Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fredric Brown

I don't know shit about science fiction, so maybe this guy is super famous. A copy of his 1949 book, What Mad Universe, was sighted by me this morning. This is the cover, by which I immediately judged that the book could not be anything other than awesome.

Wikipedia on Fredric Brown

From that page, the plot synopsis of What Mad Universe:

Keith Winton is a journalist for a science-fiction review. With his glamorous co-worker girlfriend, Betty, he visits his friends one day in their elegant estate in the Catskills, unfortunately, as we'll find out, on the same day as an experimental rocket is to be launched. Betty has to go back to New York. Keith is alone in his friends' garden, deep in thought, when, suddenly, the engine of the rocket (whose launch has been a failure) crashes and explodes upon his friends' residence, taking him to a strange but deceptively similar parallel universe. Wild-eyed and astray, Keith is astonished to see how credits have replaced dollars; is amazed when he encounters some scantily-clad pin-up girls who are, at the same, astronauts; is driven to stupor when he encounters his first Arcuturian. But it is when he tries to get back to his usual world when he finally understands his problem, if not the solution.

And there's a description of the novel's "style":

What Mad Universe is full of humour, mostly stemming from the description of the culture shock that the protagonist feels, and the strange things that are in the universe, like knitting machines that open the way for a voyage in space. A half-serious, half-humorous take on modern society and the reality of our world, its light-hearted style would be built on by subsequent books, most notably his 1955 work, Martians, Go Home.

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