Tag Archives: 1980s

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Human Transformations + Transfigurations


(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

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Skull (connected to mysterious contraptions + looming above all + the moon mutated)


(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

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) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CVII (Anthology: Galactic Empires, vol 1 and 2 + Holdstock + Watson)

Snatched all but one of these up at a 1$ SF hardback clearance sale at my local bookstore.  The other, Watson’s The Jonah Kit (1976) came via The Dawn Treader Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI.

I am not usually interested in Galactic Empires but the collection seems to have some intriguing short authors—for example, Lafferty, Davidson, Shaara, etc whose works I have no been that exposed to.  I look forward to slowly working my way through both volumes.

I also acquired my first Robert Holdstock novel, Where Time Winds Blow (1981).  Seems intriguing.

My schedule has finally calmed down a little so expect a slew of book reviews in the coming days/weeks…


1. Galactic Empires, Volume I, ed. Brian Aldiss (1976)


(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1978 edition) Continue reading

Guest Post: “The Quickening,” Michael Bishop (1981)

(Roger Zimmerman’s cover for Universe 11 (1981), first place of publication for “The Quickening”)

My ninth installment of my guest post series on The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop comes via Max (twitter: @MaxCarnduff) at the fiction (and occasionally SF/F) review site Pechorin’s Journal.  His incredibly erudite review of  Anna Kavan’s Ice (1967) is the reason I have not tried to review the work myself….  Follow him on twitter and check out his site!

For this series he selected the novelette “The Quickening” (1981) which won the Nebula for Best Novelette (1982) (one of the two Nebula wins Bishop has under his belt) and was nominated for the Hugo for best novelette that same year.  The novelette appears in Bishop’s most recent retrospective collection put out by Subterranean Press, The Door Gunner and Other Flights of Fancy (2012) that desperately needs an eBook/Kindle version!



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“The Quickening” (1981)

When Joachim approached me about participating in his series of guest reviews of works by Michael Bishop I was delighted, but worried I wouldn’t be able to get a review to him on time (work, life, that sort of thing).

Well, I was right on both counts. I was right to be delighted because Michael Bishop’s a writer with real talent Continue reading

Guest Post: Blooded on Arachne (selections), Michael Bishop (1982)


(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1982 edition)

The seventh installment of my guest post series on the SF of Michael Bishop comes via Carl V. Anderson (twitter: @SteelDroppings) over at the SF/F site Stainless Steel Droppings.  Although he does not often review older SF he was excited to participate in my project.  We decided to split Bishop’s first collection of short stories, Blooded on Arachne (1982).  Although he found a few of the stories rather hit or miss, he was blown away by “In Chinistrex Fortronza the People are Machines” 5/5 among others.  Check out Carl’s worthwhile site (for example, posts on the new Hugo art nominees, Andre Norton reviews etc. etc. etc.)

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Blooded on Arachne (1982)–Michael Bishop

When Joachim Boaz asked me to join a group to guest post about author Michael Bishop, I jumped at the opportunity despite my overwhelming schedule. I had not been doing much short story reading, and the proposition of exploring work from an author I had not read…admittedly don’t recall ever having heard of…excited me. Of course there was more to it than that. Having followed Joachim’s site for several years and knowing his passion Continue reading

Guest Post: Brighten to Incandescence (selections), Michael Bishop (2003)

(Jamie Bishop’s cover for the 2003 edition)

The fourth installment of my The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop guest post series was written by MPorcius (twitter: @hankbukowsi) at MPorcius Fiction Log—a valued and longtime commentator on my site.  I have procured quite a few books due to his quality reviews which I highly recommend perusing.  Check out his site (especially if you like classic SF)!

Over the course of this series we moved from Michael Bishop’s most well known novella (“Death and Designation Among the Asadi“) to his novels (Brittle Innings, No Enemy but Time) and now to an intriguing collection of lesser known short SF and non-genre stories.

MPorcius decided to only focus on the SF in Brighten to Incandescence but points out that all the stories in the collection are worth reading!



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Brighten to Incandescence (2003) — Michael Bishop

Brighten to Incandescence, published by Golden Gryphon Press in 2003, is Michael Bishop’s seventh collection of stories. In the final chapter of the book, a series of notes on the stories, Bishop explains that he and the people at Golden Gryphon initially were thinking of putting out a Best Of volume, then decided to publish a collection of previously uncollected pieces instead. What we have in Brighten to Incandescence, then, are 17 stories, many of which were passed over for inclusion in previous collections for years or even decades; these stories probably do not represent Bishop’s best or most salable work.

Happily, the stories are all worth Continue reading

Guest Post: No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop (1982)


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

The third installment of my Guest Post Series on Michael Bishop’s SF was written by Megan (twitter: @couchtomoon) over at the relatively new but completely worthwhile SF review site From Couch to the Moon.  She’s already put together a substantial list of delightful reviews.  Megan selected Bishop’s single most famous and Nebula award-winning novel, No Enemy But Time (1982)—and sadly, one of few books of his still in print.  Along with Transfigurations (1979), it was republished and selected for the Gollancz Masterwork [list].

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No Enemy But Time (1982) — Michael Bishop

Coming out of Bishop’s 1982 Nebula award winning novel, No Enemy But Time, is like coming out of a time travel trance: the experience is jarring, hazy, and unwelcome. Bishop sweeps the reader into his world—humanity’s distant past—and paints a primitive African landscape dappled with hippos, hyenas, and volcanoes, but lush Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CII (Disch 2xs + Anderson + Pollack)

My fiancé picked these up for me as she perambulated through Dallas, TX—the birthplace of Half Price Books.  And, easily the best one in the country.

Two more Disch novels to add to my collection (I only owned Camp Concentration).  The cover and cover blurb for On Wings of Song (1979) is terrifyingly bad—the contents are supposedly magisterial.

I have no idea if Rachel Pollack’s Golden Vanity (1980) will be any good—looks like average space opera.

And, who can resist Poul Anderson?


1. Echo Round His Bones, Thomas M. Disch (1966)


(Uncredited cover for the 1967 edition) Continue reading