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Fred Hoyle (1915–2001)

Author of The Black Cloud

93+ Works 5,319 Members 82 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Photo by Chandra Wickramasinghe


Works by Fred Hoyle

The Black Cloud (1957) 1,177 copies
October the First is Too Late (1966) — Author — 493 copies
A for Andromeda (1962) — Author — 421 copies
Fifth Planet (1963) — Author — 329 copies
Andromeda Breakthrough (1964) — Author — 225 copies
Ossian's Ride (1959) 203 copies
Rockets in Ursa Major (1955) — Author — 200 copies
The Nature of the Universe (1950) — Author — 173 copies
Frontiers of Astronomy (1955) 170 copies
Into Deepest Space (1974) — Author — 169 copies
Element 79 (1967) 165 copies
The Inferno (1973) 164 copies
Astronomy (1962) 120 copies
Seven Steps to the Sun (1970) 119 copies
On Stonehenge (1972) 102 copies
The Incandescent Ones (1977) 82 copies
The Molecule Men (1971) — Author — 59 copies
Of Men and Galaxies (1972) 41 copies
Diseases from space (1980) 39 copies
Ten faces of the universe (1977) 37 copies
Ice (1981) 23 copies
The Westminster Disaster (1978) 23 copies
Comet Halley (1985) 22 copies
Man and Materialism (1956) 21 copies
Highlights in Astronomy (1975) 19 copies
Man in the universe (1964) 15 copies
Cosmic Life-Force (1988) 13 copies
The Frozen Planet of Azuron (1982) — Author — 9 copies
The new face of science (1960) 9 copies
The Planet of Death (1982) 9 copies
The Energy Pirate (1982) 9 copies
Encounter with the Future (1965) 8 copies
Mathematics of Evolution (1999) 6 copies
Astronomy Today (1975) 3 copies
Origin of Life (1980) 2 copies
Zoomen 1 copy
Matematyka ewolucji (2003) 1 copy
Devilment 79 1 copy
Kara Bulut (2022) 1 copy
Fred Hoyle 1 copy

Associated Works

The Martian Chronicles (1950) — Introduction, some editions — 16,471 copies
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (2008) — Contributor — 802 copies
Fancies and Goodnights (1951) — Introduction, some editions — 746 copies
The expert dreamers (1962) — Contributor — 76 copies
Best SF: 1967 (1968) — Contributor — 69 copies
The Best of British SF 2 (1977) — Contributor — 59 copies
Laughing Space: An Anthology of Science Fiction Humour (1982) — Contributor — 55 copies


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Common Knowledge



The story takes place in the near future---the late 1960s. (The book's copyright is 1962.) Aliens from outer space are more interested in their own interests than ours. I read the book soon after it came out. What I liked most about it was that, for the sake of a character I liked, there was a sequel. The ideas are more important than the plot or the characters. BTW, the chapter names all start with the letter A.
raizel | 6 other reviews | Aug 24, 2023 |
Excellent book, full of ideas and lively pace.
Like Arthur C. Clarke at his best.
CraigGoodwin | 26 other reviews | May 12, 2023 |
I picked up a copy of Rockets in Ursa Major at my favorite antiquarian book store pretty much on a lark. The cover was cool (see inset) and the back-cover blurb was interesting:

It is the early twenty-first century. Man is seeking signs of life elsewhere in the universe, but all exploratory ships have been lost without a trace--except for DSP 15. Thirty years after leaving Earth, and given up for lost, DSP 15 suddenly appears on radar screens at the space station at Mildenhall, England.

Her crew has been frozen to prevent aging, and as the ship settles into a landing, Dr. Richard Warboys eagerly waits with other scientists for word of what DSP 15 has found. But there is no crew, only a message scratched into a metal surface, signed by the captain:

"If this ship returns to Earth, then mankind is in deadly peril--God help you--."

Unfortunately, that was pretty much the most exciting part of the book. We learn all of this in the first 30-45 pages or so, then it sets into a typical 1960's alien invasion story.

In the denouement, the good guys win with the help of friendly aliens, but (of course) there is a promise of a bad alien return.

There wasn't much to the story, and little character development either. Fred Hoyle was not a world builder. He was, however, one of the most outspoken midcentury astrophysicists, so there is little wonder why our protagonist is a young professor/researcher/scientist at Cambridge. In a similar parallel to Hoyle's own life, the "key invention" which enables detection of in invading alien fleet was related to radar, which Hoyle worked on for the Admiralty during World War II. Scientific jargon is embedded throughout -- perhaps too much for a work of fast fiction -- but I didn't find it detracting from the story. (However, I'm probably biased because I'm an astrodynamicist by trade, and anything about orbits, trajectories, and space combat is like candy to me....)

Interesting facts:
  • This was Fred Hoyle's eighth work of fiction. His best known is 1959's The Black Cloud, which is worth checking out if you can find a copy.
  • He co-wrote this book with his son Geoffrey. This was the second of 12 works the father-son team wrote together.
  • The book was adapted from a play which was first performed at the Mermaid Theatre on Easter, 1962.
  • Fred Hoyle coined the term "Big Bang Theory" in an interview on BBC Radio.

If you like simple alien invasion stories and don't mind scientific dialogue, then you will find this book worth a read.
… (more)
howermj | 1 other review | Mar 20, 2023 |
Fina lepo zasluzena jedinica.
Skolski primer kako ne treba pisati naucnu fantastiku.
srdjashin | 1 other review | Nov 14, 2022 |



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