April 23, 2013 § 16 Comments
A strange conglomeration of novels….
If there’s any era I’m lacking knowledge in it’s late 20s-early 40s (well, I’ve read some Van Vogt + Edgar Rice Burroughs) pulp science fiction — so I decided to brush up on some of the greats. With that in mind I acquired five Ray Cummings novels (the rest will be in a later acquisition post) and Van Vogt’s Slan (1940)….. I don’t have high hopes. But now I own my first Alex Schomburg cover!
I generally do not accept review copies due to the fact that most offers are for self-published works rather than republished novels from the period I’m most familiar with (and prefer to read) — 1950-1985. So, when New York Review of Books offered me a copy of Kingsley Amis’ well-known alt-history/sci-fi (depending on whose definition you’re reading) novel The Alteration (1976) I happily agreed….
1. The Exile of Time, Ray Cummings (magazine publication 1931)
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1964 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2013 § 6 Comments
(Arthur Hawkins’ cover for the 1959 edition of Skyport (1959), Curt Siodmak)
Part II of my series on cover art depicting space stations (Part I). Here are vast assortment of primarily Alex Schomburg and Vincent Di Fate’s artwork — they did love their space stations. But, I think my favorite is by far Arthur Hawkins’ cover for the 1959 edition of Curt Siodmak’s Skyport (1959) — the author is of course famous for the novel Donovan’s Brain (1942). The delightful color scheme, the 50s aesthetic, the vague indication of continents below, the cluster of « Read the rest of this entry »
April 20, 2013 § 6 Comments
(Richard Powers (?) cover for the 1960 edition)
Robert Sheckley deftly manipulates — in a mere (but dense) 127 pages – a plot straight from the pulps involving prison planets and gladiatorial fights against terrifying robots into a scathing and artfully constructed work of satire. Similar skills were apparent in his masterful collection Store of Infinity (1960) where traditional sci-fi situations such as colonization of alien worlds, robot rebellions, post-apocalyptical wastelands, and time-travel (among other tropes) are imbued with witty wordplay and biting social « Read the rest of this entry »
April 15, 2013 § 13 Comments
I loved James E. Gunn’s The Joy Makers (1961) and found the collection Station in Space (1958) quite solid… Thus, I snatched up a lot of Gunn’s fix-up novels and short story collections from ebay…. It is often difficult to distinguish Gunn’s short story collections from his novels due to the fact that his favorite form tended to be the novella and novelette — after their original magazine publications they were combined into “proper novels” or existing novellas, for example ‘The Listeners’ (1968), were expanded to novel length.
Regardless, I cannot wait to read these. Which ones to do you recommend?
And some intriguing covers….
1. The Burning, James Gunn (1972) (MY REVIEW)
(Robert Foster’s cover for the 1972 edition)
From the inside flap: “Death to the scientists! The cry for blood vengeance went up all over the « Read the rest of this entry »
April 14, 2013 § 14 Comments
(Keith Robert’s cover for the 1966 edition)
The Ice Schooner (1969) is the second of Michael Moorcock’s novels I’ve read — the first was the equally unremarkable adventure The Warlord of the Air (1971). The Ice Schooner, an homage to seafaring works of Joseph Conrad, functions as a standalone novel without the trappings of Moorcock’s multi-verse mythology. Despite the lack of explicit connection between this novel’s hero and the “eternal champion” character archetype that features in so many of his works, one could argue that Konrad Arflane displays many of the same « Read the rest of this entry »
April 8, 2013 § 19 Comments
On the cross, a future prophet (or false one)? A martyr for a lost cause? Or, some future priestly emissary of the Catholic church dispensing law on those gathered…. Perhaps some transformation of man to a godly state all hallowed and arrayed with religious accouterments of faith? I’ve gathered a fun collection of science fiction prophets mostly decked out / depicted in distinctly Christian style.
My favorite is Robert Foster’s cover for the 1970 edition of Behold the Man (1969) by Michael Moorcock…. And Gray Morrow’s cover for the 1970 edition of This Immortal (variant title: And Call Me Conrad) (1965) contains a fascinating color scheme — although there isn’t any mold on the figure’s face as Zelazny « Read the rest of this entry »
April 1, 2013 § 9 Comments
What a group of novels! Four novels by the highly underrated and underread 1960s/early 70s author Daniel F. Galouye — the only novel of his I’m missing is The Infinite Man (1973)… I’ve previously read his most famous work Dark Universe (1961) — here’s my review (be warned, one of my first reviews on the site, I’d like to think that I’ve improved) – but copies tend to go for around $10+ online so I didn’t own a copy until I stumbled on a great lot of his novels on ebay for a few bucks…
Just read the back covers quotes (below). They all sound disturbing and absolutely fantastic. Rainer Werner Fassbinder — yes, you read that correctly — even made a German language miniseries adaptation, Welt Am Draht (1973) (World on a Wire), of Simulacron-3 (1964). Criterion just released a DVD…. And of course, Josef Rusnak’s more famous film The Thirteenth Floor (1999) was a lose adaptation of the same novel.
Also, I spent the most I’ve ever spend on a paperback for David R. Bunch’s near masterpiece, Moderan (1971). I finished the novel last week (interlibrary loan) and had to find a copy… They are usually $18 + online but again, found a copy on ebay and made an offer. I’ll have a review of Moderan up in a few days, I promise!
1. Lords of the Psychon, Daniel F. Galouye (1963)
(Uncredited cover « Read the rest of this entry »
March 31, 2013 § 10 Comments
(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1973 edition of Operation Umanaq (1973), John Rankine)
Here are only a small portion of the cover images I’ve collected of space stations and space habitats of the rotating wheel variety — i.e. the ring (or a torus) spins creating pseudo-gravity. As in the double-wheeled space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)… I have always been enamored with space stations/habitats which was part of reason I adored Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a kid (although today I prefer it over the over Star Treks due to the complicated arc « Read the rest of this entry »
March 30, 2013 § 7 Comments
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1972 edition)
As of late I’ve been returning to the extensive catalogue of Frank Herbert’s non-Dune novels on my shelf – The Eyes of Heisenberg (1966) was an engaging read with adept world building which created an intriguing/harrowing dystopic future. The God Makers (1972) lacks not only Herbert’s trademark dense prose (for example, constantly shifting perspective over the course of a conversation) but also features one of his more poorly conceived future worlds. This might be due to the fact that the novel was cobbled together from four short stories « Read the rest of this entry »