October 31, 2013 § 21 Comments
(Peter Goodfellow’s cover for the 1979 edition of The Moment of Eclipse (1970), Brian Aldiss)
Make sure to take a peek at Part I if you enjoyed this collection!
In Part I I described how I was inspired by Ed Valigursky’s stunning and powerful cover — with its giant eye, running figures, and perspective lines drawn across the artificial field heightening the tension — to look through my image collection and find similar examples. Since I made the last post I’ve collected quite a few more examples (from my own collection and image collections online) along similar lines.
Mitchell Hooks’ cover for the 1958 edition of The Big Eye (1949) by Max Ehrlich has long been one of my favorite covers and it has cropped up in various posts over the years…. The uncredited cover for the 1969 edition of The Cosmic Eye « 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.
October 7, 2012 § 8 Comments
(John Cayea’s cover for the 1974 edition)
Over the years I’ve deluded myself into becoming a John Brunner completest — around twenty-five of his novels line my shelves and I’ve read most of them over the years. At his best he’s without question one of the great masters of the genre — Stand on Zanzibar (1968), The Sheep Look Up (1972), etc. are evidence of this. However, in-between his social science fiction masterpieces are a plethora of unsatisfying attempts at traditionalist space opera. In these works Brunner never fully leaves his pulp roots although he occasionally tries to inject a dose of hard science, (pseudo) intellectualism, and social commentary.
Total Eclipse (1974) fits this mold. A group of scientists attempt to figure out the mystery of a highly advanced race which has apparently, died out. Character interactions are painfully silly along the “Oh heroic main character, you’re a genius let me jump into your bed” sort of « Read the rest of this entry »
Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXXIX (Priest + Brunner + Crowley + Wallace + Duncan)
September 29, 2012 § 14 Comments
Ah, what a delightful group! A few from my father, a few from Marx books which I hadn’t posted yet…. Priest and Crowley’s novels involve fascinating worldscapes — a world winched across the horizon, a world at the top of a pillar… Both are considered among the better stylists in science fiction and fantasy.
And, my 22nd (?) Brunner novel! The Stone That Never Came Down (1973) — from his glory period of the late 60s-early 70s (this period produced Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, Shockwave Rider, The Jagged Orbit).
And two more impulsive finds — Ian Wallace’s Croyd (1967) — a reader claimed it was one of the best sci-fi novels of the 60s, and thus due to my intense curiosity, I had to find a copy. And Dark Dominion (1954), I know little about David Duncan — he wrote only three sci-fi novels in the 50s. His work is described by SF encyclopedia as “quietly eloquent, inherently memorable, worth remarking upon.”
And the covers!
1. The Inverted World, Christopher Priest (1974)
(Jack Fargasso’s cover for the 1975 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Spacewomen of the Future (fixing spaceships + fighting aliens + charging across barren landscapes)
September 12, 2012 § 29 Comments
(Don Sibley’s cover for the November 1950 issue of Galaxy)
When we conjure the image of a 40s/50s science fiction pulp heroine we often imagine a character who has to be rescued by men from aliens, shrieks and clings to any man nearby, and is always in a state of undress. I’ve included one cover, for the sake of comparison, that I find to be an exemplar of this type of sexist (and racist) depiction below (Alex Schomburg’s cover for the January 1954 issue of Future Science Fiction): white woman wrapped in only a towel stalked by an evil alien obviously painted with African-American facial characteristics (heavy on the sexual predation vibe) — the reader is supposed to buy into the racial stereotypes and thus be titillated by the fear she must feel.
I’ve selected a wide range of mostly pulp magazine covers depicting spacewomen of the future (I’ve loosely decided that this means women in space, in spacesuits) that tend to buck the trend « Read the rest of this entry »
July 26, 2012 § 6 Comments
A mixture of a few clearance section novels from Austin bookstores (Chandler and Siodmak) and three recent purchases from a nice used bookstore (for science fiction) in my current town… I can’t wait to read another Leigh Brackett novel (one of the most renowned pulp sci-fi writers of the 50s) — I’ve only read her novels, The Big Jump (1955) and was pleasantly surprised.
One can never have too many Brunner novels (I have 21 at the moment and I’ve read a majority of them) — even average works from the early 80s….
And Wilson Tucker’s The Year of the Quiet Sun (1970) — yes, I generally dislike time travel, but I’ve yet to read one of his works so I might as well start with what is generally considered his best novel.
(*note: I include images of what I consider the best cover for the novel if it has multiple editions because I enjoy good examples of sci-fi art. I own perhaps half of the exact editions shown. A few readers have expressed confusion.)
1. The Long Tomorrow, Leigh Brackett (1955)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for « Read the rest of this entry »
Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVIII (Ace Doubles: Brunner, Dick, Delany, et al.)
May 1, 2012 § 10 Comments
I’m the proud new owner of four ace doubles in remarkable condition! And considering the general quality of many of the Ace doubles, I consider it quite the haul. The contents: two early pulp works (of rather dubious quality) by John Brunner (one under his pseudonym Keith Woodcott), one early Philip K. Dick novel, two early Samuel Delany novels, and an assortment of works by lesser known authors (Tom Purdom, Jack Sharkey, and Bruce W. Ronald). I will devour the Philip K. Dick and John Brunner works — yes, Brunner’s early works are terrible but I’m a Brunner completest which requires a high pain threshold for his pre-Stand On Zanzibar (1968) works.
1. Captives of the Flame/The Psionic Menace (1963), Samuel R. Delany, John Brunner (as Keith Woodcott)
(Cover by Jack Gaughan « Read the rest of this entry »
October 26, 2011 § 13 Comments
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1953 edition of Space, Space, Space (1953), ed. William Sloane)
Our science fiction heroes are often confronted by bleak alien landscapes adorned with rocks, vast deserts, adverse atmospheres — commonly these vistas are traversed, colonized, tamed… Spaceships touch down on virgin surfaces, the explorers tentatively step forward, aliens peer from the distance. When settlements are built the alien vista remains an ever present source of fear and fascination. The depiction of a convincingly bleak alien landscape (think Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune) can be of paramount importance in conveying not only otherworldliness but the backdrop for human drama and the challenges our heroes must overcome (by technology or other « Read the rest of this entry »
May 31, 2011 § 14 Comments
I promised not to buy any more books over the summer unless I ran out — alas, Memorial Day Sale at one of the best Half Price Books in the country (Austin) is a “bad” combination. I had to reduce my gigantic pile by half before I dared approach the buy counter….
I’m proud of this haul!
1. Hawksbill Station (1968), Robert Silverberg (MY REVIEW)
I’ve wanted to procure Hawksbill Station for quite a while — the premise is fantastic, five dangerous prisoners are held at Hawksbill Station located in the Cambrian era… One bizarre use of time travel! I hope Silverberg is at his best à la The World Inside and Downward to the Earth.
2. Master of Life and Death, Robert « Read the rest of this entry »