Friday, April 22, 2011

Forgotten Books: The War of Two Worlds - Poul Anderson

Here's another Ace Science Fiction Double by an always reliable author.  This short novel was originally published in 1953 under the title "Silent Victory" in the pulp TWO COMPLETE SCIENCE-ADVENTURE NOVELS, and then later was reprinted as THE WAR OF TWO WORLDS as half of Ace Double D-335, which is where I read it. Poul Anderson has never been one of my favorite authors, but he could be counted on for consistently entertaining work, and that's the case here.


THE WAR OF TWO WORLDS takes us back to the Solar System as it was originally portrayed in SF, with life on other planets -- or at least one other planet, in this case Mars. This novel begins where some would end, as a long, bloody war between the Terrans and the Martians finally grinds to a halt with the Martians emerging victorious. The narrator and hero, a spacer with the United Nations forces, returns to a defeated Earth under Martian occupation. But all is not as it seems, and before you know it, we're off on a cross-country adventure that at times reads more like hardboiled crime fiction than SF.


The short length and pulp origins means that the story is almost all action without much characterization, but there are some nice plot twists along the way and the pace seldom lets up for very long. Not a great book, but I found it pretty enjoyable and think that it's well worth reading.

8 comments:

George said...

I always liked that cover for THE WAR OF TWO WORLDS. Like you, I was an early Poul Anderson fan. He was a consummate pro who produced high quality fiction for decades.

Walker Martin said...

I remember buying this off the newstand as a kid. I loved the Emsh covers and obtained all the Ace doubles as they were published. Back then, it was actually possible to buy all the SF books as they came out.

Richard R. said...

I have a lot of books by Poul Anderson, who for me IS a favorite author, but not this one. Silent Victory / A War of Two Worlds isn't short enough, apparently to be considered (at least in the first 4 volumes) of NESFA's collected short works of series.

What's on the flip side of this one?

Walker - it's amazing to think of being able to buy all of the Ace Doubles as they were published. I'll bet you've kept them all, haven't you?

Charles Gramlich said...

I well remember this. Good un. I liked almost all of Poul's early stuff.

James Reasoner said...

Rick,
The other side is THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY by John Brunner.

Walker Martin said...

Richard: You are right, I do still have the Ace Doubles I bought off the newstands. Not only the SF, but also the detective and mystery and the western Ace Doubles.

Ah, nostalgia is great. Sure beats nowadays with the e-readers! Plus the Ace Doubles have a great pulpy scent to the pages.

Rick Katze said...

"The War of Two Worlds" will be published as part of volume 6, The Collected Short Works of Poul Anderson. This volume will contain a number of long(around 40,000) word stories that I wanted to see published.--Rick Katze

Rick Katze said...
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