A grab bag of risk (Cecelia Holland + Guy Snyder) and great reward (Barry N. Malzberg)! I would love to know what you think. I know Holland’s Floating Worlds (1976) was picked up by the SF Masterwork series put out by Gollancz but I know next to nothing about the novel.
And, well, Malzberg is my favorite SF author (metafiction + experimentation + Freud + recursive elements) so I know what I’m getting with his stuff!
1. Floating Worlds, Cecelia Holland (1976)
(Melvyn Grant’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover of an earlier edition: “Rapacious pirates from distant space… a beautiful Earth-born revel sent to negotiate peace… a strange godlike enemy with infinite power to heal or destroy. FLOATING WORLDS. Paula Mendoza, Earthish diplomat, is a woman to reckon with on several planets. Lover of the Prima of the Styths and mother of his son, she has tremendous galactic powers—and many mighty foes: rival actions on Styth, the fascist Sunlight League of mars, the treacherous “Committee” members, and, most crucially, the mysterious Tanuojin who has healed her with his hands and has read her thoughts. Alone, she accomplishes what no one else could, until final choices—for herself, for mankind—must be made…”
2. Galaxies, Barry N. Malzberg (1975)
(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition: “‘Galaxies is a love/hate letter to all readers and writers of science fiction, a witty criticism of the genre and its aspirations.’—David Pringle in Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels.
Anguished by hyper-lucidity, a disembodied science fiction writer taps out the letters “LENA THOMAS” and instantly finds himself “warped” to the female astronaut’s domain of the 40t century. Lena and the writer’s subconscious then develop a strange intimacy while they attempt to explore a mysterious “black galaxy.” But theirs is a fleeting and rarified relationship, constantly bounded by greedy, homicidal bureaucrats committed to the expansion of bureaus and tormented by the idea of fragmentation.”
3. Testament XXI, Guy Snyder (1973)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1973 edition)
From the back cover: “REWRITE THE SACRET PAST—AND REVISE THE FATEFUL FUTURE. When Astronaut Williamson returned after the longest flight ever made he found that the great civilization that had launched him was gone… destroyed in a chaos of its own creation. But somewheres [sic] in what had once been Michigan the Republic welcomed him back. The Republic that was a kingdom, the Republic that consisted of one underground city ruled by a weakling monarch and a power-hungry priesthood.
TESTAMENT XXI is the story of the time of showdown, one hundred years after Doomsday, when men still yearned to learn the meaning of their continued existence, and when all that humanity had been sacred for two thousand years had been perverted to a continued drive for mortal ambitions. TESTAMENT XII is a novel not quite like any you have ever read in modern science fiction.”
4. Universe Day, K. M. O’Donnell (i.e. Barry N. Malzberg) (1971)
(Uncredited—but looks like Paul Lehr—cover for the 1971 edition)
From the back cover: “THE OUTER LIMIT. When man’s ambition expanded to fill the solar system, his technology expanded to take him as far as he wanted to go. Technology went on expanding. So did man’s ambitions. But there was a danger only dimly suspected, and only poorly comprehended when it began to make itself felt. It was that man’s ambition would outleap his imagination; tat his technology would outstrip his emotional capacity. It might be that it was just too big, the universe. That there was just too much of nothing there for man to bear…”