November 13, 2013 § 33 Comments
MPorcius, a frequent and well-read commentator on my site, has started transferring his numerous amazon reviews and writing new reviews of classic SF (a substantial portion is pre-1980s) to his blog. Please visit him and comment on his posts!
queue rant: I’ve noticed a surprising lack of frequently updated classic SF blogs online. Yes, many bloggers occasionally dabble in the distant era of SF glory or publish yet another review of the obligatory masterpieces because they appear on a some “best of” list (Dune, The Left Hand of Darkness, etc). However, few are devoted to the period and make it a point to write reviews of books that very few people will ever actually read due to their obscurity i.e. blogs that don’t sell out by churning out reviews of new Tor releases (I have declined their offer) or endless 4/5 or 5/5 starred let’s pat each other on the back reviews of self-published (and generally awful) ebooks « Read the rest of this entry »
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: Three for Tomorrow, novellas by Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, and James Blish, (1969)
September 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
(Uncredited cover for the 1970 edition)
3.5/5 (collated rating: Good)
Three for Tomorrow (1969) contains three novellas written specially for the volume on the following theme selected by Arthur C. Clarke: “with increasing technology goes increasing vulnerability: the more man conquers Nature, the more prone he becomes to artificial catastrophe” (foreword, 8). In my continuing quest for Robert Silverberg’s work from his Glory Period (proclaimed by me) 1967-1976, I was delighted to come across one of his shorter works paired with two other great authors, James Blish and Roger Zelazny. If you want to read Silverberg’s novella but not the others, it appeared in many of his later collections — Earth’s Other Shadow (1973) for example.
As with most collections, Three for Tomorrow is uneven. Silverberg’s installment is the best due to its intriguing social analysis of a city suddenly whose inhabitants are suddenly missing « Read the rest of this entry »
Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVIII (Disch + Silverberg + Pohl + Dickson + et. al.)
December 19, 2011 § 18 Comments
Half-Price Books in Dallas, Texas (its first location!) = bliss.
9 books = only 12 dollars. (curtesy of my girlfriend’s parents’ pre-Christmas gift)
What an amazing haul — and if I had known they were only going to be twelve dollars I would have picked up nine more. Lots of Silverberg from his glory years… Generation ships… City building machines… Weird psychic forcefields out beyond Pluto… Vietnam army camps experimenting with intelligence enhancing (and death inducing) syphilis strains…
1. Camp Concentration, Thomas M. Disch (1972)
(Uncredited cover for the 1971 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Doomed Cities (post-apocalyptical ruins, war-wrecked landscapes, burning winds)
December 15, 2011 § 14 Comments
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1959 edition of The Rest Must Die (1959), Kendell Foster Crossen)
The electricity turns off in a futuristic city and people turn into animals and everyone slowly kills each other, mysterious winds sweep through cities killing everyone, large machine minds take over, nuclear bombs destroy everything, intelligent dogs take over, the sun expands drying all the oceans, the sun expands (but not as much) and water floods over all the cities, aliens come with large guns and blow everything up, aliens come with brain probes and make others blow everything up, aliens pretend to be humans and annoy the humans enough so they blow each other up with nuclear bombs, people from the past go back in time and see that humans have blown everything up and they try to prevent the aliens from making the humans blow everything up, a bacterial agent from an alien kills everyone, « Read the rest of this entry »
October 5, 2011 § 5 Comments
(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1967 edition of The Winged Man (1966), A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull)
In the 1960s the sci-fi covers of the major publishers Dell, Berkley Medallion, Signet, Avon, Ace (etc) ran the gamut from Richard Powers’ avant-garde landscapes and conglomerate faces to the fantastic collages of a relatively unknown artist by the name of Hoot von Zitzewitz (Hubertus Octavio von Zitzewitz).
I’ve cobbled together a few bits of a biography (if any one knows some more concrete facts let me know). He was a fine arts teacher at Hofstra University and passed away around 2002. Hoot worke « Read the rest of this entry »
August 16, 2011 § 8 Comments
A Life for the Stars is the second novel according to internal chronology in James Blish’s famous Cities in Flight series. Unlike the much more serious first installment, They Shall Have Stars (1956), A Life for the Stars is generally regarded as a juvenile work (i.e. science fiction for a younger audience containing a positive moral message, an intelligent but poor teen boy « Read the rest of this entry »
May 13, 2011 § 6 Comments
I’ve finally acquired enough science fiction books to hold me (hopefully) over the summer YET few enough that I’ll clear out 90% of previous unread novels languishing in dark forgotten corners of my bookshelves…. A valiant statement I know. Most likely more will arrive mysteriously in the mail — when I sleepwalk I buy books (books in the mail = evidence of sleepwalking)…
1. The Time Hoppers, Robert Silverberg (1967) (MY REVIEW)
Another overpopulation themed novel! From the few reviews I’ve read this pales in « Read the rest of this entry »
November 13, 2010 § 3 Comments
They Shall Have Stars (1956) is the first of James Blish’s famous Cities in Flight novels (note: the series was not released according to its internal chronology — the third volume, Earthman Come Home was published first in 1955). « Read the rest of this entry »