Monday, October 03, 2005
Behold the rather abstract and yet fascinating cover for Damon Knight's 1963 book, Beyond the Barrier, which I just finished reading last night. Yet another find from the Literacy Austin Book Sale earlier this year. And if you'd like to see a cover that is a little more straightforward (and yet somehow equally as cool), check here. And feel free to read the back cover of the book as well.
This was one of those books that I bought because I thought it would be a silly read with a cool cover, and instead it ended up being a really engaging read with a cool cover. The plot of the book is well constructed, with just enough science to be satisfying. There are cool aliens, people who are not what they seem, and a narrator who only remembers the past four years of his life. There is also a bunch of 1980 and 20,000 years in the future, both as imagined in 1963. One of my favorite scenes happens when the narrator (due to a variety of difficult to explain circumstances) finds himself in an experimental machine that cuts through matter when it is turned on, but which has no steering capabilities. He naturally ends up falling through the Earth at the speed of gravity and, having been a physics professor for the past four years that he can remember, he spends his time calculating how long it should take him to pop out the other side, where exactly he should pop out, and if there is any chance he might survive.
As promised by the Edmonton Journal on the front of the book, the "final twist is well hidden and adds spice to the conclusion." I like to think of myself as someone who usually sees through the "surprise" in most books, but I honestly didn't see this one coming until a few paragraphs before it was revealed.
Seven thumbs up.
In other news, here are some archives findings of the day: An amazingly cool book cover, a disturbingly cute chick stamp, and weightlifting overload.