Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CVIII (Malzberg + Bishop + Sheckley + White)

What a haul!  Three are from numerous previous expeditions to choice used book havens….  And I caved in and bought Malzberg’s The Destruction of the Temple (1974) on abebooks because his seldom reprinted works are hard to find.

Sheckley’s Journey Beyond Tomorrow (1962) is near the top of my reading list.  Supposedly one of his best.

And, who can resist Michael Bishop’s magnum opus, No Enemy But Time (1982)?!?

And James White is always solid…

Thoughts?  Anything particularly worth reading?

1. The Destruction of the Temple, Barry N. Malzberg (1974)

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition)

From the inside flap: “The Charred Ruins of New York…  The Eerie Specter of the Past…  The Director has come to the charred ruins of New York to re-enact a mad dream from the past—the assassination of President Kennedy.  As actors, he has the primitive race who inhabit the city.  With them and his glamarous, dark-haired lover, he rehearses everything—the motorcade, the shots, the panic.  But at the last moment it all goes wrong.  When the flower-filled limousine rounds the bend, the passenger is not Kennedy—but the Director himself.  Shots ring out in a wild explosion of roses…”

2. Journey Beyond Tomorrow, Robert Sheckley (1962)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1962 edition)

From the back cover: “TOMORROW…  AND THE DAY AFTER.  Citizens worship the Almighty Machine.  Passion is a beatnik, love the new frontier.  Both God and Satan have been driven underground.  The insane are treated by making their delusion real.  Jail is a place to break into.  Government is lost in the mapless Octagon.  AND SCIENCE HAS GIVEN BIRTH TO SUPERSTITION.  WHERE?  IN AMERICA.  WHEN?  LESS THAT FORTY YEARS FROM TODAY.”

3. All Judgement Fled, James White (1967)

(Wayne Douglas Barlowe’s cover for the 1979 edition)

From the inside flap of an earlier edition: “Sixty million miles from Earth, embroiled in all the perils of First Contact with alien life forms, astronauts haven’t much time for politicians and public relations officers. Back on Earth, through, First Contact is being relayed to a breathlessly waiting public, and much of what the astronauts must do and say is coming through live—to the total dismay of the military brass and political bigwigs, whose passion for secrecy about absolutely anything that looks like a crisis is matched only by skilled ability to disseminate that “information” which paints their role in a rosy hue.  Definitely they do not want their heroic astronauts to react to a hostile environment and hostile aliens in a hostile fashion.  Or at least not publicly.  The trouble is, the aliens don’t know about this…”

4. No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop (1982)

(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1983 edition)

From the back cover: “Rootless and alone, John’s spirit lives in a dreamworld of prehistoric landscapes and feral protohumans.  His extraordinary visions destine him for the top-secret government project, White Sphinx, a time-travel experiment that hurls him millions of years into the bright Pleistocene Africa of his dreams.  Now mammoth beasts—and prehistoric man—face him in brutal reality.  And when his one link to the 20th century breaks down, he confronts these fierce protohumans and shares their battles of life, death and love.”

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18 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CVIII (Malzberg + Bishop + Sheckley + White)”

  1. The Sheckley book was deservely chosen to be among the “The 100 Best SF Novels” by David Pringle.I read it many years ago from my local library,so have no copy available and don’t remember it much,although I know it was very good.

    1. I’ve seriously enjoyed his short fiction. I read one of his novels (more a novella). The Status Society and thought it was a hoot and a holler. He’s witty and fun and delightfully snarky….

      I thought Immortality, Inc.(his first novel) had some cool ideas but was rather uneven as a novel. He seems to be a far superior short fic writer than novelist. Hopefully Journey Beyond Tomorrow proves that argument baseless.

      1. True,but I haven’t read read so much of his short fiction.Yes,JBT is definetly better than II.

  2. They all sound pretty interesting. I’ve read many Sheckley short stories but not any of his novels. I have a couple on my shelves, but not this one.

    The Malzberg cover is interesting.

    1. That Malzberg cover is AMAZING! ;) Seriously, I really enjoy it — it matches so well with all that Malzberg is about. Strangely recasting the past (I mean, who else has mechanical Kennedy mannequins lurching about at theme parks — i.e. his novel Guernica Night) — delving into the more sinister elements of Americana, ideal families, the space program, etc.

      Can’t wait to read it!

      1. Thematically similar, definitely! But yeah, Powers covers rarely relate in any real way to the novel. But, as I’ve said many times, both tactics are ok with me! As long as the art is solid.

      2. I’m right there with you. Powers is one of my favorites, and other than one of the Stainless Steel Rat covers, which loosely hints at what the book is about, I’ve never seen one of his covers that had anything to do with the story…and I could not care less.

    1. I have the second volume of Sector General stories. I want the first one so I can start in the right place. Although people have told me that they are rather interchangeable and it doesn’t matter the order. Right?

  3. I loved “All Judgement Fled”. The description that you quote, however, doesn’t seem to have much to do with the book that I remember. What I remember is humans trying to understand what is happening on an alien vessel, and the question of how you recognize and deal with an emergency situation when you don’t know how things are supposed to work.

  4. I also enjoyed James White’s All Judgement Fled. I think the “difficulties with HQ” stuff is in there, but, as MishaBurnett suggests, the novel is mostly about the astronauts trying to figure out what is going on in the alien ship and how to deal with the dangerous situations they encounter.

  5. ‘The Destruction Of The Temple’ sounds interesting. The cover art is really evocative with the symbols of both the space and the nuclear ages. The photo of Rockwell in the center makes this curious indeed.

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