The esteemed and dedicated administrative assistant at McFarland & Company Lori Tedder has sent me another review of C.M. Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary -- one which appeared in an unusual venue.
The biography seems to have been featured at the beginning of the radio program "The Operaphile" at the end of January. What I received were some pages from a typescript. In handwriting on the first page appears the notation, "Aired 30 Jan 10 WFOS-FM."
Do opera fans respond to the fiction of Cyril Kornbluth? Apparently so. (And I suppose if I had gone on in the Classical music field, I would have found nothing too unusual about it -- being one who has attended operas.) The comments were quite favorable:
"How many of us who started with science fiction or, rather, 'sci-fi,' during the 1950s remember reading Kornbluth's short stories in almost every anthology that was released during that rich period? I'll be we all do. In fact, look through almost any anthology published today and you'll see one of his stories."
While that is not quite right-on, it constitutes some positive wishful thinking. The host or commentator of "The Operaphile" goes on, "True, a sizeable portion of Kornbluth's later work (he died in 1958 at the age of 35), like other postwar fiction writers, either focused on or was certainly influenced by two factors, the Red Scare and The Bomb. But, unlike less talented authors, even those stories and novels have much we can still enjoy.
"Mr. Rich's exhaustive work is not just the life of C.M. Kornbluth. It is also a biography of the science fiction movement that was largely started by Hugo Gernsback in the 1920s and '30s with pulp magazines like Amazing Stories. Science fiction stories and novels were certainly published before that but it was now given a new name and a devoted following of boith fans and writers that continues today. A highly recommendable book that is an excellent read."
The minor quibble is, of course, that Cyril actually died at age 34. But that is a fact I failed to snatch away from the back-cover copy when I had a chance -- so it is just about fixed in the pixels. And I suppose if he had passed his 34th birthday and was on his way to his 35th ... which date is more meaningful? I cannot say.