A science-fiction editor by the name of Keith Winton is eagerly awaiting viewing the first rocket landing on the moon. Something goes terribly wrong and there is an explosion. Winton is catapulted into another universe. Suddenly, he finds himself in a world of space-ships and interplanetary wars. A violent hurtling world he was never meant to see - and one he longed to escape.
Wikipedia says this a critique of it's genre and a superior example of it. That genre is pulp science fiction. Robert Silverberg writes in his book IN THE BEGINNING, these stories do not deal in poetic vision, singing prose or deep insight into character. Nor are these stories that will tell you much about the human condition. These are fast-paced adventure stories, written partly for fun and partly for money.
The written for money part is obvious in this book. In that day writers were paid by the word, this lead to the repeating of some worthless dialogue. The main character may say the same thing three times, only worded a little different. Most writers pushed these out fairly fast, in only mere hours sometimes. Which is why in this book at least twice you have scientist making great discoveries by accident and even after they make them they can not explain how they work. The main discovery in this book is the result of a scientist working with a sewing machine.
Their are some fun parts, such as the scantly clad lead female. All those old magazines had scantly clad women on the cover. At audible, all of Allan Kaster's anthologies have sexy women on the cover and they have nothing to do with any of the stories. The lead character in this is incredibly stupid, he walks into several traps that you the reader see coming. I believe Brown did this on purpose along with the scantly clad female and the stupid scientist. This is the total opposite of hard science fiction.
You may like this, it might give you day dream material without the bother of all the explaining of how things work. A kind of what if. Pulp Fiction is not around today, as most people demand more. I also believe it turned a lot of people off to Science Fiction. Only you know if this is your thing or not.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up What Mad Universe in three words, what would they be?
parallel universe mystery
What did you like best about this story?
The trepidation of making a mistake in the alternate universe
Any additional comments?
It's an old book I had never heard of but great fun to listen to! Definitely recommend it to sci-fi fans.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
I like to check out old classics when they are available but though this one was ok, it was a little too dated and the theme/idea has been done so many times since it's publication that it just doesn't quite hold up. There are still some good moments but several things that I would have liked to see developed are passed by. Add to this poor narration and it turned into a hurry-up-and-get-done slog. There are a few poor/bad narrators to watch out for with audio books and this is one of them, very uninspired.
2 of 22 people found this review helpful