Sunday, July 15, 2007

Aaron's Book of the Week :: Berserker by Fred Saberhagen

BerserkerThe Book of the Week is Berserker by Fred Saberhagen, in honor of Mr. Saberhagen, who passed away last week at the age of 77. This is a signed and inscribed copy of the first printing, paperback original, published in 1967. (Yes, this is the second recent Book of the Week that I had signed by an author not long before he died, but I assure you the great majority of people who have signed books for me are still alive and kicking.)

Fred Saberhagen was the author of over 60 books. He was successful writing fantasy (including the Empire of the East and Book of Swords series) and horror (notably The Dracula Tape and sequels, in which Count Dracula is the hero), but will likely always be best remembered for his science fiction series about the berserkers, beginning with the Book of the Week. In the universe of Berserker, the combatants in an ages-past interstellar war created huge, mechanized weapons that proved much too powerful. These "berserker" weapons annihilated both sides and now wander the universe looking for more life to destroy. (This concept was adapted successfully to the Star Trek universe in the original series episode "The Doomsday Machine," script by Norman Spinrad.) Ironically, the advanced, peaceful races of the galaxy must turn to humans to combat these ultimate WMD's, because we still have the necessary violent and warlike tendencies.

Next week, back to the great classics of science fiction from 1953.

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