Worlds of Weinbaum

    Weinbaum's worlds are eight tales of action, adventure, and alien discovery that revolve around the planets and moons of New Sol, a system redder and more compact than our own, but much like how our Solar System was imagined in the 1930s.

 

   We've updated Stanley G. Weinbaum's original science fiction short stories into a new setting, a system where his dreams really could take place, not too different from how he first wrote them, in the not-so-distant future.

Worlds of Weinbaum, M. Elliot, C. Koepp, & T. Perry.

   I really enjoyed the fact that Weinbaum’s stories, which were based on imagining that many planets of the Solar System could be inhabited and were teeming with alien life, including intelligent alien life, had an early-20th Century feel to them. Like the polar expeditions of that time, privately funded, or expeditions to tropical jungle regions. Or the feel of the pioneering days of aircraft, in which bold people privately took big risks in hopes of making history. Or making a living.

 

   Weinbaum is credited with creating the first realistic alien character, who was neither a monster nor a human-being-in-another-form. His story A Martian Odyssey is the oldest short story that’s memorialized in the Science Fiction hall of fame.

 

Our Changes to Weinbaum

 

   The changes Heather M. Elliot, Cindy Koepp, and I made were mainly a science update to what Weinbaum imagined. The science of his day was all wrong about what the Solar System was like, but what he thought might be possible actually is more realistic for planets around another star. So that’s how we imagined the stories, being around another star.

 

   So we imagined hypothetical aliens lifted humans who would have perished in various disasters near the end of the 1800s  and early 1900s (such as the Gavelston hurricane) and lifted them to another world without making themselves directly known. These new humans reconstructed nations and cultures that in some strong ways paralleled the 1930s that Weinbaum knew…though that parallel didn’t happen until the 20th and 21st Centuries Weinbaum wrote about as his imaginary future.

 

   In a new star system, one redder and more compact, Weinbaum’s vision of the future of private space travel and exploration shifted from impossible to “perhaps out there somewhere this could be.” We kept much of the original stories and their dialogue, but shifted things so not all the characters were European or white American, while also blunting some of the misogynist-ish and atheistic moments of the tales and mildly adding more emphasis to some of the Biblical references Weinbaum already had made.

 

   Weinbaum’s tales are fun and energetic and wildly imaginative. They also, by the way, frequently include love interests and resourceful female characters who make major decisions–though they also get scared and seek male help at times (nope, we didn’t edit that out).

   One feature of our changes is we decided the humans inhabiting these new worlds would name them for the Solar System they knew, but flip their Greek and Latin names–so Mars and Venus, which were Latin words, we changed to Ares and Aphrodite. But for Uranus, which came from Greek, we adopted Latin word “Caelus.”

 

   All distances of travel, references to seasons, references to past history, references to Earth animals, some character names, and some other elements we already mentioned we changed. But overall, the stories are very similar to Weinbaum’s tales as he first wrote them. With his zest and flair and fun, but more realistic and balanced. And now copyrighted, this version, by Bear Publications.                                                                  The Worlds of New Sol.

    Worlds of Weimbaum is a well developed anthology collection where you´ll find stories of killer jungles, strange fevers, clever and unmistakably alien aliens, frozen landscapes. Human men and women struggle to explore, survive, and make a living off these bizarre and often hostile worlds, with all the energy, zest, and risk-taking of the explorers of remote stretches of Planet Earth and the pioneering aircraft of the early Twentieth Century. But much stranger--much more unexpected.

 

Travis Perry.

Editor.

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