The Barnes & Noble Review
Originally published by Astounding Science Fiction magazine in 1950, what has been called one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written is being re-released by Galaxy Press in a visually stunning hardcover edition.
L. Ron Hubbard's timeless classic To the Stars begins with one of the genre's most memorable opening lines: "Space is deep, Man is small and Time is his relentless enemy." In a future where spaceships traverse the universe at nearly the speed of light, a young engineer's dreams of making a fortune in space have nightmarish consequences as he is forced into duty aboard a long-passage starship. These ships prove Einstein's time-dilation theory (as mass approaches the speed of light it approaches infinity, and time approaches zero) and even though their journey may only last a few weeks, decades have passed on Earth.
When Alan Corday finally returns to Earth, he immediately travels to New Chicago in search of his fiancée. But in the few weeks that he has been gone, Earth is -- to put it mildly -- much changed. Without family or friends or a relevant society to return to, Corday does what he vowed never to do again: He signs on for another long passage.
Not unlike the starships featured within, Hubbard's To the Stars has -- astonishingly -- beaten back Time, the relentless enemy. After more than half a century, the novel remains just as timely, just as awe-inspiring, just as profoundly moving as it was in 1950. Anyone who doubts the sheer creative and visionary genius of L. Ron Hubbard need just read this novel. Paul Goat Allen
Hubbard (1911-1986) was one of the great pulp writers, and this brief SF novel, initially published in two parts in 1950 by John W. Campbell in Astounding Science Fiction, is one of his finest works. In it, Hubbard embraces one of SF's deepest goals, to explore the emotional consequences of technological advance, by imagining the effect upon star-faring humans of the "basic equation of mass and time.... AS MASS APPROACHES INFINITY, TIME APPROACHES ZERO." That is, as those who travel to distant stars at near light speed experience, say, the passing of a year, those left behind will experience the passing of decades, centuries. And so young nobleman Alan Corday responds in horror when, on Earth, he's kidnapped to the interstellar trader Hound of Heaven by order of its notorious Captain Jocelyn, who needs a new officer. Alan resists joining starship society, but when he returns home from several adventures in hopes of rejoining his fiancee, he finds her an ancient amnesiac and himself a man out of time, with no real home but that of the cursed starship. In heated prose ("The quivering Hound of Heaven hurled herself on course, blazing bow to bridge with particle flame..."), Hubbard brilliantly evokes the vastness of space and the tragedy of those who would conquer it. The novel's turning point-Alan's reckoning with time's implacability-is narrated suspensefully, but comes as no surprise; what does impress immensely is Hubbard's handling of the bitter consequences of Alan's realization, as well as his believable detailing of starship society. Readers used to today's bloated SF tomes will appreciate Hubbard's ability to pack an epic into relatively few pages-this is indeed golden SF from the Golden Age. (Sept.) Forecast: In an unusual move, legendary jazz master Chick Corea has created an identically titled soundtrack to the novel, also issued by Galaxy. With its enormous marketing muscle ready to tap into the vast Hubbard fan base and beyond, Galaxy should see both the book and the CD flirting with national lists. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Hubbard's sf tale, first serialized in Astounding Science Fiction magazine in the 1950s, is here presented in a quality hardcover. Note that musician Chick Corea has released a CD of the same name, containing music inspired by the book. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"One of his finest works.... Hubbard brilliantly evokes the vastness of space and the tragedy of those who would conquer it. ...this is indeed golden SF from the Golden Age.” —Publishers Weekly Starred review
"Awe-inspiring ... creative and visionary genius." —Barnes & Noble Explorations
“Hubbard is a thinker who writes, rather than a writer who thinks, as most masters are.” —SFO Chronicle
"A master of the art of narrative." —Robert Silverberg
"To the Stars, by L. Ron Hubbard, is one of the greatest science fiction novels that has ever been written." —Jerry Pournelle