Saturday, March 6, 2010

WILLIAM TENN: 1920 - 2010

I discovered via the British Fantasy Society that William Tenn (the pen name of Philip Klass) passed away in February 2010.

I've always had a tremendous fondness for the short stories of William Tenn ever since I read two brilliant pieces by him in the original Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus - The Liberation of Earth and Eastward Ho!

Both were clever, witty, satirical and the sort of story that could never appear outside SF. The Liberation of Earth deals with the fate of mankind following a series of 'liberations' by various alien races who decide to use the planet as an outpost in an endless galactic war, while the sublime Eastward Ho! finds white civilisation ever marginalized and pushed aside by the rise of the Great Indian Nations in the aftermath of a nuclear war, leading the survivors of the United States with no option but to flee east to the promised lands of Europe where a man 'can breath free'.

Described by The Science Fiction Encyclopedia as "one of the genre's very few genuinely comic, genuinely incisive writers of short fiction." William Tenn passed away on 7 February 2010.

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