Taking a break from award winners, several authors published their first novels in 1979. Some of these authors had previously published short stories and one notable one was active in radio and television and wound up winning several awards for work done in 1979 (Douglas Adams). Here is a look at some of the debut novels of 1979.
Perhaps the biggest splash for a debut novel in 1979 was Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, although it was really a novelization and abridged version of his radio show of the same title, which had previously aired in 1978. The novel, of course, sparked a series of five novels by Adams, plus one more by Eoin Colfer, and adaptations for stage, television, screen, and upcoming, a streaming service. A satire on the tropes of science fiction, the absurdity of the situations and responses in the books hit a nerve with the public and have expanded beyond the genre, with people who haven’t read science fiction at least recognizing that the number 42 is a cultural touchstone.
Greg Bear, considered one of the “Killer B’s” with Gregory Benford and David Brin, was born on August 20, 1951 and is married to Astrid, daughter of Poul and Karen Anderson.
Bear won the Nebula and Hugo Award for his novelette “Blood Music” and his short story “Tangents.” He also won the Nebula Award for the novella “Hardfought” and the novels Moving Mars and Darwin’s Radio. Moving Mars also won the Ignotus Award and Darwin’s Radio earned him his second Endeavour Award, the first was for Dinosaur Summer. He won the Prix Apollo for Blood Music and the Prix Ozone for /Slant. He won the Seiun Award for his story “Tangents” and “Heads.” In 2006, he received the Robert A. Heinlein Award and he was the Worldcon Guest of Honor for Millennium Philcon in Philadelphia in 2001.
“Schrödinger’s Plague” first appeared in the March 29, 1982 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, edited by Stanley Schmidt. Bear included it in his short story collected Tangents in 1989 and in 1992, the story was translated into Dutch and into German in 1997. Ursula K. Le Guin and Brian Attebery included the story in The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction: 1960-1990. Bear against included it in a collection with The Collected Stories of Greg Bear and when that volume was divided into three smaller books, it was invluded in Just Over the Horizon: The Collected Stories of Greg Bear Volume I.