June 16, 2013 § 10 Comments
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1965 edition)
3.75/5 (collated rating: Good)
Time and Stars (1964) is a wonderful collection of short works by one of the greats, Poul Anderson. Anderson is best known for hard science fiction novels such as Tau Zero (1970) as well as fast paced pulp adventures exemplified by his Dominic Flandry (à la James Bond in space) sequence which he started in the 50s.
Only one of the six shorts in the collection was subpar — ‘Escape from Orbit’ (1962) – which did not rise above the traditional we need to rescue some stranded astronauts plot. All the others — for example, Hugo winning novella and well-told tale of a balkanized American Pacific coast ‘No Truce of Kings’ (1963), the fantastic evolved mechanical life forms in ‘Epilogue’ (1962), and the wit of ‘The Critique of Impure Reason’ (1962) — make the collection worthwhile for fans of classic science fiction (and obviously, fans of Poul Anderson). The novella ‘Epilogue’ is the best of Anderson’s works « Read the rest of this entry »
June 5, 2013 § 21 Comments
Gifts! From my fiancé!
Four more wonderful books… I can’t wait to read J. G. Ballard’s The Burning World (1964) and Poul Anderson’s short story collection Time and Stars (1964)… Ballard is a genius and Anderson is a solid writer who always produced fun plot-driven works (I suspect his Hugo nominated There Will Be Time (1973) will be similar). Also, despite my general frustration with Clifford D. Simak’s ouvre, I’m intrigued by Why Call Them Back From Heaven? (1967)….
Enjoy the two Powers covers!
1. The Burning World, J. G. Ballard (1964)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1964 first edition) « Read the rest of this entry »
Book Review: The People Trap (full title: The People Trap and other Pitfalls, Snares, Devices, Delusions, as Well as Two Sniggles and a Contrivance), Robert Sheckley (1968)
May 28, 2013 § 4 Comments
(Photo Media’s cover for the 1968 edition)
4/5 (collated rating: Good)
Although Robert Sheckley’s collection The People Trap (1968) does not approach the heights of Store of Infinity (1960), there are plenty of gems and the overall quality should compel any fan of satirical 50s/60s science fiction to find a copy. Sheckley’s stories are characterized by delightful wit (despite serious themes such as the effects of colonization, technology, and nuclear disaster), surprising twist-endings, a penchant for intellectual mind-games (especially his 60s stories), and often hilariously hapless « Read the rest of this entry »
Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. LXV (Spinrad + Coney + Cummings + an anthology containing short stories by Pohl, Knight, Aldiss, et al.)
May 26, 2013 § 7 Comments
My first book from the 80s in many a year! But, I’m on a Norman Spinrad kick so when I saw it for one dollar at the store I had to snatch it up his post-apocalyptical vision Songs from the Stars (180)…. The premise is rather hokey but perhaps a quality writer like Spinrad can imbue it with some vigor.
I’m most excited about The Ninth Galaxy Reader, ed. Frederik Pohl (1966) (twelve short stories from the Galaxy Magazine) due the top-quality author line-up — Brian W. Aldiss, John Brunner, Richard Wilson, Damon Knight, Philip Kose farmer, Harry Harrison, Frederik Pohl, Lester Del Rey, Roger Zelazny, C. C. MacApp, Larry Niven, and R. A. Lafferty….
1. Songs from the Stars, Norman Spinrad (1980)
(Uncredited cover for the 1982 « Read the rest of this entry »
May 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition)
2.75/5 (Vaguely Average)
Recently I procured a handful of Daniel F. Galouye’s novels (here) for a few dollars on ebay because I enjoyed his first novel Dark Universe (1961), which is an underread/underrated classic of the early 60s. In an effort to rekindle public interest in Galouye’s small ouvre (he died at 54 due to war injuries and was unable to write much in the last ten years of his life), he received the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award in 2007. Unfortunately, Galouye’s fast-paced sci-fi thriller A Scourge of Screamers (variant title: The Lost Perception) does not measure up to the claustrophobic and well-plotted social rumination (with a good dose of action) that is Dark Universe.
The most redeeming feature is Paul Lehr’s harrowing depiction of mental anguish « Read the rest of this entry »
May 16, 2013 § 17 Comments
(Uncredited cover for the 1970 edition of When Two Worlds Meet (1970), Robert Moore Williams)
A while ago I put together a post on the theme of Models, Dolls, and Mannequins in cover art. Little did I know that Curtis Books (a rather minor publisher of generally minor authors) and Born, a Dutch imprint, used a substantial number of cover compositions comprised of manipulated photographs/collages etc of plastic toy spacemen in unusual alien environments. Also, a few more major publishers/magazines — Four Square Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction Science Fact — had their own take on the theme.
I find these covers very charming and fun (sort of like a science fiction B-film from the 50s) — not necessarily artistic masterpieces. They certainly evoke childhood games with toy figurines — perhaps placed in the lawn or sandbox or amongst the grass. I’ve included a few from my previous post and another can be found in my post « Read the rest of this entry »
May 2, 2013 § 27 Comments
A new bookstore in my hometown! Great results! Dirt cheap (between 1-2 $ a book)! Happy me!
I finally have a copy of Hal Clement’s hard science fiction masterpiece, Mission of Gravity (1953)… And a collection of William Tenn’s short stories with a downright gorgeous Powers cover — Tenn is supposedly up there with Sheckley in the satirical pantheon of the 50s… Among others…
Has anyone read Michael Frayn’s A Very Private Live (1968)? I’ve never heard of it before but the Lehr cover was too amazing to pass up…
1. The Human Angle, William Tenn (1956)
(Robert Powers’ cover for the 1956 edition)
From the inside flap: “WIT: an extra-terrestrial sells pornographic literature « Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2013 § 6 Comments
(Arthur Hawkins’ cover for the 1959 edition of Skyport (1959), Curt Siodmak)
Part II of my series on cover art depicting space stations (Part I). Here are vast assortment of primarily Alex Schomburg and Vincent Di Fate’s artwork — they did love their space stations. But, I think my favorite is by far Arthur Hawkins’ cover for the 1959 edition of Curt Siodmak’s Skyport (1959) — the author is of course famous for the novel Donovan’s Brain (1942). The delightful color scheme, the 50s aesthetic, the vague indication of continents below, the cluster of « Read the rest of this entry »
April 8, 2013 § 19 Comments
On the cross, a future prophet (or false one)? A martyr for a lost cause? Or, some future priestly emissary of the Catholic church dispensing law on those gathered…. Perhaps some transformation of man to a godly state all hallowed and arrayed with religious accouterments of faith? I’ve gathered a fun collection of science fiction prophets mostly decked out / depicted in distinctly Christian style.
My favorite is Robert Foster’s cover for the 1970 edition of Behold the Man (1969) by Michael Moorcock…. And Gray Morrow’s cover for the 1970 edition of This Immortal (variant title: And Call Me Conrad) (1965) contains a fascinating color scheme — although there isn’t any mold on the figure’s face as Zelazny « Read the rest of this entry »