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Edgar Pangborn

PostPosted: Tuesday, 13 October 2009, 11:26 am
by Randy M.
Hi, all.

One of my favorite s.f. authors from the 1950s is Edgar Pangborn. I came across his work in the late 1970s and early 1980s due, in part, to enthusiastic reviews by Spider Robinson. I probably should resist mentioning Pangborn until I reread some of his work, but here goes anyway ...

Davy and A Mirror for Observers are fine s.f. novels, as good as any from the 1950s and early '60s, though I admit the novel competition from that decade is thin. Even more impressive to me, a short story addict, were the two collections, Good Neighbors and Other Strangers and Still I Persist in Wondering, the latter all stories based in the same world as Davy. Pangborn's prose is smooth, not as idiosyncratic as Davidson's or stylish as Bradbury's, but not as bland, to me anyway, as Philip Dick's. What made me an enthusiastic reader was his empathy for his characters, his ability to write about characters who may not be perfect, but come across as human and understandable even in a s.f. context.

Damon Knight wrote a brief, somewhat admiring if bemused review of one of Pangborn's works in which he said something to the effect that Pangborn didn't have a broad range of subject and approach, that he seemed a bird that knew only one-note, but sang it beautifully. That struck me as about right.

A little while ago, Eric, on another forum you listed out a number of writers you considered better than Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke, Pangborn among them. But I don't find his name anywhere on the forum. I'm curious why he's not at least among your 'Other Candidates.'

Randy M.