Fred Hoyle

Easton Press Fred Hoyle books

The Black Cloud - Masterpieces of Science Fiction - 1986

Fred Hoyle biography

Sir Fred Hoyle, born on June 24, 1915, in Bingley, West Yorkshire, England, was a prominent British astronomer, cosmologist, and science fiction writer. Over the course of his distinguished career, Hoyle made significant contributions to astrophysics, particularly in the field of stellar nucleosynthesis and the nature of the universe. Hoyle's early academic achievements led him to Cambridge University, where he studied mathematics. During World War II, he contributed to the war effort by working on radar development. After the war, he returned to Cambridge to pursue his interest in astrophysics.

In collaboration with Hermann Bondi and Thomas Gold, Hoyle developed the steady-state theory of the universe in 1948. This theory proposed that the universe remains constant over time, with new matter continuously created to fill the gaps created by the expansion. While the steady-state theory eventually fell out of favor in light of new evidence supporting the Big Bang theory, it played a crucial role in shaping cosmological discussions during the mid-20th century. Fred Hoyle's most enduring scientific contribution came in the form of his work on nucleosynthesis in stars. He played a key role in elucidating the processes by which elements are formed within stars, a field that has become foundational to our understanding of the evolution of galaxies and the composition of the universe.

Apart from his scientific endeavors, Hoyle was an accomplished and prolific science fiction writer. He authored numerous novels, including The Black Cloud (1957) and October the First Is Too Late (1966). His writing often explored themes related to cosmology, extraterrestrial life, and the impact of scientific discoveries on humanity. Hoyle's engaging and accessible communication style made him a popularizer of science. He wrote extensively for a general audience, contributing to a greater understanding of complex astrophysical concepts among the public.

In 1972, Hoyle was knighted for his services to astronomy. Despite his significant contributions to the field, Hoyle's outspoken support for the steady-state theory and criticism of the Big Bang theory sometimes created controversy within the scientific community. Fred Hoyle passed away on August 20, 2001, leaving behind a legacy of scientific achievements and a body of work that continues to inspire and inform both scientists and the general public.

The Black Cloud

A 1959 classic 'hard' science-fiction novel by renowned Cambridge astronomer and cosmologist Fred Hoyle. Tracks the progress of a giant black cloud that comes towards Earth and sits in front of the sun, causing widespread panic and death. A select group of scientists and astronomers including the dignified Astronomer Royal, the pipe smoking Dr Marlowe and the maverick, eccentric Professor Kingsly engage in a mad race to understand and communicate with the cloud, battling against trigger happy politicians. In the pacy, engaging style of John Wyndham and John Christopher, with plenty of hard science thrown in to add to the chillingly credible premise (he manages to foretell Artificial Intelligence, Optical Character Recognition and Text-to-Speech converters), Hoyle carries you breathlessly through to its thrilling end.

Astronomers in England and America have made a terrifying discovery: an ominous black cloud the size of Jupiter is travelling straight towards our solar system. If their calculations are correct, the cloud’s path will bring it between the Earth and the Sun, blocking out the Sun’s rays and threatening unimaginable consequences for our planet. With the fate of every living thing on Earth in the balance, world leaders assemble a team of brilliant scientists to figure out a way to stop the cloud. But when they uncover the truth behind its origins, they will be forced to reconsider everything they think they know about the nature of life in the universe . . .

A landmark of British science fiction, The Black Cloud (1957) was the first novel by world-renowned astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), who used his own scientific background to create a frighteningly real apocalyptic thriller in which, Hoyle said, “there is very little that could not conceivably happen.”

“One of the greatest works of science fiction ever written.” – Richard Dawkins

“Without a question the most intelligently written science fiction story I have ever read . . . A terrific yarn.” – Charlotte Observer

“An eerie story which demands the reader’s attention from start to finish.” – Denver Post

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