When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer

When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer

I plucked this from the bookshelf not really knowing what to expect and have got to say I was pleasantly surprised. The cover on the version I read is nothing like the one above (which is in fact much better) so I didn’t have all that high hopes to begin with. It turns out it’s another sci-fi classic although it’s quite an early one as this one was originally serialised in a magazine back in 1933. Considering how long ago it was written I found it quite fresh and some of the ideas were clearly far ahead of their time.

The basic premise is that 2 planets – Bronson Alpha and Bronson Beta (with the smaller one orbiting the larger one) – are heading towards Earth on a collision course and humankind only has a very limited amount of time to do anything about it. According to Wikipedia this novel had quite a wide influence and the idea of an approaching planet threatening Earth’s destruction was appropriated by other writers who used it in a diverse range of books and films – from Flash Gordon and Superman to the 1998 film Deep Impact (which is rubbish). Without giving too much away a desperate plan is formulated to save a small proportion of the population but is there any chance of it working? I thought the situation and characters were well thought out and somewhat realistic (given the fact it was written so long ago). I think I’ve said enough for now. Suffice it to say it’s well worth a read.

8/10

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Filed under Books, review, science fiction

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