March 4, 2014 § 14 Comments
I must confess, I’ve never read an Octavia Butler novel… I now own one and will read it soon. More Ballard! More Brunner (a review of his 1969 masterpiece The Jagged Orbit is coming soon)! And a complete mystery, I mean, who besides Tarbandu over at The PorPor Books Blog has read Newton and the Quasi-Apple (1975) by Stanley Schmidt?
1. The Voices of Time, J. G. Ballard (1962)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
March 2, 2014 § 16 Comments
(Uncredited cover for the 1978 edition)
Nominated for the 1972 Nebula Award for Best Novel
The grayness swirled and became solid, a plain that was featureless at first, then with grotesque shapes emerging from it, obviously things growing, but things that shouldn’t have been. They looked like monstrous scabs, like leprous fingers curled obscenely in an attitude of prayer, like parts of bodies covered with a fungus or mold, misshapen and horrible” (73).
Margaret and I (1971) is a profoundly unsettling and hallucinatory exploration of a woman’s sexual and emotional self-realization. Or, to use the Jungian terms deployed by Wilhelm in her preliminary quotation, the novel charts the process of individuation where the conscious and unconscious “learn to know, respect and accommodate « Read the rest of this entry »
Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Visualizing Time, Part II (time travel + sundials + the decay of eternity + time portals)
March 1, 2014 § 11 Comments
(Walter Popp’s cover for the 1953 issue of Fantastic Story Magazine, ed. Samuel Mines)
It has been along time since I cobbled together a cover art post…
…but it’s a good one!
This is Part II of my Visualizing Time sequence—if you haven’t seen it already check out Part I. And in Part II we have a standoff across time with your primitive ancestors, decay and the hourglass, rewriting America’s racist past, the sundial as an arena for an epic showdown with an alien, jumping through cave paintings (a metaphor « Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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.
1. Kampus, James E. Gunn (1977)
(Bob Larkin’s cover for the 1977 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
February 15, 2014 § 13 Comments
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1976 edition)
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 »
February 8, 2014 § 14 Comments
(Murray Tinkleman’s cover for the 1979 edition)
John Brunner has long been one of my favorite SF authors and it almost pains me to review dismal disasters like Double, Double (1969). I find it mind-boggling that an author who produced the otherworldly Stand on Zanzibar (1968) can turn around and release Double, Double the very next year. Yes, yes I know, even brilliant SF authors such as Robert Silverberg churned out a vast and bizarre variety of sex/smut books to make ends meet (and buy a mansion) under such names as L.T. Woodward MD (Virgin Wives, Sex in our Schools, etc) and Don Elliot (Cousin Lover, Gang Girl, Gay Girl, The Instructor, etc) so I really should not complain….
Double, Double contains the most rudimentary clichéd premise and a plot used in countless 50s B-movies. At moments it feels like Brunner wanted to transform the plot into a vehicle for social commentary. However, at these crucial junctures where Brunner could have used his profusion of strange disparate characters gathered together in the English countryside to comment on the state of English society « Read the rest of this entry »
January 31, 2014 § 32 Comments
One of the better groups of acquisitions in a while! After Katherine MacLean’s masterpiece Missing Man (1975) I was very excited to come across a collection of her late 40s and 50s short stories. Unfortunately, my edition — from 1973— had such an awful cover that I couldn’t put in on this post. Instead, I put the first edition cover by Paul Lehr which is simply gorgeous….
Ballard collections are always welcome! I have all of his short works in a single volume but the Powers cover is top-notch.
One of Ian Watson’s most famous novels…
And an unknown work by Brian Aldiss, Enemies of the System (1978)… Has anyone read it? I suspect it will be the weakest book of the bunch.
1. The Diploids, Katherine MacLean (1962)
(Uncredited — but looks like Lehr — cover for the 1962 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
January 26, 2014 § 8 Comments
(Blanchard’s cover for the 1960 edition)
4/5 (collated rating: Good)
Blanchard’s abstract vaginal cover for the 1960 first edition of Philip José Farmer’s Strange Relations (1960) hints, just obliquely enough to avoid being explicit, at the collection’s radical and groundbreaking contents. Nothing else existed like this from the 50s! Having exploded onto the scene with the “transgressive” (SF encyclopedia) novella “The Lovers” (1953) (later expanded to novel length), Strange Relations (1960) collects a further five short works from the mid-50s and later on similar themes — theology, sex, xenobiology, Freud, and social satire.
Each work revolves around a particular Freudian scenario, a Freudian fantasy. One can imagine that authors such as Barry N. Malzberg « Read the rest of this entry »