Two remaining books from the $1 hardback sale at my local bookstore….
A collection of Malzberg stories!
Another novel by one of my favorite SF authors, George Alec Effinger (i.e. his amazing metafictional novel What Entropy Means to Me (1972) blew me away)…
And finally an overpopulation/ecological disaster themed collection containing some great authors–Pamela Zoline, J. G. Ballard, Katherine MacLean, Kit Reed, Zelazny, etc.
1. The Unreasoning Mask, Philip José Farmer (1981)
(Artifact’s cover for the 1981 edition) Continue reading
(Gary Friedman’s cover for the 1978 edition)
3.25/5 (Vaguely Good)
“One of the women wasn’t dead yet. Her ravaged body hung naked from a broken billboard. Her legs were splayed wide and anchored with ropes; legs and belly were bloody, there were heavy bruises on her face and breasts, and she had been branded with a large “M” for mutant” (1).
Before there was Mad Max (1979) dir. George Miller there was Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s False Dawn (1978)… In 1972 she published her brutal and terrifying short story “False Dawn” in Thomas N. Scortia’s anthology Strange Bedfellows (1972). A few years later the work was deemed important enough to be included in Pamela Sargent’s famous anthology Women of Wonder (1975). This story forms the first chapter of her post-apocalyptical novel False Dawn (1978).
In the 60s highly inventive post-apocalyptical stories flourished: for example, J. G. Ballard’s masterpiece The Drowned World (1962) filled with images of uterine spaces Continue reading
I have always had a soft sport for fantasy (mostly the non-Tolkein ripoff type) à la Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan (1946), Stephen Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane (1977), Jeff VanderMeer’s Shriek: An Afterword (2006). Yes, as a kid I read tons of “standard fanasy” i.e. almost all those horrid Wheel of Time novels + Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow & Thorn sequence, etc. etc. And then I discovered SF and my reading parterns shifted drastically….
Over the past few months I’ve collected the two sequels to Titus Groan and a few Russell Hoban novels—my site name Joachim Boaz is partially derived from Hoban’s remarkable The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973).
I’m not sure if I’ll review these novels here but, I might read Peake’s Gormenghast (1950) soon.
1. Pilgermann, Russell Hoban (1983)
(Rowena’s cover for the 1984 edition) Continue reading
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1977 edition)
3.25/5 (Collated rating: Vaguely Good)
I have long been a fan of Frank Herbert. In my youth I scarfed down Dune (1965) and all its sequels and cried (metaphorically) when his son Brian Herbert made a mockery of his vision. I even read the more dubious novels in Herbert’s canon: from The Green Brain (1966) to the co-written (with Bill-Ransom) novels of the Pandora sequence i.e. The Jesus Incident (1979), The Lazarus Effect (1983), and The Ascension Factor (1988). I have found many of his non-Dune novels worth reading (Destination: Void (1966) and The Dosadi Experiment (1977), etc).
More recently I have started to read/review the handful of his novels I missed as a child—so far the solid and unexpectedly complex The Eyes of Heisenberg (1966) and the lesser Continue reading
(Richard Weaver’s cover for the 1972 edition of Dreadful Sanctuary (1948), Eric Frank Russell)
THE SKULL. The bones of the dead, the empty sockets gazing at us, a deathly gaze…. I have collected for your [horror filled] enjoyment a vast variety of SF skulls: the moon mutated into a skull, the half-skinned skull as part of mysterious contraptions, photographs of real human skulls interspersed with statuary and wigs, bizarre pink skulls pulsating with green radiation-esque Continue reading
A nice batch—some more from the $1 hardback sale at my local bookstore, one procured via abebooks, and one from a friend. I grabbed Cowper’s The Road to Corlay (1978) after seeing two solid reviews from my friends at Speculiction… [review here] and Porpourri of Science Fiction Literature [review here]. I enjoyed Cowper’s later novel Profundis (1979).
I had no idea the Pulitzer-winning writer and journalist John Hersey from dystopic SF allegories…
And, a collection of early work from the fruitful partnership of Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth… With a gorgeous Richard Powers cover!
I’ve always enjoyed really short SF stories so I look forward to devouring Asimov and Conklin collection (perhaps in stages due to its length).
Enjoy the covers!
1. The Wonder Effect, C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl (1962)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition) Continue reading
(Ed Soyka’s cover for the 1975 edition)
4.5/5 (Very Good)
“The Game is not a metaphor. The Game is not a closed system which represents something larger; but the choices made within its pathways are exactly that, choices which have to do with the immediate outcome. It would be a mistake to think of the success or failure in the Game having anything to do with the world. There are not metaphors. There are no outer significances. There is merely the Game itself and what it accomplishes upon its participants” (37).
In Jorge Luis Borges’ 1941 short story, “The Library of Babel” the universe is conceived of as a vast library stretching in all directions. In this spectacular environment—an endless series of hexagonal rooms, each one with the same number of shelves with the same number of books with the same number of letters inscribed on each page, etc. Borges brings into sharp, and unsettling relief, complex metaphysical speculations.
In The Gamesman (1975) Barry N. Malzberg creates a similarly sculpted world with two bifurcated Continue reading
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) Continue reading
(Bruce Pennington’s cover for the 1971 edition)
3.25/5 (Slightly Above Average)
“There is an element of terror in any natural object that does not exist in its proper place. Wentik experienced the full force of this as he stood in the dark. A hand grows from a table, and an ear from a wall. A maze is constructed to sophisticated mathematical formula, yet is housed in a tumbledown shack. A minor official terrorizes me, and a man tries to fly a helicopter without vanes. Land exist in future time, through I feel and believe instinctively that I am in the present. What else will this place do to me? (83)”
Christopher Priest’s first novel Indoctrinaire (1970) explores the mystery of a vast perfectly round plain with a series of strange buildings that appears in the middle of the Amazonian jungle. Seemingly displaced in time, the transformed landscape is not only a visible sign of the ecological transformation the world will undergo but also, less visibly, the unseen but pernicious scars Continue reading