(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition)
4.25/5 (collated rating: Good)
J. G. Ballard’s second short story collection, Voices of Time and Other Stories (1962), is only ever so slightly less brilliant than his first, Billenium (1962). The stories are often linked thematically: exploring post-apocalyptical landscapes, rituals in the face of death, urban alienation, mental fragmentation. Scientists test whether humans can live without sleep, strange megaliths populate the volcanic landscapes of an alien planet, residual sounds are gathered in city dumps, and new ultra modern housing complexes facilitate detachment from the real world…
Highly recommended for all fans of literary, thought-provoking, and moody SF. Ballard is one of the most routinely Continue reading
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for Alien Horizons (1974), William F. Nolan)
I have been gathering this series of SF covers for a while—the human shape contorting, manipulated, transforming into in-human forms (trees, keys, insects, etc). Some are more metaphoric, for example Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1970 edition of A Century of Great Short Science Fiction Novels (1964). While a few are clearly aliens which look “human”—Charles Shield’s incredibly uncanny cover for the 1979 edition of Fireflood and Other Stories (1979) by Vonda N. McIntyre….
All hint at bigger mysteries, and seduce with their uncertain Continue reading
I’m a proponent of book store traveling (travel where bookstores are the first target). Two Half Price Books and a quality independent used books store yielded what will be the first of many acquisition posts of worthy SF.
Who could resist a $5 signed copy of Spinrad’s masterpiece Bug Jack Barron (1967)? Or a normally pricey edition of Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) for $2? And some Vonnegut, Jr. and a quality anthology containing the best of New Worlds….
1. Bug Jack Barron, Norman Spinrad (serialized 1967)
(Alex Gnidziejko’s cover for the 1969 edition) Continue reading
(Mike Hinge’s cover for the 1979 edition)
Note: A slightly shorter version of this review will appear in Big Sky, # 4 (a fanzine put together by Pete Young).
On the surface, Michael Bishop’s anthropologically inclined science fiction appears deceptively simple. In his first novel and unacknowledged masterpiece A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire (1975), the premise (moving an alien people from a planet) evolves into a vast and complex anthropological tapestry filled with stories within stories creating an almost claustrophobic doubling of characters. In Stolen Faces (1977) the biological mystery of a virulent disease grows, tumor-like, into a brilliantly nightmarish exploration of bodily and societal decay and the gravimetric forces
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