Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beachhead, a 1992 novel by Jack Williamson

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 description printed on 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.

A review of Beachhead from Kirkus Reviews is available at Amazon.

Credited with coining the term “terraforming” in the early 1940s, Jack Williamson stated in a January 1999 interview with the SF Site: “Well, I've written a Mars novel, Beachhead, but when you consider all the parts of the Earth that might be terraformed, it seems like a long haul to Mars. A lot of New Mexico could stand some weather modification. We human beings are part of a very complicated biological system that we don't entirely understand. I'm not sure how successfully all of it can be translated to other environments, so I'm not as enthusiastic about terraforming as I was in 1942.”

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