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 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 »
January 25, 2014 § 14 Comments
More Dallas, TX Half Price Book finds… and a few gifts from 2theD at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature (found on one of his infrequent trips to the states).
Can’t wait to tackle the Ian Watson collection — Ian Sales has characterized him one of the treasure of the British SF (I’ll post a book of his in the coming weeks). Wilhelm’s extensive reputation seems to be based mostly on her Hugo-winning fix-up novel, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976). It’s unfortunate that few read her other novels and short story collections. The Nebula-nominated Margaret and I (1971) is a welcome edition to my collection.
I’ve not had success with Philip José Farmer in the past—To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971) might be the worst novel to win a Hugo—but the collection of 50s novelettes Strange Relations (1960) was too good to pass up.
And finally, my find of the holiday break, a SIGNED (with personal note) copy of Edward Bryant’s collection Cinnabar (1976)! For a mere two dollars (incorrectly placed in the non-signed SF books)….
1. The Very Slow Time Machine, Ian Watson (1979)
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1979 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
January 15, 2014 § 12 Comments
(Uncredited cover for the 1963 edition of The Changeling Worlds (1959), Kenneth Bulmer)
Vincent Di Fate is the master of space station art. They are hyper realistic and detailed. Although I definitely prefer his earlier surrealist work (for example, here) there is a certain appeal to more technical depictions of future space technology. However, my favorite of the handful Di Fate pieces I cobbled together is his for the 1975 edition of The Other Side of Tomorrow (1973)—the screens are windows into the future, and a space station is featured prominently. I sort of enjoy Bob Eggleton’s cover for the 1993 Italian edition of To Open the Sky (1967) as well—although I suspect the cover was published on an English language book earlier, « Read the rest of this entry »
January 5, 2014 § 18 Comments
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1972 edition)
*The 1980 edition, still under the title Yesterday’s Children, was substantially rewritten. In 1985 David Gerrold released it under a new title, Starhunt. This is a review for the original 1972 edition. I have not read the later rewrite so I am unsure how much was modified.
David Gerrold, best known for writing the famous Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” (1967), has continuously produced SF novels since the early 70s. I had previously read the disappointing Space Skimmer (1972) which combined a fascinating premise with puff-puppies, annoying princes, and bad poetry. Yesterday’s Children (1972) (variant title: Starhunt) likewise combines a fascinating premise with a less than satisfactory delivery, numerous narrative hiccups, and uneven tone and characterization. I am not surprised that the novel was rewritten due to the slightly rough « Read the rest of this entry »
December 29, 2013 § 15 Comments
A short story collection by an author I have termed Mr. Perpetually Average But Readable, Bob Shaw. I am interested in whether or not his visions are more concise/poignant in short story form. I suspect a book like One Million Tomorrows (1971) would have been amazing in short form, especially the disturbing portions that take place in Africa (the UN forcefully administering immortality treatment on people who do not want them)….
A Nebula award nominated novel by Marta Randall, Islands (1976)—immortality themed, seems (at first glance) to be on the allegorical side = I have high hopes.
More Brunner! (Despite his warning, I was influenced by a review over at Speculiction…. here) But then again, I am a Brunner completest…. And finally, a relatively unknown British SF novel, Implosion (1967) about a decreasing population. Despite words of warning from reviews like Ian Sales’ (here) I couldn’t resist the Vincent Di Fate cover.
1. Tomorrow Lies in Ambush, Bob Shaw (1973)
(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
December 26, 2013 § 3 Comments
(Stephen Hickman’s cover for the 1978 edition)
3.5/5 (collated rating: Good)
Like so many SF fans, my first exposure to Joan D. Vinge’s work was via her wonderful Hugo-winning novel The Snow Queen (1980). Eventually I found a copy of her first published novel, The Outcasts of Heaven Belt (1978), which had an intriguing premise but a less than satisfactory delivery (poor characterizations, pacing, etc). The collection Fireship (1978) is comprised of two novellas: the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated “Fireship” (1978) and one of her earlier works, “Mother and Child” (1975).
The title story is the lesser of the two despite its (dare I say dubious) award nominations. It’s a light-hearted and unchallenging proto-cyperpunk « Read the rest of this entry »