.FREE ⚕ Ballroom of the Skies ⚖ eBooks or Kindle ePUB free
I m most familiar with John D MacDonald s Travis McGee mystery series I was surprised to find that he had also written a few Science Fiction or as he calls them, science fantasy stories Ballroom of the Skies was originally written in 1951 It s an interesting story and takes a bit of time to get into the flow of what is happening.We find the Earth working through the First Atomic War and being threatened with the 2nd The US is no longer a powerhouse, instead it is the PacIndia that is the power Dake Lorin, a journalist, has been working for a year with an idol of his, Darwin Branson, to try and stop this imminent threat But what happens will turn his life upside down There are powers that monitor everything taking place on Earth and who can impact changes they perceive that will threaten this power Where they are from and why they are doing this will become apparent as you delve into the story.I did find it confusing at time, but it is supposed to be There are illusions, mind tricks, etc that throw your image of what is real and what isn t into a tail spin I don t think it is a perfect Science Fiction story by any means, but it is well worth reading, for the time period when it was written, for the author who wrote it to gain a different perspective on his writing and just for the interesting concept 3 stars Wasn t sure where this one was going for a while, but the plot turn at the end really made this book for me I m really starting to appreciate and enjoy 50 s science fiction far than contemporary Maybe the ideas were just newer, fresher, bizarre Not a classic in the most rigid sense, but a great and rewarding read, nonetheless. This book was very tough going for me.I m a big fan of John D MacDonald, and have at least started the ambitious goal of trying to read his entire published oeuvre, in chronological order no less.As many readers no doubt know, John D is best known for his pulpy crime fiction, and most notably his Travis McGee series It is those books that really caught my attention and ingratiated him and his writing to me.Of course I was surprised to learn that John D did dabble in science fiction, with a grand total of three novels I m in general not especially a sci fi fan beyond the most mainstream original and even prequel Star Wars and original Star Trek Phillip K Dick s Blade Runner is as edgy as my sci fi tastes tend to go, and even then I strongly prefer the movie to his original book All that being said, I did read John D s first sci fi novel, Wine of the Dreamers and it was alright It was at least tolerable.I know that later on, John D ventured into sci fi with The Girl, the Gold Watch Everything and with fond memories of the early 1980 s TV movie, I look forward to reading it Perhaps all of that is why Ballroom of the Skies was such a disappointment I had great difficulty getting into it, and even getting through it Please forgive me for being brutally honest after trying to get through the first half off the book, I skimmed through the rest of it It just didn t catch let alone hold my interest Perhaps if it had been anyone other than John D., I would have given up on the book altogether and simply abandoned it However, I do have a loyalty to John D and the ambitious goal of trying to read his entire output, even if that means just skimming through part of this book in order to finish it.So, I continue to heartily endorse John D MacDonald and the vast majority of his books that I have read I look forward to continuing my way through his catalog and reading the next in line, The Damned I view this foray of his into science fiction or, as he says in the afterward of the book, science fantasy as one big exception. This 1952 novel is John D MacDonald s second science fiction entry of the three he wrote in his long career AT this point, he had been writing novel length fiction for two years and was still learning his craft.SciFi After WWIII, the United States has been reduced to a second rate country, tensions in the world are high, and Dake Lorin has taken a year to help Darwin Branson work out a peace accords with all the nations He witnesses Branson accept watered down conciliations from Irania and knows that will cause the other nations to start waffling What caused this aboutface In a career as prolific as MacDonald s, there s bound to be some clunkers, especially early on.And this is one.MacDonald is mostly known as a mystery writer, but he had an itch to write some science fiction toward the beginning of his career, and turned out this one and the earlier Wine of the Dreamers, both on the same theme Judging by the afterword of these edition, MacDonald wasn t exactly familiar with the genre thinking science fiction necessarily included either bug eyed monsters, space opera, or mad scientists, possibly also robots and what he was after was a way of working out a question why, smart as humans are, do they keep effing up the world.Here he offers a solution very similar to the one put forth by Eric Frank Russell than a decade earlier because it s in the best interest of aliens That s from Russell s Sinister Barrier, but there s also hints of his Dreadful Sanctuary that sanity means ignoring the alien forces at work on humanity The whole story builds to a long lecture at the end If you re worried about spoilers for a book some 66 years old, skip the next bit The rest of the galaxy, we learn, is controlled by an empire, advised by supercomputers The imperials realize that their bringing peace to the galaxy means that they are no longer growing, working, and competing, making them prey to aliens beyond the galaxy or simply at risk of fizzling away And so the earth is kept unpeaceful, meaning people have to struggle and compete only through this process can the greatest minds be found, abducted, and brought to lead the empire, making it always better Further increasing the empire s strength is that there are various factions within it, meaning even the leaders of it need to continually struggle.With this as the ending, it is no surprise that our hero, who starts out working for world peace, will instead come to be one of the great potential leaders of the galactic empire.The rest of the book is mostly set up There are some nice grace notes the man we think will be the main character is killed off quickly MacDonald tries for some structural razzle dazzle, but mostly to no effect The problem is that the first 2 3 of the book is really exposition heavy The setting is the 1970s, after another world war, this time atomic, and just as a fourth is being prepared, India is now the leader of the world, which is otherwise divided into three blocs America is a fringe, decadent place except for the strong heartland MacDonald spends a lot of time simply stating all of this, rather than showing it.The dialogue tends to be very on the nose with a lot of as you knows MacDonald seems to think stilted dialogue is another necessary component of the genre Everyone is very earnest, even those with seemingly nefarious plots Conversations are often heavy handed bits of exposition.MacDonald also tries to keep the reader off balance by monkeying with reality The aliens have mental powers that allow them to alter perceptions Buried deep in this book is an early version of cyberpunk, with drugs and decadence and altered consensual reality, but MacDonald never brings it out This technique has a few striking pay offs, but other times the fact that someone s perception will be altered is told, then the perception altered, and the narrative goes on to describe the person s actions these amount to extended dream pieces that fluff an already short novel to no real purpose.Can t really recommend it to anyone but a MacDonald completist. The story bored me a bit at first, but not too much Then it got really interesting Our hero, a modern Don Quixote, gets knocked around from one end of the planet to the other But he perseveres I ve read this before and forgotten a bit of it I thought the ending was a bit different. .FREE ♉ Ballroom of the Skies ♻ Have You Ever Stopped To Wonder Why The World Is Eternally War Torn Why Men Of Good Will, Seeking Only Peace, Are Driven Relentlessly To Further Disaster MacDonlad S Novel Suggests A Strange And Sinister ExplainationHere We Enter An Intricate Future Society, In Which India Rules The Globe The First Atomic War Has Just Ended, And Already Momentum Is Clearly Building For The SecondPeople Shrug War Is Man S Nature, They Think Until Drake Lorin Discovers The Aliens Living Among Us, And Begins To Divine Their Sinister Purpose MacDonald expressed some interesting and thought provoking ideas about war and peace and progress What was disappointing for me was the story as a story I have read roughly a dozen or books by MacDonald, not just Travis McGee tales, and the storytelling here is the weakest I have read by him. SF novel with a theme fromthe fiftiesMany reflections of ideas and philosophies that were outgrowths of WW II While a contemporary writer would write a different story, it will no doubt be retold Perhaps in a way stories like the Matrix reflect a similar idea or Elon Musk s idea that our lives and civilization are really an elaborate simulaton. Read this decades ago need to reread.