[SFRA-L] cold equations

Edward James edward.james at ucd.ie
Fri Jan 21 04:49:26 EST 2011

There is a classic discussion of this very logical hole in the Godwin  
story in John Huntington's wonderful book Rationalizing Genius, pp.  
79-85. And there was a long debate about this very issue too in the  
pages of the New York Review of Science Fiction: starting with Brian  
Stableford's review of The Norton Anthology of Science Fiction in 62  
(October 1993), and continuing with John Kessel in no. 64 (December  
1993), in 66 (February 1994) (Taras Wolansky, Brian Stableford, David  
Stewart Zink, Gordon Van Gelder), in 68 (April 1994) (Sherry  
Coldsmith, Darrell Schweitzer, Catherine Mintz, Donald G. Keller), in  
69 (May 1994) (John Kessel again), in 71 (July 1994) (Sam Moskowitz)  
and in 72 (August 1994) (Mark W. Tiedmann). It's a very instruction  


Professor Edward James
Head of School
UCD School of History and Archives
University College Dublin
Dublin 4, Ireland

On Jan 21, 2011, at 12:36 AM, Mark Shainblum wrote:

> Sorry I can't help with your query, but can I add here that "Cold
> Equations" always bothered me because. For such a lauded story, it had
> a logical hole big enough to fly a spaceship through?
> The pilot never seemed to consider obvious options before shoving his
> stowaway out the airlock. Like taking the door of the compartment she
> was in off its hinges? Pull out the pilot's seat? Pull deckplates out
> of the deck? Throw every loose personal item on the ship out first?
> She was a teenage girl weighing, what, 100 pounds? I just never
> believed that there wasn't a workaround.
> "Pull a door of it hinges? Nah, that'll take, like, hours man!"
> On 1/20/11, Sawyer, Andy <A.P.Sawyer at liverpool.ac.uk> wrote:
>> A student of mine has suggested that Lilith Lorraine's  "With cold  
>> equations
>> doled in coins of hate" from "The Electronic Brain" (Wine of  
>> Wonder, 1952)
>> may resonate in the title of Tom Godwin's story (Astounding, 1954).  
>> Given
>> the dates, this sounds plausible - does anyone who knows Lorraine's  
>> work
>> better than I do know whether the poem is original to that  
>> collection or
>> whether Godwin or John W. Campbell were *known* to be familiar with  
>> Lilith
>> Lorraine's poetry? Indeed, is the phrase in existence earlier?
>> --------------------------------
>> Andy Sawyer
>> Science Fiction Librarian
>> Special Collections and Archives
>> University of Liverpool Library
>> PO Box 123, Liverpool L69 3DA, UK.
>> Course Director, MA in Science Fiction Studies.
>> http://www.liv.ac.uk/english/ma_courses/post_ma_sf.htm
>> Reviews Editor: Foundation: The International Review of Science  
>> Fiction
>> http://www.sf-foundation.org/publications/foundation.html
>> The Science Fiction Hub: http://www.sfhub.ac.uk/
>> The Science Fiction Foundation: http://www.sf-foundation.org/
>> "... there is no higher life form than a librarian."
>> THE SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD: Terry Pratchett, Jack Cohen, and Ian  
>> Stewart, p.
>> 10.
> -- 
> Sent from my mobile device
> *Mark Shainblum*
> Writing|Editing|Creativity
> Montreal, Quebec, Canada
> *www.northguard.com/mbs
> Please note: *This is not my regular email address. For personal or
> time-sensitive messages, please use *mark at northguard.com*.
> _______________________________________________
> SFRA-L mailing list
> SFRA-L at wiz.cath.vt.edu
> http://wiz.cath.vt.edu/mailman/listinfo/sfra-l

More information about the SFRA-L mailing list