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The Lucky Strike (Outspoken Authors) by Kim…

The Lucky Strike (Outspoken Authors) (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Kim Stanley Robinson

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845143,474 (4.11)12
Title:The Lucky Strike (Outspoken Authors)
Authors:Kim Stanley Robinson
Info:PM Press (2009), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Lucky Strike by Kim Stanley Robinson (2009)



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So great! It's really got me thinking about the philosophy of history, and Walter Benjamin's idea that the stories we tell can "foreclose" both certain pasts and even certain futures. Great, economical writing - I'll definitely be reading more of Robinson! ( )
  chknight | Feb 28, 2016 |
A great alternative view on if the bomb was never dropped during the war. ( )
  capiam1234 | Jun 13, 2014 |
Really just a set of two short stories, or one novella and a short story. Then a long interview with the author about writing, his social thoughts, and such. The main story is about what happens if the crew that was to fly the Enola Gay crashed and never bombed Japan and that task fell on another crew. Another crew that might make different decisions about dropping an atomic bomb. Interesting story -but probably not worth publishing basically alone in this short form. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
Rating: 4.5* of five

The Book Report: A fifty-seven page novella of alternative developments on Tinian Island in the run-up to the atom bombing of Japan in 1945. A sixteen-page essay on the nature of alternative history and its quantum influences. And a twenty-page interview of author Robinson by fellow author Terry Bisson.

In short, my little corner of Heaven delivered early.

My Review: I said some unkind things about talented writer[Ian Tregillis's novel[Bitter Seeds here recently, having to do with that novel's use of superhero-y claptrap. Here is the diametric opposite of that novel, and thus the almost certain recipient of my most celebratory smiles. I'd probably give even a crummy alternative history novel, one presented in prose so wooden as to be describable as carpentered not written, three stars after that thoroughly disagreeable experience.

Happily, though, Robinson's accustomed prose mastery is intact and I needed no unhappy comparisons to convince me to award the story its four and a half stars. Frank January, bombardier of the Lucky Strike, is older than his crewmates, apart from them in social ways; they see him as Other, as he sees himself. Their responses to him help form his course of action when the Lucky Strike is called to duty as the carrier of the atomic bomb after the failure of the Enola Gay. Hiroshima is spared its place in history. Lives are lost, it's true, but January cannot bring himself to rain devastation down on the city most of us use in our mental inventory of metaphors as representative of annihilation.

The story ends as January's fate is decided. And, had there not been an essay called “A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions” included in the book, I might have given The Lucky Strike three and a half stars, because the implications of the events in the story are so, well, so monumental, so completely brain-bending, that leaving me where it did would produce readerly, ummm, well interruptus of literary sort, with attendant shouts of anger and dismay.

The essay goes into some very interesting and convincing philosophical explorations of the nature of alternative historical fiction, likening the course of history to the particle-and-wave nature of light. Robinson uses The Lucky Strike as his lens of explanation, running through many possible outcomes of the facts as presented in the story used to explain the butterfly effect, the great man theory, and other established formulations of the central conundrum of history: Why did that happen the way it did? It's a terrific essay, one I want to have for my personal library, and it's been a struggle against my inner book-Gollum not to keep the liberry book and say I lost it....

Finally, the interview. I enjoyed reading the author's thoughts on SF, on writing, on politics (we're close on this subject), and I found his assertion that science and leftism are closely allied perceptive and heartening, since I believe that science and logic will eventually grind superstition and conservatism under their boot-heels.

I sure as hell hope so, anyway, since I do NOT want to live in a future hag-ridden by viciousness. ( )
5 vote richardderus | May 6, 2012 |
...Outspoken is certainly applicable to Robinson in this book. He gives us an awful lot to think about in a mere 120 pages. I very much enjoyed reading it and will no doubt reread is a number of times in the future. Robinson is way on the left side of the political spectrum and he makes no secret of it. This book is provocative and meant to be that way, something to keep in mind while reading it. While reading The Lucky Strike I realized I have only read a few of Robinson's short stories. Fortunately there are plans for a best of collection to be published sometime next year. I am definitely going to read that.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Nov 27, 2009 |
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Combining dazzling speculation with a profoundly humanist vision, this astounding alternate history tale presents a dramatic encounter with destiny wrapped around a simple yet provocative premise: the terrifying question of what might have happened if the fateful flight over Hiroshima had gone a bit differently. An extensive interview with the author, offering insight into his fiction and philosophies, is also included.… (more)

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