March 1, 2013 § 24 Comments
I love the idea of a community of science fiction reviewers — so I’ve put together a list of a handful of book review blogs focused on classic/slightly more esoteric science fiction. Obviously there are plenty of great blogs I’ve omitted that have reviews of new releases or only occasional vintage science fiction…. Or, blogs that refrain from reviews of vintage science fiction unless participating in certain reading challenges….
Please visit them, comment on their reviews, and browse through their back catalogues.
1] Speculiction….: An under visited /commented on blog with quality book reviews of classic science fiction — however, the reviewer, Jesse, is limited by the lack of older science fiction available to him in Poland. I especially enjoyed his reviews of Ballard’s “beautifully strange enigma” that is The Crystal World (1966) and of course, my favorite science fiction novel of all time, John Brunner’s magisterial Stand on Zanzibar (1968). An index of his reviews can be found here. He also has a good mix of newer science fiction reviews as well.
Book Review: Who Can Replace a Man? (variant title: Best Science Fiction Stories of Brian W. Aldiss), Brian W. Aldiss (1965)
February 13, 2013 § 10 Comments
(Don Puchatz’s cover for the 1967 edition)
4/5 (collated rating: Good)
(note: I apologize for the extended time I’ve spent away from my blog – preparing for my dissertation proposal defense concurrent with a massive influx of grading derailed my sci-fi reading for the last few weeks)
Seven of the 1950s short stories in Brian W. Aldiss’ best of collection Who Can Replace a Man? (1965) I’ve reviewed before in No Time Like Tomorrow (1959) and Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1960). However, the collection contains seven additional 50s and 60s novellas/short stories that make up the majority of pages. I’ve indicated the old material in the review with an asterisk « Read the rest of this entry »
January 14, 2013 § 2 Comments
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1959 edition)
3.75/5 (collated rating: Good)
This collection of Brian Aldiss short stories from the mid-to-late 50s is a notch above the middling Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1960), collated from the same period, which I reviewed a few months back. Aldiss is definitely one of the more bizarre and original (along with Philip K. Dick) sci-fi voices of the 50s (and beyond).
Most collections are purposely comprised of a mixture of good and bad stories hence the generally low collated ratings I hand out. Unlike Galaxies, most of the stories in this collection are worth reading and none are egregiously bad. ’Not for an Age,’ ‘Judas Danced’, ‘The Failed Men’, and ‘Outside’ are all highly « Read the rest of this entry »
December 24, 2012 § 7 Comments
It’s been a while since I returned to one of the more well-known authors of the 50s — Isaac Asimov. I’ve read many of his novels and short story collections (Foundation Trilogy, The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire, The Currents of Space, The Gods Themselves, Nemesis, etc) and have never been too impressed. However, with a run of recent bad 50s sci-fi works under my belt (review for David Duncan’s egregious Dark Dominion is upcoming) I feel the need to reappraise a few of the 50s greats. So, when I was perusing some gorgeous old paperbacks with well-preserved covers I purchased two Asimov novels for the first time since I was a young teenager.
And another Brunner to add to the 20+ works of his I already own…. Unfortunately the one edition I find was the one edition where the editor edited + modified Brunner’s words without his permission.
And some Aldiss short stories from the 50s….
A gorgeous collection of covers!
1. Pebble in the Sky, Isaac Asimov (1950) (MY REVIEW)
(Uncredited cover for the 1957 « Read the rest of this entry »
October 13, 2012 § 16 Comments
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1960 edition)
3/5 (collated rating: Average)
The concept behind Brian Aldiss’ short story collection Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1960) is intriguing. Take previously published stories (in this case from magazines in the late 50s), graft them together by means of mini-introductions, and arrange them so they fit into a future history framework à la Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men (1930) or Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy (1951-1953).
The quality of the stories makes the format less than successful. Only three stories are worth reading — ‘Secret of a Mighty City’ (1958), ‘Out of Reach’ (1957), and ‘All « Read the rest of this entry »
January 8, 2012 § 6 Comments
Christmas = gift cards = more science fiction books, and a few my dad had procured for himself appeared miraculously in my pile — I’ve decided to break down the clump into manageable four book posts.
And of course, I wish you all a good sci-fi book hunting/reading year!
1. The Santaroga Barrier, Frank Herbert (1968)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition)
I’ve read a substantial number of Frank Herbert’s non-Dune « Read the rest of this entry »
October 31, 2011 § 2 Comments
June 20, 2011 § 4 Comments
I’ve held to my promise not to buy any more books this summer considering I have at least 40 unread sci-fi books looming over my shoulder. However, other people are welcome to procure books FOR me! And they have — all of the following were gifts! Thank you!
1. The Last Starship from Earth (1968), John Boyd (MY REVIEW)
I’ve read multiple reviews which claim that John Boyd’s The Last Starship from Earth is a lost classic. However, opinion are far from unanimous (for example, the sci-fi author Joanna Russ wrote a scathing review blaming the publishers for subjecting her and fellow readers to « Read the rest of this entry »
May 2, 2011 § 5 Comments
Brian Aldiss’ Earthworks (1965) takes place in a future Earth wrecked by the effects of overpopulation and the resulting environmental repercussions of intensive, expansive, and destructive over-farming. In this disturbed world of increasing automation and devaluation of human life, robots are worth more than people and the hungry diseased hordes of mankind have reverted to « Read the rest of this entry »