Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XLVI (Reed + Pratt + Brown + anthology)

December 8, 2012 § 20 Comments

Finally getting near the end of the pile of science fiction novels procured during my latest journey to Texas (a few were in clearance dollar bins) + gifts from 2theD.  I know very little about any of the authors (any info would be read with relish) — and I even bought a book from the early 1980s!  I know, shocker, but it has to do with drowned cities…. one of my favorite themes…. although it’ll never equal the uterine joys of Ballard’s magisterial The Drowned World (1962).

1. Under the City of Angels, Jerry Earl Brown (1981)

(Lou Feck’s cover for the 1981 edition)

From the back cover: “Love in the Ruins.  Jack Kelso is a scavenger, a half-crazed loner, a burnt-out case always one jump ahead of the government, eking out an uneasy living in the sunken ruins of L.A.  Then he meets Judith — mysterious, beautiful, driven — who offers him an assignment only “Mad Jack: Kelso would be crazy enough to take on.  He takes the job, gets love in the bargain.  Suddenly, their newfound happiness, and perhaps the fate of the entire planet, is threaten by a deadly power struggle on an alien world light centuries away….”

2. Mista Da V. and Other Stories, Kit Reed (1967) (MY REVIEW)

(Vincent di Fate’s cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “Mister Da V.  begins: “It wasn’t until Daddy started talking to Mom at supper that night that any of us realized what he was going to do, or that he had been planning it for fifteen years.  I don’t know that it would have come out any better if we had known… ‘Imagine, Lillian — Leonardo da Vinci here to share the heights of the Renaissance.  And I’ll show him the wonders of today.”  Mister Da V.  ends: “I still have the pencil portrait, and sometimes I think I’d like to show it to my art teacher at night school, but something might happen to it if I took it out of my special hiding place, and besides, I know nobody would believe me.”

3. The Undying Fire, Fletcher Pratt (1953)

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 12.01.33 PM(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1953 edition — the back cover is even more spectacular but can’t find an image)

From the back cover: “Space-pilot Paulsson was in trouble.  He had been accused of dereliction of duty.  He knew it wasn’t true but he also knew there was no point in fighting back directly.  The only way to re-instate himself was to make a successful expedition to the young planet Danaan.  And whether he could do that no one knew.  Least of all Paulsson.’

4. Universe 6, edited by Terry Carr (1976)

(Carlos Ochagavia’s cover for the 1977 edition)

From the inside flap of the first edition: “This new volume in the acclaimed Universe series of original science fiction stories presents a panorama of the finest in imaginative writing — from dream-vistas of Earth’s Jurassic Era to a gathering of all races of the universe at the end of time.”

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§ 20 Responses to Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XLVI (Reed + Pratt + Brown + anthology)

  • Carl V. says:

    I have a copy of Under the City of Angels that I pulled out of a box of books someone gave me to sell just because I liked the cover so much.

    Not too long ago I saw a copy of Mister Da V. and was surprised that it was a di Fate image because it is not near the quality of much of his other work.

    And that Powers cover, wow! I would love to see the back cover image that you say is even better.

  • Jim Black says:

    I remember Fletcher Pratt as the co-author of the Howard Shea series with L. Sprague de Camp. The best collection of those stories is The Complete Compleat Enchanter.

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      But where they any good? Are they fantasy (if so, unfortunately, I’m not that interested)? The general sentiment I’ve gathered is that he’s super average….

      • Jim Black says:

        You would probably not like the Howard Shea series. It is part of the John W. Campbell fantasy that he published in the magazine called “Unknown”. It is fantasy that uses a more scientific rational.

      • Joachim Boaz says:

        The only fantasy I enjoy is more surreal. So, surreal cityscapes, surreal landscapes, perhaps with some sci-fi elements mixed in…. but stuff inspired by Calvino, etc…

  • Peter S says:

    I bought the same version of The Undying Fire years ago, just because I liked the Powers cover art. Wish I still had that book! The book is not very good, but the cover is one of Power’s best.

  • Love Kit Reed’s work. Still an excellent writer, and her early work holds up very well. A few bona-fide classics in the field, I’d say. I’ve never heard of Jerry Earl Brown.

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      I’d never heard of him either. Someone made a comment on one of my previous posts about underwater science fiction and pointed it out so when I saw it at the store for 2 bucks I picked up a copy…. it’s probably complete crud, but, that’s ok!

      thanks for visiting!

  • jdanryan says:

    Out of curiosity, what exactly does Clive Cussler know about SF?

    I mean, his comments about UNDER THE CITY OF ANGELS discussing the parts about diving and being underwater, I could see him being enough of an expert to discuss that aspect that having him on the cover for that would be a plus, but to have him call the work “SF at its classical best” with no sense of whether he can speak with enough gravitas on science fiction doesn’t sell me, sorry. For that matter, do we have any evidence that Cussler ever read anything SF beyond20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA?

    Who thought he was the best person to solicit a quote from, anyway…?

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      I have no idea… Comments come from such random places. And, they are often disconnected from the body of a review. Or, have so many [...] in them that you’re immediately suspicious that large portions with the actual critique or qualification of the praise has been removed….

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