A. Bertram Chandler
Reading the Classics
Why should we be Reading the Classics? Dated link to dated piece that still resonates well with why.
“But take a pew, Ensign. Spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard—this is Liberty Hall.”
Excerpt From: A. Bertram Chandler. “To the Galactic Rim.” Baen Books. p. 30
I’m not sure if my education includes this reflection, but yes, Bertram Chandler, as an author, pretty close to his entire canon of space opera, I’ve read it all. Had it all, too, and toted it around, as a paperback library, for years and years. Swept away in a great flood, back in the day, not that I ever intended to reread any of the books, I just recalled how I felt when I was reading them. Swept away.
The entire catalog is re-released, in highly digestible electronic format, and at the publisher’s behest, copy-righted but not copy-protected. Minor point of honor.
As a lark, as trip to jog old memories, I picked up the first one, loaded it up for the week in California.
During the intervening years, one Science Fiction guide-omnibus referred to the entire series with loving terms, as the works of A. Bertram Chandler were infused with real nautical imagery, and one can hear the waves of the seven seas of space lapping at the bow of the craft.
“…and this idea of the Old Man’s that every officer in the ship should be able to take over from the specialists is a very sound one . . .”
Excerpt From: A. Bertram Chandler. To the Galactic Rim. Baen Books, p. 196.
Although subsumed by Penguin, the original books I bought were published by legendary SF publishing house DAW. I can’t recall the exact price, but the individual stories were thin novels, and the combined editions were a more fulfilling size, again, cheap paperbacks. Eventually, I’m pretty sure, I had the whole set. In digital form, thanks to Baen Books, non-DRM, the iBooks versions are perfect for fun fiction.
All fiction has to carry some semblance of truth.
“The Universe was full of people who said, “But you must stay with us . . .” And then were surprised and pained when you turned up their front doorstep, suitcase in hand.”
Excerpt From: A. Bertram Chandler. “To the Galactic Rim.” Baen Books, p. 335.
Sex, liquor, and maritime spaceships, more navy ship, and just enough classic space opera to be quite good. Classic space opera against an Australian Naval backdrop. Cool.
“Too, those of us who are practitioners of what are loosely called the Black Arts resorted to various methods or divination; even Her Grace is an expert manipulator of the Tarot pack.”
Excerpt From: A. Bertram Chandler. “To the Galactic Rim.” Baen Books, p. 474.
As formative literature in a seemingly mindless and meandering education, though, one where the Space opera is centered in Australia, rather than Cape Canaveral? Although, these days, to be more honest, I’m hoping real space travel starts just outside of Las Cruces, NM, it’s still different from what most Science Fiction authors were thinking.
I know I stole one expression fro this canon, “The odd gods of the galaxy,” as favorite catch-all phrase.
Another phrase, familiar from a similar space opera, perhaps, “Make it so, Number One.” Where is that expression from?
“Grimes was blessed—or cursed—with both imagination and a conscience, and a conscience is too expensive a luxury for a junior officer. Those who can afford such a luxury all too often decide that they can do quite nicely without it.”
Excerpt From: A. Bertram Chandler. “To the Galactic Rim.” Baen Books.
Digging around on the inter-webs, seeking author data, I found at least one reference, think it was an old, transcribed interview with Chandler, and he claimed to be an agnostic. Or atheist. Which explains the position of his main character.