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Human Enclaves and Experimental Planets: Rich Horton on The Sun Saboteurs/The Light of Lilith

Sunday, October 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Sun Saboteurs-small The Light of Lilith-small

Over at Strange at Ecbatan, Rich Horton reviews another great old Ace Double, this one featuring Damon Knight’s The Sun Saboteurs, paired with G. McDonald Wallis’ The Light of Lilith.

Damon Knight of course was one of the great writers in SF history, a Grand Master. The Sun Saboteurs was his second of four Ace Double halves (three separate books). It is an expansion of his 1955 novella “The Earth Quarter,” and it is about 37,000 words long. G. (for Geraldine) McDonald Wallis is almost unknown in the SF field — this novel and her 1963 Ace Double half Legend of Lost Earth are her only in-genre publications. However, she had an extensive career under the name “Hope Campbell”…

I don’t really think that Don Wollheim (or whoever else selected Ace Double pairings) necessarily chose stories that were thematically or otherwise related, but every so often it happened. This is a particularly striking case. Both The Sun Saboteurs and The Light of Lilith present a strikingly anti-Campbellian theme. In both, humans are presented as evil warmongers amid a generally peaceful Galaxy. In both, humans are forced to accept their inferiority to many alien species, and in both, many or most humans simply fail to do so. In both, humans are faced with isolation in the Solar System, and eventually with extinction. That said, one novel is far better than the other.

[Click on the images for bigger versions.]

Read Rich’s complete review here, and check out all of his Retro Reviews for Black Gate here.

We’ve covered the following Ace Doubles so far:

Wandl the Invader / I Speak For Earth by Ray Cummings and Keith Woodcott (John Brunner)
The Sioux Spaceman / And Then the Town Took Off by Andre Norton and Richard Wilson
Secret of the Lost Race/ One Against Herculum by Andre Norton and Jerry Sohl
Clockwork’s Pirates/Ghost Breaker by Ron Goulart
ATTA/ The Brain-Stealers by Francis Rufus Bellamy and Murray Leinster
The Ship from Atlantis/ The Stolen Sun by H. Warner Munn and Emil Petaja
Vulcan’s Hammer / The Skynappers by Philip K. Dick and John Brunner
The Ship That Sailed the Time Stream by G.C. Edmondson
Bow Down to Nul / The Dark Destroyers by Brian W. Aldiss and Manly Wade Wellman
Gateway to Elsewhere / The Weapon Shops of Isher by Murray Leinster and A. E. van Vogt
The Cosmic Puppets / Sargasso of Space by Philip K. Dick and Andre Norton
The Beast Master / Star Hunter by Andre Norton
Big Planet by Jack Vance
City Under the Sea by Kenneth Bulmer
The Forgotten Planet (Planets of Adventure) by Murray Leinster
Six Worlds Yonder / The Space Willies by Eric Frank Russell
Sentinels of Space / The Ultimate Invader by Eric Frank Russell and Donald Wollheim
Ring Around the Sun/ Cosmic Manhunt by Clifford D. Simak and L. Sprague de Camp
The Trouble With Tycho/ Bring Back Yesterday by Clifford D. Simak and A. Bertram Chandler
The Last Planet (Star Rangers) by Andre Norton
A Touch of Infinity/ The Man With Nine Lives by Harlan Ellison
Kirkus Looks at Donald A. Wollheim and the Ace Double
Tales of Outer Space/ Adventures in the Far Future edited by Donald A. Wollheim
The Pirates of Zan by Murray Leinster

See all of our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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