Friday, 8 July 2011

Review: The Coming of the Ice

"The Coming of the Ice" by G Peyton Wertenbaker (1926)

A 20th century man is given immortality, but at the price of spiritual stagnation.  Worse, the woman he loves and the scientist who discovered the process are killed in a motor car accident, so our hero is forced to live out his days alone until the world itself dies in the grip of a new ice age.

When Hugo Gernsback founded Amazing Stories in 1926, he saw science fiction as a teaching medium; a way to prepare the public for the fantastic world to come.  Because of this, the idea behind a story was often allowed to overwhelm the story itself until the end product is little more than a dessicated shell of a plot.  So it is with "The Coming of the Ice".  This brief tale has a certain pathos, but the narrator is so detached and expects us to be so enthralled by the roster of future events that author never regards it as necessary to truly engage our attention with more than superficial romance and conflictless incident. 

A story more famous for it's illustration than for itself, "The Coming of the Ice" needs to thaw out.

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