August 23, 2013 § 19 Comments
Unlike other acquisition posts where I post the most palatable finds from the shelves of a local used book store, this one contains books that I have wanted to own for a long time and finally gave in and bought online — more Kit Reed (after her wonderful collection 1967 Mister Da V. which I recently reviewed), a novel by one of the great (and underread and probably underrated) SF satirists — John T. Sladek — of the 60s/70s, Piers Anthony’s early New Wave experimental work, and Vondra N. McIntrye’s first novel.
A quick non-scientific poll of my fellow reviewers on twitter (if you are so inclined, follow me!) showed that few had read Sladek’s work recently… Is it time for a mini-Renaissance of his works?
Some fun covers, great authors — these will be read soon…. Unlike the other 300+ works in my too read pile.
1. The Reproductive System (variant title: Mechasm), John T. Sladek (1968)
(Leo and Diane Dillon’s cover for the « Read the rest of this entry »
August 20, 2013 § 10 Comments
(Brian Lewis’ cover for the July 1960 edition of New Worlds Science Fiction)
Brian Lewis’ fantastic cover for the July 1960 edition of New Worlds Science Fiction (if there’s a single magazine I desperately want to collect it’s this one…) depicts a futuristic radar dish (alien or human?) with a surrealist touch. I’ve included a wide range of different SF takes on radar dishes and telescopes – including what I assume is a Hubble-like space telescope on A. Leslie Ross’ cover for the July 1952 issue of Future Science Fiction. But there’s a chance that Ross’ telescope is on the Earth’s surface — the cluttered, confused, and rather hasty cover is rather hard to figure out (evil string creatures?).
The futuristic telescope (or radar dish) is a tantalizing image of humankind « Read the rest of this entry »
August 14, 2013 § 28 Comments
(Uncredited cover for the 1964 edition)
Before Robert Silverberg wrote his late 60s and early 70s New Wave masterpieces (A Time of Changes, Dying Inside, The World Inside, etc), he produced a vast quantity of pulp science fiction novels and short stories. Godling, Go Home! (1964) is a surprisingly solid collection of 50s shorts that can, at times, be surprisingly meditative (on death, exploration, civilization). That said, expect rather naive messages — à la ”we travel in space because we can!” or “Alien contact requires out-of-the-box thinking” — grafted onto a by the numbers pulp plot.
A fun collection — recommended for fans of slightly more intelligent than normal pulp SF, Silverberg completes, and 50s SF. ”Godling, Go Home!” (1957), “Why?” (1957), and « Read the rest of this entry »
Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Statue of Liberty on Pre-1968 Magazine and Novel Covers, Part II
August 8, 2013 § 13 Comments
(Richard Weaver’s cover for the 1968 edition of The Monitors (1966), Keith Laumer)
Here’s an evocative collection of SF Statue of Liberty covers from before and after WWII…
Make sure to take a peek at Part I if you have not already. In Part I, I discussed the rationale for my dating restriction i.e. covers on the theme published pre-1968. After Franklin J. Schaffner’s movie Planet of the Apes (1968) became a cultural phenomena, multiple covers paid homage to the famous scene in the film. Hopefully, by examining the ten covers I’ve found depicting the Statue of Liberty from before the movie was released — often in scenes similar to the iconic one in Planet of the Apes (Part I contains a comparison) – the purposeful reference to earlier magazine art is clear…
The Statue of Liberty was not only deployed in some post-apocalyptical « Read the rest of this entry »
August 6, 2013 § 17 Comments
(Chris Moore’s cover for the 1981 edition)
Unfortunate title aside (“darkling” sound like a small evil creature in a work of fantasy), Ben Bova’s As on a Darkling Plain (1972) is a middling fix-up novel in every respect. It is worth noting that Chapters 5 (‘The Jupiter Mission’) and 6 (‘The Sirius Mission’), which comprise a great majority of the novel, appeared earlier in If February 1970 and Galaxy January 1969 as “Pressure Vessel” and “Foeman, Where Do You Flee?” respectively. I’m not sure how much was expanded or subtracted. If anyone knows please leave a comment — I find that the act of revising earlier work interesting in itself.
August 3, 2013 § 53 Comments
(Leo and Diane Dillon’s cover for the 1974 edition)
4.25/5 (collated rating: Good)
Ellison’s stories punch where it hurts. Approaching Oblivion (1974) is filled with transfixing tales about violent future racism (“Knox”), humanity’s last moments (“Kiss of Fire”), the desperate desire to change one’s own past (“One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty”), a last rebel against the militarizing system (“Silent in Gehanna”), and familial rivalry within a vast arcology (“Catman”), etc…
They are terrifying and vicious, immersive and gut-wrenching, and span from baroque far future speculations to near future warnings. Above all, they are well-written and intelligent. Many are infused with (pseudo) autobiographical content and lament the societal ills « Read the rest of this entry »
Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Future Archaeology and Mysterious Artifacts (Alien + Human)
August 1, 2013 § 21 Comments
(Hannes Bok’s cover for the Space Science Fiction [UK], Volume 1 No. 4 (1953), ed. unlisted)
A spaceship arrives on Mars… After a cursory initial exploration, the human astronauts conclude that the planet has always been barren and uninhabited. But in some chasm or scattered in desolate plain, a column is found, and rows of mysterious buildings, and a pulsating crystal… An abandoned outpost of an alien society? Or, Earth’s mysterious forebearers… Summaries such as this one proliferate the dusty SF paperbacks on back shelves of used book stores and the closets of SF fans — the variations are countless.
Queue my cover art theme: The future discovery of mysterious ruins/artifacts « Read the rest of this entry »
July 19, 2013 § 5 Comments
(Uncredited cover for the 1967 edition)
4.25/5 (collated rating: Good)
Kit Reed has been publishing literary, thought-provoking, and darkly satirical sci-fi + speculative fiction + non-genre fiction since the late 50s… And she is still going strong — her most recent novel Son of Destruction (2012) came out last year. Reed’s collection Mister Da V. and Other Stories (1967) contains three stories from the late 50s including her first published work, ‘The Wait’ (variant title: ‘To be Taken to a Strange Country’) (1958) and ten others from the 60s. A few of the stories in the collection are not overtly science fiction — regardless, one could argue that all but ‘I am Through with Bus Trips’ (1967) contain speculative and/or sci-fi elements.
There are superficial differences between the 1967 Faber and Faber edition and the 1973 Berkley Medallion edition. Because I own the Berkley paperback I’ve gone ahead and followed its chronological story order and page numbers.
A few of the themes/topics of the volume: Paranoia. Post-apocalyptic Landscapes. Youth « Read the rest of this entry »