Thursday, September 13, 2007

Beachhead to a Grand Master's Library (1992)

Beachhead: a Novel, by Jack Williamson (1992)

At left: Paperback (New York: Tor Books, 1993), 368 p., $4.99. Introduction by Arthur C. Clarke. Cover illustration by Ron Miller. Here's the blurb from the back cover:

“Grand Master Jack Williamson has written the most realistic, exciting adventure to be based upon our up-to-date scientific findings about the nature of the Red Planet. Sam Houston Kelligan had from boyhood known that he would someday fly to Mars. But what children dream of is often far different in reality from what one could ever imagine. Having been chosen as one of a select crew Kelligan does go to Mars, only to be marooned with a crippled spacecraft, afflicted with a debilitating illness, and abandoned by crewmates. Aided by one brave woman Kelligan must somehow find a way to survive the rigors of the hostile planet and return to Earth before the members of the first manned mission to Mars have all succumbed.”

Beachhead was originally published in 1992. A book review from Kirkus Reviews is available at The entry in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database contains a partial bibliographic history, as it omits the limited first edition published by Easton Press in 1992.

On a more voluminous note, The Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library at Eastern New Mexico University, established in 1982, has one of the top science fiction collections in the world. It contains more than 30,000 volumes, including science fiction books and pulps dating back to the early 1900s, manuscripts, correspondence, and photographs.

Williamson died in 2006 and an obituary appeared in the November 14, 2006, issue of The New York Times. NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast a remembrance piece on November 15, 2006. More recently, a book titled In Memory of Wonder's Child (2007) was published in honor of this sci-fi Grand Master. Williamson's autobiography, Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction, was published back in 1984.

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