October the First Is Too Late

October the First Is Too Late - Wikipedia

A fantastic science fiction tale by Fred Hoyle

This is a novel from my youth, I first read it in college, and a book from my youth also, I still have the Science Fiction Book Club edition from the same era, one of the few books that have survived successive purges of my personal library over the years. On an impulse, while waiting to pick up a new novel on hold at the library, I picked it up to reread. I’m glad I did. It’s a story about people and societies displaced in time, not exactly time travel but in that sci-fi vein. For me, reading it again was also a kind of time travel, as it awakened memories of reading it and my life and times in that distant era, half a century past. The book, unlike some I’d loved in my youth and not so much in my maturity, stand the test of time (that word again). Fred Hoyle was a distinguished astrophysicist, the first to recognize that we (and everything) are made of star stuff, elements forged in stellar nuclear reactions and dispersed in nova and supernova explosions. His parents were both musicians. His scientific background makes his science fiction truly “science” fiction. Science and music both permeate and inform this novel of a work that’s a patchwork of cultures and places from different eras in which the protagonist is a composer and pianist. One scene in particular, a contest between piano and lyre in a temple of Apollo in the golden age of Athens stayed with me over the years and decades and prompted me to read again. Somewhat to my surprise, it’s still available on Amazon. I recommend it if you like subtle nuanced science fiction.


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