Book Review: The Crystal Ship (three novellas by Vonda N. McIntyre + Marta Randall + Joan D. Vinge), ed. Robert Silverberg (1976)
April 6, 2014 § 8 Comments
(Norman Adams’ cover for the 1977 edition)
3.25/5 (collated rating: Good)
According to a list compiled by Ian Sales [here] only a handful of SF anthologies have hit print solely featuring women authors—none were published before 1972 and, surprisingly, few after 1980 (there seems to be a resurgence in the last few years). The Crystal Ship (1976) ed. Robert Silverberg, is one of these. It contains the three novellas by three important SF authors who got their start in the 70s: Marta Randall, Joan D. Vinge, Vondra McIntyre. The latter two achieved critical success: Joan D. Vinge won the Hugo for her novel The Snow Queen (1980) and Vonda N. McIntyre won the Hugo for her novel Dreamsnake (1978). Marta Randall, on the other hand, despite her Nebula nomination for the intriguing Islands (1976) remains to this day lesser known.
All three of the novellas feature impressive female protagonists and narratives that subvert many of SF’s traditional « Read the rest of this entry »
April 5, 2014 § 9 Comments
Another Michael Bishop novel for my upcoming guest post series (announcement coming soon)! Irresistible after the brilliant Stolen Faces (1977) and his masterpiece A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire (1975)….
The rest are fun but not high on my list of must reads. I’ve never been a fan of A. E. Van Vogt (could not tolerate the inarticulate labyrinth of a novel The World of Null-A) but the Powers cover on The War Against the Rull (1959) was fun.
I’ve heard good things about Edgar Pangborn, although people seldom discuss West of Eden (1953), perhaps with good reason.
Fletcher Pratt’s Invaders from Rigel (1932) is one of those AMAZING covers but incredibly dubious reads. Even the back cover is rather non-sensical.
1. Transfigurations, Michael Bishop (1979)
(Mike Hinge’s cover for the 1979 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCIX (Vinge + Randall + McIntyre + Wylie + Brunner + Sohl)
March 29, 2014 § 15 Comments
A nice mix with some gorgeous Powers’ covers—some 30s + 50s pulp, three novellas in one of only a handful of female SF author anthologies ever published, and another John Brunner novel for my extensive collections (it’s an expanded novel from one of his earlier pulp works, hopefully he improved the original version).
1. After Worlds Collide, Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer (1933)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1963 edition)
From the back cover: “When the group of survivors from Earth landed on Bronson Beta, they expected absolute desolation. This Earth-like planet from another universe had been hurtling through space, cold and utter darkness for countless millennia. All life should have perished millions of years ago. But the Earth-people found a breathtakingly beautiful city, encased in a huge, transparent metal bubble; magnificent apartments filled with every luxury; food for a lifetime in the vast, empty kitchens; but with no trace either of life—or death. Then the humans learned they were not alone on Bronson Beta…” « Read the rest of this entry »
March 24, 2014 § 34 Comments
…a wonderful haul from Half Price Books.
More Lafftery (I will read Past Master soon, I promise)!
Two more Zelazny novels!
And a Zebrowski collection…
I love hearing your thoughts/comments.
1. Past Master, R. L. Lafferty (1968)
(Diane and Leo Dillon’s cover for the 1968 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
March 13, 2014 § 21 Comments
With the sole novel of his I’ve read, What Entropy Means to Me (1972), George Alec Effinger has entered the pantheon of my favorite authors—the novel is that brilliant. So, with a birthday gift card from my sister I procured a copy of Irrational Numbers (1975), a collection of short fiction. Will read soon….
I know very little about John Varley’s work. I have a copy of his collection The Persistence of Vision (1978) but had no idea that his first novel, The Ophiuchi Hotline (1977) was as well known as the Goodreads ratings make it out to be (1,476 votes!). I am positive that Boris Vallejo’s horrid cover prevented me from even considering the novel in the past.
More Wilhelm! (Juniper Time)
More Blish! (Midsummer Century)
All first edition hardbacks for a mere $1-2 each.
1. The Ophiuchi Hotline, John Varley (1977)
(Boris Vallejo’s cover for the 1977 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
February 23, 2014 § 20 Comments
More Simak! More Philip José Farmer Farmer! And two unknown qualities, Harness’ collection The Rose (1955) and Sydney van Scyoc’s Saltflower (1971)…
And three of the the covers for this collection are top-notch—two Powers’ gems and a wonderful Lehr “cityscape.”
1. Saltflower, Sydney Van Scyoc (1971)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
February 16, 2014 § 5 Comments
I while back I put out a call for SF novels/short works on immortality to add to a preliminary list I put together. Due to my lack of knowledge of newer SF and uncanny ability to forget relevant previously read works I eagerly added your suggestions. And Marta Randall’s Islands (1976) motivated me to finally post it…
Here’s the LIST!
If you can think of any that I might be missing be sure to « Read the rest of this entry »
February 8, 2014 § 14 Comments
(Murray Tinkleman’s cover for the 1979 edition)
John Brunner has long been one of my favorite SF authors and it almost pains me to review dismal disasters like Double, Double (1969). I find it mind-boggling that an author who produced the otherworldly Stand on Zanzibar (1968) can turn around and release Double, Double the very next year. Yes, yes I know, even brilliant SF authors such as Robert Silverberg churned out a vast and bizarre variety of sex/smut books to make ends meet (and buy a mansion) under such names as L.T. Woodward MD (Virgin Wives, Sex in our Schools, etc) and Don Elliot (Cousin Lover, Gang Girl, Gay Girl, The Instructor, etc) so I really should not complain….
Double, Double contains the most rudimentary clichéd premise and a plot used in countless 50s B-movies. At moments it feels like Brunner wanted to transform the plot into a vehicle for social commentary. However, at these crucial junctures where Brunner could have used his profusion of strange disparate characters gathered together in the English countryside to comment on the state of English society « Read the rest of this entry »
January 25, 2014 § 14 Comments
More Dallas, TX Half Price Book finds… and a few gifts from 2theD at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature (found on one of his infrequent trips to the states).
Can’t wait to tackle the Ian Watson collection — Ian Sales has characterized him one of the treasure of the British SF (I’ll post a book of his in the coming weeks). Wilhelm’s extensive reputation seems to be based mostly on her Hugo-winning fix-up novel, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976). It’s unfortunate that few read her other novels and short story collections. The Nebula-nominated Margaret and I (1971) is a welcome edition to my collection.
I’ve not had success with Philip José Farmer in the past—To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971) might be the worst novel to win a Hugo—but the collection of 50s novelettes Strange Relations (1960) was too good to pass up.
And finally, my find of the holiday break, a SIGNED (with personal note) copy of Edward Bryant’s collection Cinnabar (1976)! For a mere two dollars (incorrectly placed in the non-signed SF books)….
1. The Very Slow Time Machine, Ian Watson (1979)
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1979 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »