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Old 08-25-2012, 02:45 AM   #1
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Clifton, Mark: Eight Keys to Eden. v1, 25 Aug 2012

Mark Clifford was the winner (with Frank Riley) of the 1955 Hugo Award for They'd Rather Be Right, but is nearly unknown to today's science fiction readers. He was not a prolific writer, and had published only about twenty short stories before his death in 1963. But with those stories and his three novels he irrevocably altered the course of contemporary science fiction.

Almost single-handedly he introduced the full range of psychological insights and libertarian thought to the commonly occurring science fiction themes - alien invasion, expanding technology, revolution against political theocracy, and space exploration and colonization - to portray how humanity would react to a future that could be either mindless or intellectually stunning.

In his first published story, 'What Have I Done?' he initiated the theme of a
starkly realistic world in which, at its best, humanity is inalterably vile - a theme that became an part of all his subsequent works. He particularly detested politicians, lawyers, bureaucrats, the news media, and warmongers. In his later works Clifton occasionally clothed this bitter indictment in the garb of comedy.

In Eight Keys to Eden (1962) not long after colonists landed on an uninhabited planet, Eden, every human made artifact (including clothes) disappeared. When the colony goes silent and fails to answer any communications Earth's government goes into a panic and turns to the Extrapolators, a group of people who have been trained to question every belief. A probationary Extrapolator is sent to Eden in the expectation that he will graduate into the ranks of the Extrapolators if he solves whatever problems he finds there. Even with his special training he is not prepared for the nature of the disaster that struck the colony, but eventually by an entirely new way of thinking he finds the key to what has happened.

Loosely based on material in fantasticfiction.co.uk

As always please let me know of any errors so I can fix them.
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