Williamson (World 64)
Jack Williamson (1908 – 2006; first SF publication, 1928) spans nearly eighty years with consistently good stories. Much of his writing is space opera, usually novels, but he ventures into other realms of SF as well; his short-story collections — entertaining and thought-provoking — are worth getting your hands on, as well. His series include The Legion of Space (lead by a trio of military space patrollers evoking the three Musketeers and Shakespeare’s Falstaff) and the Humanoids (exploring the unintended consequences if humanoid computers are programmed to serve and protect all mankind). His works also include popular collaborations with Frederik Pohl: the Undersea and Starchild trilogies, and the Saga of Cuckoo, in which matter duplicators can send a copy of your body across space.
In the Seetee series, “Seetee” is shorthand for contraterrene (“c.t.”), or antimatter. The solar system’s asteroid belt turns out to be formed from the collision of an interloping antimatter body and a planet that used to be in orbit around our sun; the challenge is to figure out how to harness the potential energy of countless remaining seetee asteroids when any contact with normal matter causes them to explode. Meanwhile, creating a seetee weapon is much easier than a seetee power source, and so the race is on to engineer a stable platform that can produce power before the material is weaponized and used to conquer the entire solar system. If it can be controlled, seetee is an invaluable contribution to our galaxy.