Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XX (Clifton + Aldiss + et al.)

Christmas giftcard expenditures continue…

An interesting collection of acquisitions — Clifton’s Eight Keys to Eden (1960) is considered, at least by the reviews I’ve found online, to be a little read classic — i.e. my kind of sci-fi novel.  Aldiss always has wonderful ideas and The Long Afternoon of Earth (variant title: Hothouse) is generally proclaimed one of his best — I’m still waiting for work which garners the same magic as his masterpiece Non-stop (variant title: Starship) (1958).

After reading Kornbluth’s masterful short story collection The Explorers (1953) I felt obligated to pick up a copy of one of the more famous Pohl + Kornbluth collaborations, Gladiator-In-Law (1954).

A few intriguing Malzberg stories in Future City (1973) compelled me to snatch one of his lesser known novels off of the shelf — In The Enclosure (1973) tells the story of an alien tortured by his human captives.  I find Malzberg’s relentlessly dark visions very appealing…  He has a HUGE catalog I’ve yet to read.

1. The Long Afternoon of Earth (variant title: Hothouse), Brian Aldiss (1962)

(Uncredited cover for the 1962 edition)

From the back cover (of a later edition), “The sun is dying.  It never rises, never sets, on an Earth that has long since ceased to spin.  Half the Earth is in perpetual shadow.  On the other half — where it is always afternoon — a handful of humans struggle for existence against a creeping green horror that has devoured all other animal life.  Men who have never seen the stars — less than insects on the planet they once ruled!”

2. Eight Keys to Eden, Mark Clifton (1960) (MY REVIEW)

(Ralph Brillhart’s cover for the 1962 edition)

From the back cover, “Eden.  An Earth colony eleven light years away in the black void of space was not answering the urgent signals of Communications from Earth.  The colonist were a tough, determined, disciplined group.  It was their job to colonize — they had been doing so for years — setting things up for other, less rugged groups to come, and then passing on to the next planet Earth assigned them to.  It was unthinkable that some person among them would not find a way to respond to Earth’s signals — unless something was very, very wrong indeed on Eden.”

3. Gladiator-At-Law, Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth (magazine 1954) (MY REVIEW)

(Richard Powers cover for the 1955 edition)

From the back cover (of a later edition), “Futureland U.S.A.  Where vicious youth gangs are enthralled by blood-circus spectaculars.  Where a dedicated crusader, a drug-inspired genius, a juvenile war lod and a reformed coward attempt to pull off the wildest liberation of all time.”

4. In The Enclosure, Barry N. Malzberg (1973) (MY REVIEW)

(Lila M. Culhane’s cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover, “Escape is all that Quir thinks about.  Escape from the enclosure on Earth.  Escape from the endless interrogations.  Quir’s memories have been burned out; all he knows is that he must give scientific data to humans whenever they ask for it.”

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10 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XX (Clifton + Aldiss + et al.)”

  1. Nice haul. After finishing Non-Stop, Hothouse is high on my want list. And I’m curious about how Gladiator-At-Law holds up; I liked The Space Merchants well enough (except for the protagonist) and was thinking about picking up more Pohl+Kornbluth novels.

    1. I LOVED Kornbluth’s solo story collection The Explorer — so dark and disturbing for the early 50s — often verging on condemnation of space travel!

      I read The Space Merchants too long ago to remember — I think I would appreciate the satire more at this point in my life i.e. a cynical grad student about to be confronted by the realities of the horrible economic environment the realities of politics (internal and external) relating to universities — hehe….

      1. I think Kornbluth was the stronger link in that pair… shame he died so young.

        I read Space Merchants right before getting into Philip K. Dick, and it reminds me of Dick’s early stuff… proto-PKD if you will.

  2. I’ve picked up a few Pohl and Kornbluth novels myself over the last few months. It really is fun to find potential treasures like this.

    Gotta say, “Eden” doesn’t look like the kind of planet I would want to be walking around naked in. 🙂

    1. Pohl is the weak link in my opinion…. But yes, Kornbluth’s short stories are plain amazing.

      Haha, I’d imagine that those crystals would be sharp! Ralph Brillhart isn’t the greatest artist — some of his works are laughably bad. That one is actually one of his best….

  3. I know the ISFDB lists the cover artist for Malzberg’s “In The Enclosure” as Lila M. Culhane, but is Culhane credited anywhere in or on the copy you have? When I compare the cover of “Enclosure” with the one other cover ISFDB credits Culhane for – Disch’s “334” – the styles are completely disimilar. But the style of the “Enclosure” cover is very much like other covers done by artist Davis Meltzer. Especially check out Andre Norton’s “Web of the Witch World” (Ace 1976), Clifford Simak’s “Time and Again” (Ace, date unknown), and H.G. Wells’ “When the Sleeper Wakes” (Ace, 1972). All these covers can be seen by searching for “Meltzer” at ISFDB.

    1. Let me go check…

      My copy definitely says “designed by Lila M. Culhane” — there are very few female sci-fi cover artists so I was excited when I found this one. Sadly she only made a few…. There’s no signature on the art itself….

    2. Unfortunately, the Meltzer list on ISFDB is incomplete — most of the ones you listed are not listed under Davis Meltzer….

      But yes, it definitely looks like Simak’s “Time and Again” cover…

      (When the Sleeper Wakes doesn’t come up under his name).

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