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Design: Arthur Shilstone
Book= VG+ or better
|ex-ChUSFA: stamp on first inside page, page 85. MORE INFO|
Takeoff - The first solo novel by C. M. Kornbluth. As with much SF of this vintage, events have passed this one by in a rather different fashion. One needs to compare it to books before and not after, and at the very least you get picture of the mindset of the times when this was written.
Plot summary excerpted from a review in Astounding October 1952: "This seems to be the season for hybrid between science fiction and one form or another of the detective story. And, since C. M. Kornbluth is easily one of the best of the new crop of SF writers, it should not be surprising that his "Takeoff" is a pretty successful cross. The story of Dr. Michael Novak, young ceramics engineer, who is railroaded out of the employ of the Atomic Energy Commission and presently finds himself in the bewildering establishment of the so-called American Society for Space Flight, satisfies another often-cited need in SF: a story which achieves some degree of verisimilitude in depicting the atmosphere of technical work. The clues which convince Novak that something peculiar is going on behind the scenes in the ASSF are technical clues - features of design in the society's supposed mock-up of a moon rocket, which seems to require a specific and allegedly nonexistant fuel. And when Novak shares his suspicions with August Clifton, Clifton dies. You may, if you are a mystery hound as well as a SF fan, be able to see through the tangle of clues and action to the explanation which Novak overlooks. The ceramicist is, after all, the hot-tempered kind who pokes his boss in the nose first and complains of mistreatment afterward, and he swings at the obvious opponent in trying to track down Clifton's murderer. But here is the build-up of a moon-flight every bit as convincing as Arthur C. Clarke's "Prelude to Space" - which is to say, very convincing indeed... [-P. Schuyler Miller]
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