Book Review: Juniper Time, Kate Wilhelm (1979)

April 11, 2014 § 45 Comments

(Bob Aulicino’s cover for the hideous 1979 edition)

3.5/5 (Good)

Nominated for the 1980 Nebula Award

“Everything that is, Robert had said, must be.  Every cycle must be completed, must lead to the next cycle.  He had talked about times when the desert had been drier than it now was, times when it had been lush and wet, and there had been no questions in his mind that this too must be” (170-171).

At the heart of Kate Wilhelm’s Nebula-nominated novel Juniper Time (1979) is the notion of historical cyclicality at both the macro- (earth cycles) and the micro- (human historical time) levels.  The near future mysteriously drought stricken world where Wilhelm is an important juncture of two such cycles.  The macrocycle concerns devastating world-wide desertification, which is most caused by a natural cycle but the precise nature of which is unknown.  The microcycle concerns a shift in human populations in the drought stricken countries: mass migrations towards coasts as the springs and rivers of the hinterlands turn to mud.  In this world the farmer, in the past linked tightly to his fields, abandons his traditional position in American society and moves to a cluttered and violent state « 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).

Enjoy!

1. After Worlds Collide, Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer (1933)

FTRWRLDSCL1968

(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 »

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCVIII (Lafferty + Zelazny + Zebrowski)

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 »

Updates: New Type of Post (grouped reviews of uncollected short stories published in magazines)

March 9, 2014 § 5 Comments

 

I do not own many SF magazines from the 40s-70s.  The reasons are as follows: 1) Novels tended to be serialized which means I have to track down multiple magazines to read an entire novel.  2) The novels were often radically altered for their first book form publication (think, Herbert’s “Dune World” (1963) that later became Dune (1965).  Thus, I rather own the later novel form that wasn’t as constrained by the strictures of magazine form. 3) I love short story collections and would rather own the entire collection than read a singleton story.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review: Citizen in Space, Robert Sheckley (1955)

February 22, 2014 § 14 Comments

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1955 edition

4/5 (collated rating: Good)

Robert Sheckley’s easily one of the best SF satirists in the short story form.  The collection Citizen in Space (1955), although not as uniformly brilliant as the collection Store of Infinity (1960), is chock full of gems including “The Luckiest Man in the World” (1955), “Something for Nothing” (1954), “Ask a Foolish Question” (1953), and “Skulking Permit” (1954).  Sheckley exposes in all their glory the vast variety of humankind’s follies and utopic delusions.

Later in the 50s and in the span of 6os his visions would become increasingly searing and metafictional.  This early collection « Read the rest of this entry »

Updates: Immortality Themed SF Novels/Short Stories Resource Posted

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 »

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCIII (McCaffrey + Gunn + Spinrad + Sellings)

February 16, 2014 § 5 Comments

My first collection (and a big one at that) of Norman Spinrad short stories!  I loved The Iron Dream (1972).  I’ve also wanted to give Anne McCaffrey’s non-Pern SF a shot (loved Pern as a kid).  Although, it does look rather silly, catlike aliens are generally not my idea of fun.  Another novel by James Gunn, one he claims is his best…. And, one of those impulsive type acquisitions of unknown quality, The Power of X (1968) by Arthur Sellings.

Thoughts?

1. Kampus, James E. Gunn (1977)

(Bob Larkin’s cover for the 1977 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review: Islands, Marta Randall (1976)

February 15, 2014 § 13 Comments

Screen shot 2014-02-02 at 9.35.15 AM

(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1976 edition)

3.5/5 (Good)

Nominated for the 1977 Nebula Award for Best Novel

*Note: I read the 1980 Pocket edition which, according to Locus, was modified (to what extent I do not know) from the original 1976 first edition.

Marta Randall, the first female president of SFWA, is one of numerous female science fiction writers from the 70s that are seldom read today.  A while back Ian Sales alerted me to Randall’s work in his very positive review of A City in the North (1976) on SF Mistressworks.  Recently, while looking for unread works on my immortality-themed SF list (here), I came across the Nebula-nominated Islands (1976).

One of the more effective ways to write about the ennui « Read the rest of this entry »

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXXIII (Randall + Brunner + Shaw + Jones)

December 29, 2013 § 15 Comments

Dallas Half Price Book Store Part III (Part I, Part II)!

A short story collection by an author I have termed Mr. Perpetually Average But Readable, Bob Shaw.  I am interested in whether or not his visions are more concise/poignant in short story form.  I suspect a book like One Million Tomorrows (1971) would have been amazing in short form, especially the disturbing portions that take place in Africa (the UN forcefully administering immortality treatment on people who do not want them)….

A Nebula award nominated novel by Marta Randall, Islands (1976)—immortality themed, seems (at first glance) to be on the allegorical side = I have high hopes.

More Brunner! (Despite his warning, I was influenced by a review over at Speculiction…. here)  But then again, I am a Brunner completest…. And finally, a relatively unknown British SF novel, Implosion (1967) about a decreasing population.  Despite words of warning from reviews like Ian Sales’ (here) I couldn’t resist the Vincent Di Fate cover.

Thoughts?

1. Tomorrow Lies in Ambush, Bob Shaw (1973)

(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »

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