Not every good novel is been written in our lifetime, obviously. Here is one of the most enjoyable science fiction novels ever written, and it was written in the early 1930s! Other reviewers have mentioned that its science is bad and that it is a bit too "Buck Rogers" or "Flash Gordon." Regardless, allowing for when it was written, this wonderful book shines through with a remarkable, enduring story that is full of suspense and adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which also benefits from an excellent narration by Peter Ganim. The story is the thing - even in an age when readers and viewers demand cutting edge science and technology even from their fiction. This story, though dated, excels. It is, without a doubt, one of the best end-of-the-world novels ever written.
This book, written prior to World War II, presents a quite dated look at the end of the world. A pair of runaway planets are on a collision course with earth. The world is doomed--but humanity might have a chance to survive, if the best and brightest minds in the scientific world can succeed in building a spaceship to take a few lucky pioneers to resettle on one of the approaching planets.
Without question, this book was ahead of its time in a number of respects. The description of space travel, for example, is remarkable, given that the book was written more than a decade before the earliest high-atmosphere rocket launches. Likewise, the use of atomic energy in the book predates the actual use of fission power by a number of years. The apocalyptic genre is similarly prescient; nowadays, this kind of book is everywhere, but in the 1930s, prior to the doom-and-gloom days of the Cold War, the end of the world was not something too many people were writing about.
The writing quality, narrative style, and characterizations all betray the book's age. One glaring example of this is the main character, who is horribly sexist, bordering on misogynistic, and this is portrayed as perfectly normal and acceptable. This is doubtless a fairly accurate depiction of society's view of women at the time, but it's distracting nonetheless. I found myself rolling my eyes at least once a chapter.
The almost monotonous reading does not help matters. Peter Ganim is at his best when speaking in the accented voices of scientists from South Africa and France, but most of the time his reading is less than compelling.
The story itself is pretty good, particularly the imaginative natural-disaster scenarios that play out as the planets approach earth. As "modern" society descends into chaos, only the strongest and smartest survive, and the authors did a good job of showing what that might look like.
When Worlds Collide is a worth listening to if you enjoy science fiction, particularly early science fiction. It's not exactly on a level with Ray Bradbury, but it's a good story and will hold your interest. Recommended without much enthusiasm, but recommended nevertheless.
So, the problem is two fold: 1) that you continually want to call
Avid scifi fan since I was a kid.
I love this novel. but I have to say that Peter Ganim's narration was just horrible. He reads it in an overly dramatic style that turns a great story into a corny piece of junk.
I recommend reading the book and skipping the audio version. Same with the sequel "After worlds Collide"
Keep in mind,this is an old book. So some of the things in it are quite dated. Over all its a cool story about the end of the world and an inventive way to save humanity.
I have to admit I was not aware this was written in 1932/33 when I started reading. It was only a couple hours in that some clues prompted me to find out. My point being that the work holds up very well after all this time. That it was penned before even the first dalliances of mans ascent to the heavens lends more admiration.
I hope that one day this book is made into a modern big blockbuster Hollywood spectacular. One that would far outshine 2012 and it's razor thin premise. The events portrayed in When Worlds Collide are as utterly plausible and real today, as they were in 1932.
The narration was excellent. I always enjoy Peter Ganim's performances.
I found this an enjoyable listen over all, however the writing style is quaint, highly embellished and somewhat stilted to 21st century ears. In fact, I can't believe people actually spoke like that in the 30's. The narrator does an excellent job of interpreting it, reflecting the formal tone but embellishing with good characterisation. The formality of the narrator's tone took some getting used to it, but once I realised it reflected the writing style, I appreciated it far more.
The science is quite outdated - pre-space travel and pre-nuclear trying to imagine both. It must have been thrilling when it was written and while even to layman's ears is obviously wrong, it doesn't detract from the story and the search for a suitable casement for the nuclear reactor adds to the tension. A novel set in the 21st century would be very different, but probably wouldn't have the same drama as technology would be at hand to overcome many of the obstacles. The 1930's, however, provides a far more challenging and thus interesting setting.
I'm looking forward to the sequel.
The author made me feel like this could really happen
The battle with the outsiders at the compound
The flooding of New York
The description of the Bronson bodies- terrible & beautiful
The characters were interesting and believable, it really made me think of what mankind would do with the opportunity to completely start over.
Spring City Jim
No. While the concept is classic, the story is very dated when compared to current technology. But again you must consider when it was written. Also, the authors fell short in their effort to express the relationship between Tony and Eve. Furthermore, their effort to create suspense seemed childish by today's standards. The bottom line is that there are better books out there.
I enjoy the opportunity to check out classics but in this case i'd say it's just a little too dated. the premise is interesting but there is a naiveté to the overall story line and style that doesn't work anymore. for a kid's early scifi reading it may be fine, aside from the mention of polygamous repopulation needed for the future of mankind, but the coincidences etc. of early lit are too much for me. the reader is fine and has done fine work elsewhere.