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Editor reviews

Author Campbell was a science fiction pioneer. He wrote and published the stuff. Modern sci-fi provides future examples of current issues, the presentation and resolution of which makes apt social commentary. The science seems viable and the environments are copiously drawn; verisimilitude is key. The sci-fi of yesteryear will seem flimsy and naïve to modern readers. But these early works, with their famous recurring theme of good versus evil, set the template for the sophisticated fiction of the future. Narrator Gary Dikeos gives a very casual performance in his deep and drawling voice. His tone channels the masculinity of this trio of smart and rugged space cowboys. The sincerity of his performance does help to substantiate this vintage extraterrestrial realm.

Summary

Three against the stars! A sky pirate armed with superior weapons of his own invention....

First contact with an alien race dangerous enough to threaten the safety of two planets.... The arrival of an unseen dark sun whose attendant marauders aimed at the very end of civilization in this Solar System.... These were the three challenges that tested the skill and minds of the brilliant team of scientist-astronauts Arcot, Wade, and Morey. Their initial adventures are a classic of science fiction that first brought the name of their author, John W. Campbell, Jr., into prominence as a master of the inventive imagination -- long before he became the editor of Astounding/Analog and changed the field of science fiction forever!

Public Domain (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Black Star Passes

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Fixup of 3 stories first published in 1930

Typical Campbell, the hero’s of the story can invent technology and solve problems on the fly at at the drop of a hat, always able to out smart and anticipate the moves of their alien adversaries. But in the end it is always the novel ideas that are the real heroes of the stories, with some dodgy but always fun explanations of science as understood more than 90-years ago. This can only be enjoyed if you are able to capture the youthful sense of wonder from an age fallen from living memory.

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not for me

bit of dud for me, I found it over techy to the point it was like the writer was doing a scientific lecture which I'm sure some people would love but for me it came at the expense of the overall story and was a bit unnecessary but I can see how this story influenced sci-fi literature but in my opinion they improved it, the narration was a bit lacklustre too which probably didn't help

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  • Mike
  • 10-02-21

Love the Classics!

Some might be amused or even offended at the quaint, perhaps unsophisticated nature of this story, but it comes from the Golden Age of Science Fiction, reflecting all of the stereotypes, gender bias, racism, and other flaws of its era. Taking all that into account, it's quite entertaining and no less flawed than any other lit from earlier times. Fun and instructive! We have come far in a relatively short time, but we have "miles to go before" we sleep.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Randy K Allen
  • 08-01-21

Need a sleep aid?

I really hate to give up on a book but I only made it about 3/4 the way through this one. Writing is wonderful I love John Campbell‘s work, it’s definitely an older genre of science fiction what is storytelling is very good. The reader of this book it’s terrible. Absolutely no emotion. You might as well have Alexa read you a book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Bk
  • 08-01-21

Classic

One of the first sf stories I read many cosmic cycles ago. It helped fuel a lifetime of reading enjoyment. It’s still a classic worth reading. Campbell defined and founded the genre.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 19-10-11

Shades of E. E. "Doc" Smith

Fun, but old fashioned, space opera; probably more appealing to older listeners, rather than youngsters without any experience in the roots of the SF genre.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 15-11-20

Very pulpy weak story even for its time

John W Campbell's The Black Star Passes is a 50's era sci-fi tale that is poor even by the standards of traditional pulp fiction. Basically, this consists of three novellas involving the same crew stitched together. There's a superhero-esque quality about the team consisting of a physicist (regarded as the greatest in the world), a mathematician, an engineer, and after the first tale, a jack of all trades pirate. Each plot revolves around stumbling onto a mystery and solving it. The physicist develops a theory, spends time with equations that the mathematician checks out, then there is an all-nighter in the lab, followed by the engineer scaling up to either thwart skyjackings, stopping planetary war and genocide on Venus, and finally saving the Earth from invasion, all in the span of a few years.

Campbell checks all the boxes for pulp fiction targeted towards a juvenile audience. All the characters are dedicated to their craft. There doesn't seem to be any other scientist of worth alive. They also always land in the middle of the action and always make the right decision. At the same time each discovery always occurs just in time for the next impending disaster. The selfless professional dedication is saccharine to the point of inducing diabetes.

The narration is sadly deficient and is less a narration and more a simply flat reading with little character distinction without any tone or mood aligned to the plot.

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  • Steve
  • 29-11-21

Performer is awful

Droning on and on in a never ending monotone. I often use audio books to fall asleep but this guy will do the job while your jogging.

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  • Sailfish
  • 03-07-22

Hard to get through

Even considering its SciFi Classic era heritage, the story was too slow for me. I did appreciate all the scientific details surrounding space flight and astrophysics but the story plot was a bit too plodding and, regrettably, the narrator's monotone delivery made listening even less exciting.

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  • jason f
  • 22-09-21

horrible narrator

If you like hours of monotone, droning narration then this book is for you. the story is standard early science fiction but listening put me sleep repeatedly.

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  • Munster
  • 12-06-21

Humble beginings

Having listened to over a dozen of Capmbell's books, His early work is rough around the edges but the core of what makes his books great is there. My only complaint is that there were portions where it was so dry.

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  • LVM
  • 28-04-21

Classic old style sci fi

Everything happens very quickly and pretty easily.
But the most implausible thing in this story is the thought that the UN would be able to do anything useful and without massive corruption.