Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCIV (Simak + Farmer + Harness + Van Scyoc)

More Simak! More Philip José Farmer Farmer! And two unknown qualities, Harness’ collection The Rose (1955) and Sydney van Scyoc’s Saltflower (1971)…

And three of the the covers for this collection are top-notch—two Powers’ gems and a wonderful Lehr “cityscape.”

Thoughts?

1. Saltflower, Sydney Van Scyoc (1971)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition)

From the back cover: “THE VISIT.  The three ships materialized over Puget Sound one evening at year’s end.  They appeared in the skies of Tacoma with a roar that shattered windows and stopped hearts.  They were like nothing seen or dreamed, improbable monsters of dull, scarred metal, incredibly filling the sky.  Tacoma had a brief, shocked glimpse of their solid reality.  Then, ghostly silent after the initial roar, they shuddered away.  The ships moved in awesome silence across the western portion of the continent, darkening the skies of a dozen cities and a hundred towns, briefly blotting out the starlight of late December.  They zigged and zagged, seeming to grope, to search.  But for what?”

2. Time is the Simplest Thing (variant title: The Fisherman), Clifford D. Simak (1961)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition)

From the back cover: “OUT THERE… in the soundless black of the universe his mind crawled over the distant stars, probing the secrets of unknown planets, wrestling the new bits of knowledge from ancient worlds…  Spaceships had not yet reached the stars, but telepaths like Shep Blaine could project their minds beyond the barriers of time and space.  Blaine was one of Earth’s top telepathic explorers…  until that last trip… until that awesome alien creature slithered into his brain and turned him against himself… against his own world and time.”

3. The Green Odyssey, Philip José Farmer (1957)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1957 edition)

From the back cover: “THE GREEN ODYSSEY… is an uproarious, hell-bent adventure story, combining fantasy, imagination and science, with a liberal dash of humor.  It is in the best tradition of adventure science fiction, a swashbuckling tale of a resourceful spaceman who is, however, uneasily aware that he may not have been miscast.  Fortunately, he has the assistance of a large, gorgeous, energetic and adoring female who is supremely confident of his ability to handle all comers.  With her help, that is.  The tale of their adventures is reading for sheer fun.”

4. The Rose, Charles L. Harness (1953)

(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition)

From the back cover: “THE ROSE depicts an ultimate confrontation between science and art, brilliantly and wittily played out between three unforgettable leading characters: Anna van Tuyl—a composer and also a practicing psychiatrist.  Ruy Jacques—Anna’s lover.  Martha—Ruy’s wife, who is perfecting a deadly weapon that will render science supreme over art.”

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20 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCIV (Simak + Farmer + Harness + Van Scyoc)”

  1. Hey! A book I have actually read! I have the 1974 edition– sort of a chipped ice cube head with a twinkle in its eye.

      1. Not silly, just a little heavy-handed with the Civil Rights allegory. Other than that, an enjoyable read.

      2. It was the early 60s…. Sounds rather admirable for SF at that time. I mean, young kids needed to “get” the point. But yes, I can imagine it might be somewhat annoying after a bit.

  2. I haven’t heard of The Rose before, but the era of its writing and its “ultimate confrontation between science and art” make it sound like the sort of thing I’d love to read, even if I wouldn’t actually remember reading it two months on.

    1. It’s a very famous 50s short story. I dunno whether the praise is justified or not though. My edition, the one shown, has an incredibly laudatory intro by Michael Moorcock praising its virtues.

      1. I have to agree; I’m intrigued by the The Rose as well. But then again, I’m a sucker for stories exploring the intersection of art and science. It at least has a chance to be something thought-provoking.

  3. The Rose is a brilliant, beautiful story! All of the stories in that collection are wonderful – Harness is a unique writer and deserves to be much more well known, on the basis of The Rose, alone. I read it when I was around 18, around 30 years ago and it has stayed with me ever since – you are in for a real treat, Joachim! I am sure you will love his intelligent, lyrical, metaphysical stories.

    I hate the awful cover to the copy you have though – so dull in comparison to the fabulous story, itself! The image, at the very bottom of the page on the following link, is from the much better cover to the 1969 UK Panther edition of The Rose, which is the one I have:

    http://bearalley.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/comic-cuts-2-september-2011.html

    1. I have a copy of The Rings of Ritornel as well but haven’t read it yet. I have found a lot of reviews that praise his ideas by critique how his over exuberance gets in the way of solid prose/characters. But yes, very interested in reading it!

  4. I just bought that Simak for its Powers cover, and because I’ve heard good things about that one. Plus it’s a Simak, at his worst he’s still very readable.

    The Green Odyssey has been recommended to me several times as a Burroughs-influenced pulp pastiche, but since it’s Farmer I keep putting off purchasing it. Who knows, maybe it’ll cause me to re-evaluate Farmer like Strange Relations did for you.

    I have a few Harness novels on my TBR shelf (The Paradox Men is the only title I can see), but I have not heard of The Rose before. Really interested in how its “confrontation of science against art” plays out.

    1. It’s supposed to be a straight-forward adventure tale. People were rather shocked that The Green Odyssey was written by the same person who wrote The Lovers! And, there’s a land boat that sails across fields… i.e. perhaps Dan Simmons was inspired by Farmer for Hyperion.

      1. He may not have had much choice. The title doesn’t leave much room for interesting interpretations and he may have been laboring under a very literal minded editor.

  5. Tacoma? The aliens go to Tacoma? I just…I don’t know what to say about that. I mean, Tacoma! Seattle’s just up the Sound.

    I’ll definitely have to find this one as I’m always curious about Seattle-area SF.

  6. Judging by the way the planets are rendered, and the monochromatic color scheme, the cover for The Rose is by Di Fate. Very, very similar in style to Di Fate’s other covers for Berkley around that time.

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