Published in: Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine, edited by Trevor Quachri
Slates: Rabid Puppies & Sad Puppies
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” is a lightweight adventure story that — according to its subtitle — tries to take us back to the Golden Age of science fiction. There are space cadets who get into trouble because of a fight and have to make it up for it by going on an expedition to an alien world, the inhabitants of which the Earth scientists have a hard time understanding.
My own knowledge of Golden Age SFF is quite limited, I have to admit. However, what little I have read by the authors who are deemed “prominent Golden Age authors” by Wikipedia, for example, seems to suggest that the really lasting Golden Age stuff usually had a little more scope than this competently written but completely harmless little story. I remember enjoying “All You Zombies–” and “Nine Billion Names of God” considerably more myself.
So, is it actually a pastiche of Golden Age SFF or a pastiche of the somewhat mythic Golden Age mindset that we ahistorically associate with SFF of that era? I really don’t know, but I suspect the latter. What I do know is that it’s, again, a competently written but completely harmless little story. There’s nothing very imaginative, interesting, special or subversive that would make me remember that I ever read it. Maybe there’s something that Golden Age SFF fans can appreciate, but I fear it’s lost on me.
I think Rajnar Vajra is the most competent Puppy-nominated author I have read so far, even though the story is quite lame. Gray Rinehart’s and Kary English’s stories are powered by much better ideas, but they fail to make the most out of them. Vajra, conversely, executes quite well everything that is there to execute in his story — the downside is that there’s a limit to what you can really do with these space cadets.
“The Triple Sun” didn’t make me roll my eyes at any point, but it did make me yawn a bit. A rousing space adventure this was not.