The year is 1970 (the book was written in 1959) and the Industrial Corporation of Eire (ICE) is fast becoming a world leader in many forms of science although the British authorities can’t work out what’s going on as every spy they send to the fortified base of ICE in southern Ireland either fail to report back or seem to begin working for ICE. So the British send in a young Cambridge student, Thomas Sherwood, to see if he can reveal it’s secrets. This much I understood. But from then on in I felt like I was missing something. Like a chapter had been missed out or something. When I finally got to the end I was completely underwhelmed by the ending and felt a little cheated.
To me this had the feel of an extended short story and I could give away the plot with one sentence. But I won’t because i’m nice like that. This was written by Fred Hoyle who was a famous astronomer and mathematician and was, by all accounts, a pretty smart guy but unfortunately I’m not really digging his style.
I think the best parts of the book were the chase across the Irish countryside but these bits were more like a thriller (think John Buchan’s 39 steps) and could have been in any story as they were barely related to the science fiction overtones which are (kind of) revealed towards the end.
If you look back through our posts we have quite a number of vintage science fiction books which were all purchased for next to nothing. I’m constantly surprised by some of the quality numbers i’ve read but unfortunately this was not amongst them.
- Book Review: Ossian’s Ride, Fred Hoyle (1959) (sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com)