Tag Archives: Short stories

Book Review: The Worlds of Frank Herbert, Frank Herbert (1970)

(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

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CX (Kornbluth + Pohl + Cowper + Hersey + Asimov anthology of short SF)

A nice batch—some more from the $1 hardback sale at my local bookstore, one procured via abebooks, and one from a friend.  I grabbed Cowper’s The Road to Corlay (1978) after seeing two solid reviews from my friends at Speculiction… [review here] and Porpourri of Science Fiction Literature [review here].  I enjoyed Cowper’s later  novel Profundis (1979).

I had no idea the Pulitzer-winning writer and journalist John Hersey from dystopic SF allegories…

And, a collection of early work from the fruitful partnership of Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth…  With a gorgeous Richard Powers cover!

I’ve always enjoyed really short SF stories so I look forward to devouring Asimov and Conklin collection (perhaps in stages due to its length).

Enjoy the covers!

Thoughts?

1. The Wonder Effect, C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl (1962)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: Three Novels (variant title: Natural State and Other Short Stories), Damon Knight (1967)

(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

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CVII (Anthology: Galactic Empires, vol 1 and 2 + Holdstock + Watson)

Snatched all but one of these up at a 1$ SF hardback clearance sale at my local bookstore.  The other, Watson’s The Jonah Kit (1976) came via The Dawn Treader Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI.

I am not usually interested in Galactic Empires but the collection seems to have some intriguing short authors—for example, Lafferty, Davidson, Shaara, etc whose works I have no been that exposed to.  I look forward to slowly working my way through both volumes.

I also acquired my first Robert Holdstock novel, Where Time Winds Blow (1981).  Seems intriguing.

My schedule has finally calmed down a little so expect a slew of book reviews in the coming days/weeks…

Thoughts?

1. Galactic Empires, Volume I, ed. Brian Aldiss (1976)

GLCTCMPRSV1978

(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1978 edition) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CVI (Malzberg + Laumer + Sargent + Russell)

A few more wonderful acquisitions from my pilgrimage to Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, MI from month or so ago.

More Malzberg!  And thankfully, one of the few really solid covers to grace his extensive oeuvre.  I read Sargent’s novel Cloned Lives (1976) recently and was disappointed.  Hopefully her short story collection Starshadows (1977) is more my cup of tea.

A 50s “classic” by Erin Frank Russell…

And a collection of short works on time travel by Keith Laumer….  Could not resist the early Di Fate cover which I have featured in art posts before.

Thoughts?

1. Timetracks, Keith Laumer (1972)

(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: The Very Slow Time Machine, Ian Watson (1979)

VRYSLWTM19XX

(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1979 edition)

4.5/5 (Very Good)

My first exposure to Ian Watson’s extensive SF catalog could not have been more impressive.  The Very Slow Time Machine (1979) is up there with Robert Sheckley’s Store of Infinity (1960) and J. G. Ballard’s Billenium (1962) as the best overall collection of stories that I have encountered in the history of this site.

The collection is filled with narrative experimentation (“Programmed Loved Story,” “Agoraphobia, A.D. 2000,” etc), some awe inspiring ideas (“The Very Slow Time Machine,” “The Girl Who Was Art” etc.), a few delightful allegories (“Our Loves So Truly Meridional,” “My Soul Swims in a Goldfish Bowl”), and a handful of more traditional SF stories that hint at anthropological Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CV (Russ + Spinrad + Malzberg + Kornbluth)

Dawn Treader bookstore haul part II [part I]!  A batch of my favorite authors: Norman Spinrad, Joanna Russ, Barry N. Malzberg, and C. M. Kornbluth.  Two novels and two short story collections!

…and some fun covers.

Thoughts?

1. No Direction Home, Norman Spinrad (1975)

(Charles Moll’s cover for the 1975 edition)

From the back cover: “A GHASTLY WORLD… AN ULTIMATE ORGASM… A COSMIC NIGHTMARE… Bone-chilling, mind-shattering science fiction that will take you Continue reading

Guest Post: Catacomb Years, Michael Bishop (1979)

CTCMBYRS5E1979

(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1979 edition)

The eighth (!) installment in my Michael Bishop Guest post series comes via my long time fellow SF blogger/friend (well, multiple years) 2theD (twitter:@SFPotPourri) at PotPourri of Science Fiction Literature.  And this is a darn good linked collection of Bishop stories.

I highly recommend you check out 2theD’s blog, follow him on twitter, peruse his large collection of reviews…

michael bishop,header,02

All cities are built on voiceless narratives

Collated rating: 5/5

Buying Michael Bishop’s Catacomb Years was a wise investment, albeit an impulse buy at the second-hand bookstore. This is the only Bishop novel, or collection, I own. Originally, it was going to stay stacked in my to-be-read pile for 3-4 years in the future (hey, I have a lot of catching up to do in my library) but the alluring cover proved  too much… that and Joachim Boaz manhandled me from 8,700 miles away into reading it for his collection of guest posts on the work of Michael Bishop.

You’d be a dullard if you weren’t initially struck by either the premise or the cover art: As history barrels forward in a the manner of a drunkard, American cities like Atlanta eventually cap themselves in domes under the idea of Preemptive Isolation, only to suffer the pangs of dying from its onset Continue reading

Guest Post: Brighten to Incandescence (selections), Michael Bishop (2003)

(Jamie Bishop’s cover for the 2003 edition)

The fourth installment of my The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop guest post series was written by MPorcius (twitter: @hankbukowsi) at MPorcius Fiction Log—a valued and longtime commentator on my site.  I have procured quite a few books due to his quality reviews which I highly recommend perusing.  Check out his site (especially if you like classic SF)!

Over the course of this series we moved from Michael Bishop’s most well known novella (“Death and Designation Among the Asadi“) to his novels (Brittle Innings, No Enemy but Time) and now to an intriguing collection of lesser known short SF and non-genre stories.

MPorcius decided to only focus on the SF in Brighten to Incandescence but points out that all the stories in the collection are worth reading!

Enjoy!

~~~

michael bishop,header,02

Brighten to Incandescence (2003) — Michael Bishop

Brighten to Incandescence, published by Golden Gryphon Press in 2003, is Michael Bishop’s seventh collection of stories. In the final chapter of the book, a series of notes on the stories, Bishop explains that he and the people at Golden Gryphon initially were thinking of putting out a Best Of volume, then decided to publish a collection of previously uncollected pieces instead. What we have in Brighten to Incandescence, then, are 17 stories, many of which were passed over for inclusion in previous collections for years or even decades; these stories probably do not represent Bishop’s best or most salable work.

Happily, the stories are all worth Continue reading