The Black Cloud

Fred Hoyle
The Black Cloud Cover

The Black Cloud


Fred Hoyle was a preeminent English astronomer of his day. And in The Black Cloud he tended to show this off. He threw much more hard science into the story than seemed, at least to me, necessary. The science was probably an integral part but not the nuts and bolts of it. It tended to take center stage and the story suffered as a result.

This was a different take on the alien invasion theme. The alien in this case took the form of an intelligent cloud. It was also a disaster novel as literally large portions of the world's inhabitants, flora, fauna were affected in a violent way.

The story was told from the perspective of a group of scientists that were sheltered away, with all the comforts of home, and isolated from even the host government, which was England. The subsequent disaster that fell on the Earth as the cloud approached took up the majority of the book and the resultant discovery that the cloud was intelligent and contact was relegated to the last third of the novel.

I read this as part of my The Defining Science Fiction of The Fifties reading challenge. I probably would leave it as that. It was a challenge.