In my youth I read Ursula Le Guin like a madman—somewhere in the intervening years I misplaced my copies of her short story collections. So, while voyaging to a nearby city (with Half Price Books) I decided to snag one—The Compass Rose (1982) contains mostly 70s short stories. Excited.
I have been presently impressed with *some* of Philip José Farmer’s work—namely, Strange Relations (1960)—-so I could not resist a “best of” collection.
I am perhaps most excited about David Gerrold’s edited collection Generation: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction (1972). Contains a wide range (and almost equal ratio of male/female authors) of fascinating stories.
I bought C. M. MacApp’s Secret of the Sunless World (1969) due to the title and the amazing Berkey cover. Now that I sat down and transcribed the back cover I rather dissuaded from picking it up anytime soon…
1. The Book of Philip José Farmer, Philip José Farmer (revised 1982, 1973)
(James Warhola’s cover for the 1982 edition) Continue reading
Recent travels yield wonderful SF hauls—including one of the most famous post-apocalyptical novels of all time, George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides (1949). Thankfully my edition is graced with a gorgeous Lehr landscape—strange forms in the distances, crushed cars in the foreground.
The most famous SF anthology of all times—Ellison’s Dangerous Visions (1967). As a proponent of the New Wave movement it’s about time that I snagged a copy (disclaimer before the cries of derision: I have already read numerous stories contained in the anthology).
An early Holdstock novel (I might get to that one soon)….
And a shot in the dark—M. K. Joseph’s The Hole in the Zero (1967). John Clute (the noted SF critic) describes it such on SF Encyclopedia: it “begins as an apparently typical Space-Opera adventure into further dimensions at the edge of the Universe, but quickly reveals itself as a linguistically brilliant, complex exploration of the nature of the four personalities involved as they begin out of their own resources to shape the low-probability regions into which they have tumbled. Ultimately the novel takes on allegorical overtones. As an examination of the metaphorical potentials of sf language and subject matter, it is a significant contribution to the field.” Sounds intriguing to me…
1. Earth Abides, George R. Stewart (1949)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for Alien Horizons (1974), William F. Nolan)
I have been gathering this series of SF covers for a while—the human shape contorting, manipulated, transforming into in-human forms (trees, keys, insects, etc). Some are more metaphoric, for example Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1970 edition of A Century of Great Short Science Fiction Novels (1964). While a few are clearly aliens which look “human”—Charles Shield’s incredibly uncanny cover for the 1979 edition of Fireflood and Other Stories (1979) by Vonda N. McIntyre….
All hint at bigger mysteries, and seduce with their uncertain Continue reading
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1977 edition)
3.25/5 (Collated rating: Vaguely Good)
I have long been a fan of Frank Herbert. In my youth I scarfed down Dune (1965) and all its sequels and cried (metaphorically) when his son Brian Herbert made a mockery of his vision. I even read the more dubious novels in Herbert’s canon: from The Green Brain (1966) to the co-written (with Bill-Ransom) novels of the Pandora sequence i.e. The Jesus Incident (1979), The Lazarus Effect (1983), and The Ascension Factor (1988). I have found many of his non-Dune novels worth reading (Destination: Void (1966) and The Dosadi Experiment (1977), etc).
More recently I have started to read/review the handful of his novels I missed as a child—so far the solid and unexpectedly complex The Eyes of Heisenberg (1966) and the lesser Continue reading
(Richard Weaver’s cover for the 1972 edition of Dreadful Sanctuary (1948), Eric Frank Russell)
THE SKULL. The bones of the dead, the empty sockets gazing at us, a deathly gaze…. I have collected for your [horror filled] enjoyment a vast variety of SF skulls: the moon mutated into a skull, the half-skinned skull as part of mysterious contraptions, photographs of real human skulls interspersed with statuary and wigs, bizarre pink skulls pulsating with green radiation-esque Continue reading
(Alan Peckolick’s cover for the 1967 edition)
3/5 (Collated Rating: Average)
Damon Knight’s Beyond the Barrier (1964) was so egregious that I have stayed away from his work until recently. Around a year ago I acquired Three Novels (1969)—containing the two novellas “Rule Golden” (1954) and “Natural State” (1951) and one novelette “The Dying Man” (variant title: “Dio”) (1951)—in order to start my reappraisal of the supposed Grand Master of the genre. I have his collection Far Out (1961) and his novel A For Anything (variant title: The People Maker) (1959) on my shelf.
Although this selection of his 50s short fiction is far superior to Beyond the Barrier only one of the stories made any lasting impression: the philosophical and ruminative immortality themed tale, “The Dying Man.” With that in mind it might be worth tracking it down in another place of publication, for example the thematic multi-author collection Immortals (1998) ed. Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. There is a chance that the other two novellas in Three Novels will satisfy fans of Knight’s Continue reading
(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1970 edition of The Reproductive System (variant title: Mechasm) (1968), John Sladek)
It has been too long since I collated a cover art post… I have a love hate relationship with Josh Kirby’s work. He tends to be on the comedic side, for example, he provided covers for a large percentage of Ron Goulart’s DAW titles (The Wicked Cyborg, etc) and Prachett’s Discworld novels.
However, for a brief window of time in the 60s and 70s he produced some gorgeously surreal depictions of astronauts and and astronaut transformations. His cover for the 1970 edition of The Reproductive System (variant Continue reading