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Creator / Lester del Rey

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Lester del Rey (1915-1993) was an American science fiction writer and editor. His first short story was published in 1938 in Astounding Science Fiction magazine. In the 1970s, he and his wife Judy-Lynn del Rey established the SF imprint Del Rey Books.

He was recognized as an SFWA Grand Master in 1991.

Works by Lester del Rey with their own trope lists include:

Other works by Lester del Rey provide examples of:

  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: Nerves, published in 1956, features a nuclear reactor where nuclear isotope production is discussed in terms that sound considerably more like chemistry than nuclear physics: they talk about isotopes "reacting" with each other in such a way as to neutralize both of them, for example.
  • God Is Evil: "For I Am a Jealous People" has an Old Testament style God who encourages and aids his Chosen People to subjugate their neighbors, and has the main character learn that an alien invasion Earth is suffering through is a result of God turning his back on humanity and anointing the aliens as his new Chosen People.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The protagonist's reaction to meeting his future self in "...And it Comes Out Here".
  • Kill All Humans: In "For I Am a Jealous People", aliens arrive without warning and just start killing all humans.
  • Locked into Strangeness: After Doc experiences God in "For I Am A Jealous People", his hair turns white.
  • My Future Self and Me: In "...And it Comes Out Here", a man is recruited by his future self to come on a time journey and finish off a Stable Time Loop. The story is told from the perspective of the older man, who finds his younger self annoying but has some sympathy because he remembers how unsettling the whole experience was the first time through.
  • Portal to the Past: The "time ring" in Tunnel Through Time.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: "The Faithful" features a post-apocalyptic world where humans have gone extinct, but dogs have evolved human levels of intelligence. Of course, they still pine for their lost masters.
  • Pygmalion Plot: In "Helen O'Loy", an endocrinologist and a roboticist have a bet as to whether a robot could be made to act like a real woman. The endocrinologist insists no robot could duplicate the complex biological system that created emotions, the roboticist insists it could. The roboticist wins, when the endocrinologist not only has to admit that Helen has human-like emotions, but eventually marries her. (The roboticist, who narrates the story, eventually admits to the audience that he fell in love with her as well.)
  • Rage Against the Heavens: "For I Am a Jealous People" has humanity discovering that God does exist, but is supporting the aliens currently invading Earth and planning humanity's extinction. The story ends with humans discovering that having turned His back on them means God can't affect things humans are directly involved in; a nuclear-warhead tipped missile might suffer technical failures preventing its successful use, but not if it's modified so that a human is inside controlling it, and there's no shortage of people willing to sacrifice themselves to save others. The viewpoint character, a Christian minister, upon discovering this ends the story with a sermon to his congregation promising that humanity will make God answer for his actions.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The whole point of "Helen O'Loy" is an attempt to make a robot indistinguishable from a human woman. It succeeds.
  • Robotic Spouse: In "Helen O'Loy", a medical student (Phil) and a mechanic (Dave) modify a household robot to have emotions. While Phil is away Dave activates Helen, who learns about love (from watching soap operas!) When Phil comes back home Dave has already fled from her affections, but changes his mind and marries her. On his death Helen requests that Phil shut her down and bury her with Dave.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The aliens who invade Earth in "For I Am a Jealous People" are very religious folk... who actually do have God on their side.
  • Second-Person Narration: "...And it Comes Out Here" is structured as a monologue from a time traveler, telling 'you' what 'you' are about to do.
  • Stable Time Loop: In "...And it Comes Out Here", an engineer travels to the future where he finds a museum display acclaiming him as the creator of a revolutionary new energy source. He steals the prototype generator from the museum, takes it home, and passes it off as his own work; eventually the prototype ends up in the museum where his younger self steals it. So who created the prototype? (The same question applies to the time machine; as an old man, the engineer travels back and gives it to himself, kicking off the next iteration of the loop.)
  • Teleportation: Tunnel Through Time has some characters going back to the time of the dinosaurs, the Applied Phlebotinum breaks down and they are stranded, then later, one of the scientists comes back to get them after developing some improvements that allow him to summon the gateway with a device like a remote control.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: The protagonist of "...And it Comes Out Here" has a bit of trouble talking to his younger self:
    You will, you know, so why quibble about it? At least, you always have... or do... or will. I don't know, verbs get all mixed up. We don't have the right attitude toward tenses for a situation like this.
  • Underwater City: In Attack From Atlantis, a submarine crew discovers an ancient underwater civilization.
  • Weird Historical War: "My Name is Legion", published in 1942, imagines Hitler coming to an unpleasant end at the hands of a scientist with a time machine and a grudge.
  • Which Me?: The protagonist of "...And it Comes Out Here" has a few moments of pronoun confusion when talking to his younger self.
    I'm you thirty years from now, or you're me. I remember just how you feel; I felt the same way when he—that is, of course, I or we—came back to tell me about it, thirty years ago.