Fred Hoyle An observer of the world and a ponderer on its problems ...

By Fred Hoyle

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A Nightmare for Number Ten 1953
(A Farce in Three Acts)

When the spies of half the organisations under the sun unbeknown to each other assume incognito and appear with their well-laid, underhand plots in Farmer Gwilliam's farm, these plots and counterplots, their loves and hates become involved in the most ludicrous and hair-raising complications.

However, after a series of comic circumstances all is happily resolved-by the most surprising means!

This farcical-comedy contains all that is expected of a good farce, but with so many new characters, situations and twists that it is a highly original play. Its author, who writes under a pseudonym, possesses a most original mind in his serious academic world, but in this play we see that same originality playing pranks.

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The Black Cloud 1957

While systematically photographing the sky to detect exploding supernovae a young astronomer on Palomar discovers a mysterious black cloud south of the constellation of Orion. Almost simultaneously British astronomers deduce, from discrepancies in the positions of Jupiter and Saturn, that a major unknown body is entering our Solar System. Further observations and analysis indicate that this vast cloud of interstellar gas will pass between the earth and the sun, shutting off the sun's rays and bringing about incalculable changes on our planet. At a closely guarded centre outside of London an international group of scientists headed by Cambridge astronomer Chris Kingsley advises the British government on the fantastic problems created by the cloud. As months go by and one catastrophe succeeds another the scientists become less and less content to remain purely advisory. The conflicts between government officials and scientists provide a human and humorous element in this alarming story.

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Ossian's Ride 1959

Baffled by the sudden rise of a powerful centre of industrialisation in the south of Ireland, Intelligence in London send a young Cambridge graduate, Thomas Sherwood, to study this phenomenon. He travels as a student, and makes his way to that part of Kerry where Ossian is said to have made his famous ride.

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October the First is Too Late 1966

The Yorkshire Moors below Mickle Fell in August would seem a safe enough place to be, yet it was there that Richard's old schoolfriend, John Sinclair, disappeared for 13 hours. Two days later, while bathing in a mountain stream, Richard noticed that a strawberry birthmark was missing from Sinclair's back.
Climbing, music, ancient Greece and the year 5000 AD: all these play a part in Fred Hoyle's far-reaching and witty science fiction book, which teems with arresting ideas. Its central themes are time and the meaning of consciousness; around them the author of The Black Cloud and Ossian's Ride has spun a glittering web of adventure and logical surmise. In this world of dual personalities and shifting time scales it is entirely plausible that October the first should have been too late.

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Element 79 1967

Can immortal man ever outwit the airlines? What if dumb animals could be trained to 'appreciate' the communications media of the human world? How does Number 38, Zone 11, respond when he sees a U.F.O? What happens to Slippage City when the Devil decides to think big?
These - plus a remarkable sex comedy - are some of the intriguing themes of Element 79, the new Hoyle galaxy that ranges the full scientific spectrum and beyond into the furthest reaches of the imagination. Author Fred Hoyle is an internationally renowned astronomer and much of his fiction is rooted in the realm of what is possible - scientifically and psychologically - on earth and in space, in the present and the future. His visions of his fellow humans is disquieting, hilarious, and sometimes frightening; his social commentary is often etched in acid. In Element 79 Mr Hoyle steps forward to take a backward glance at the world - deftly balancing his followers between the unreal and the real, between a chuckle and a shudder.

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Comet Halley 1985

Returning to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge after a spell at the nuclear research labs of CERN in Geneva, Professor Isaac Newton is plunged into the centre of a baffling mystery. One of his research students, Mike Howarth, has picked up strange signals on his satellite telemetry equipment, signals that appear to emanate from a passing comet. Not long after he has passed the vital data into Isaac Newton's hands, Howarth is found dead. Soon after that, it becomes clear that some people in very high places - including the Kremlin and the White House - are more than a little interested in the remarkable events taking place at the Cavendish. But with the arrival of that most majestic of all celestial bodies, Comet Halley, a third and infinitely more powerful superpower enters the scene. And the Comet's extraordinary intentions - not to mention its devastating methods of communicating them to Earth - promise a new dawn for humanity.