Saturday, October 14, 2006

Aaron's Book of the Week :: The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson Tucker

The Year of the Quiet SunThe Book of the Week is the 1970 first printing, paperback original of The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson "Bob" Tucker, cover art by Leo and Diane Dillon. This is to honor Mr. Tucker, who passed away last week, forcing the cancellation of his upcoming Third Annual 90th Birthday Party.

Bob Tucker was a successful author of both science fiction and mysteries. Before becoming a professional author, he was an active science fiction fan for many years, publishing various fanzines and receiving a Hugo Award as best fan writer. At one time it was a running gag in SF fandom to spread false news of Tucker's death (somebody thought it was funny - I guess you had to be there); unfortunately, last week's news was not such a hoax.

Tucker was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1996 and inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2003. He was noted for time travel stories with a more somber tone than most time travel adventures. The Year of the Quiet Sun is an example, telling of time travelers who venture a generation into the future to find America torn apart by interminable wars overseas and race riots at home. The Year of the Quiet Sun was a nominee for the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel of 1970 and won a John W. Campbell Campbell Memorial Award.

Aside from his own fiction, Wilson Tucker will live on in science fiction through two pieces of terminology. First, in 1941 Tucker coined the term "space opera," widely used to this day to describe free-wheeling interstellar adventures like Star Wars. Second, Tucker delighted in naming his characters after friends and colleagues, and so now whenever a science fiction author borrows the name of a fellow SF writer or personality it is called a "Tuckerism."

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