-wave feminism.”

  9. As the paleofuture blog has pointed out, even as late as the early 1960s, you could present The Jetsons as a nuclear family identical to the 1950s norm. So nobody really predicted it.

  10. I didn’t mean that unkindly, honestly 🙂 It’s quite fascinating to read stories set in a time where space travel and aliens are commonplace, but women still act like they are from the fifties.

  11. Nice that all that radioactive fallout came in so useful.

    And here were we, fondly imagining that all it would do would be to give the few blast survivors a hideous, lingering death!

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