Don't Look Back

Elsewhen Press
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Retrospective SF short story collection from the master science writer

A real scientist writing science-fiction with real science – what more could one ask? John Gribbin is a visionary, and one heck of a good storyteller.
Robert J. Sawyer
Hugo Award-winning author of QUANTUM NIGHT

John Gribbin, widely regarded as one of the best science writers of the 20th century, has also, unsurprisingly, been writing science fiction for many years. While his novels are well-known, his short stories are perhaps less so. He has also written under pseudonyms. Here, for the first time, is the definitive collection of John’s short stories. Many were originally published in Analog and other magazines. Some were precursors to John’s classic novels InnervisionsDouble PlanetThe Alice Encounter and Father to the Man. As well as 23 Science Fiction short stories, three of which John wrote with his son Ben, this collection includes two Science Fact essays on subjects beloved of science fiction authors and readers. In one essay, John provides scientifically accurate DIY instructions for creating a time machine; and in the other, he argues that the Moon is, in fact, a Babel Fish!

The stories, many written at a time when issues such as climate change were taken less seriously, now seem very relevant again in an age of dubious politicians. What underpins all of them, of course, is a grounding in solid science. But they are also laced with a dry and subtle wit, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who has ever met John at a science fiction convention, or indeed elsewhere. He is, however, not averse to a good pun, as evidenced by a song he co-wrote for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: The Holey Cheeses of Nazareth.

 
Despite the exhortation of this collection’s title, this is a perfect opportunity to look back at John’s short stories. If you’ve never read any of his fiction before, now you have the chance to acquaint yourself with a body of work that, while being very much of its time, is certainly not in any way out of date.

 
Complementing John’s stories is a fantastic cover designed by legendary space artist David A. Hardy.

 Visit bit.ly/DontLookBackJohnGribbin

Contents:

SCIENCE FICTION
Introduction
Perpendicular Worlds
Double Planet
The Doomsday Device
Programmed for destruction
Random Variable
The Royal Visit
The Sins of the Fathers
Sense of Direction
The Best is Yet to Be
Other Edens
The Carbon Papers
Insight
Don’t Look Back
Defense Initiative
Hackers
The Words of If
Mother Love
Something to Beef About
Nature Trail
The Alice Encounter
Artifact
Easy as Pi
Untanglement: The Leaving of the Quantum Cats

SCIENCE FACT
A Do-It-Yourself Time Machine
Is the Moon a Babel Fish?

About John Gribbin:

John Gribbin was born in 1946 in Maidstone, Kent.  He studied physics at the University of Sussex and went on to complete an MSc in astronomy at the same University before moving to the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, to work for his PhD.

After working for the journal Nature and New Scientist, and three years with the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University, he has concentrated chiefly on writing books.  These include In Search of Schrödinger’s CatIn Search of the Big Bang, and In Search of the Multiverse.

He has also written and presented several series of critically acclaimed radio programmes on scientific topics for the BBC (including QUANTUM, for Radio Four), and has acted as consultant on several TV documentaries, as well as contributing to TV programmes for the Open University and the Discovery channel.

But he really wanted to be a successful science fiction writer, and has achieved at least the second part of that ambition with books such as Timeswitch and The Alice Encounter, and stories in publications such as Interzone and Analog.  But as John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi so nearly said “Sf is all very well, John, but it won’t pay the rent”.  Another thing that doesn’t pay the rent is his songwriting, mostly for various spinoffs of the Bonzo Dog Band.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical and Royal Meteorological Societies. 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Elsewhen Press
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Published on
May 5, 2017
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781911409182
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Galaxies are the building blocks of the Universe: standing like islands in space, each is made up of many hundreds of millions of stars in which the chemical elements are made, around which planets form, and where on at least one of those planets intelligent life has emerged. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is just one of several hundred million other galaxies that we can now observe through our telescopes. Yet it was only in the 1920s that we realised that there is more to the Universe than the Milky Way, and that there were in fact other 'islands' out there. In many ways, modern astronomy began with this discovery, and the story of galaxies is therefore the story of modern astronomy. Since then, many exciting discoveries have been made about our own galaxy and about those beyond: how a supermassive black hole lurks at the centre of every galaxy, for example, how enormous forces are released when galaxies collide, how distant galaxies provide a window on the early Universe, and what the formation of young galaxies can tell us about the mysteries of Cold Dark Matter. In this Very Short Introduction, renowned science writer John Gribbin describes the extraordinary things that astronomers are learning about galaxies, and explains how this can shed light on the origins and structure of the Universe. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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