A mixture of a few clearance section novels from Austin bookstores (Chandler and Siodmak) and three recent purchases from a nice used bookstore (for science fiction) in my current town… I can’t wait to read another Leigh Brackett novel (one of the most renowned pulp sci-fi writers of the 50s) — I’ve only read her novels, The Big Jump (1955) and was pleasantly surprised.
One can never have too many Brunner novels (I have 21 at the moment and I’ve read a majority of them) — even average works from the early 80s….
And Wilson Tucker’s The Year of the Quiet Sun (1970) — yes, I generally dislike time travel, but I’ve yet to read one of his works so I might as well start with what is generally considered his best novel.
(*note: I include images of what I consider the best cover for the novel if it has multiple editions because I enjoy good examples of sci-fi art. I own perhaps half of the exact editions shown. A few readers have expressed confusion.)
1. The Long Tomorrow, Leigh Brackett (1955)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1962 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition: “No city, no town, no community of more than one thousands people or two hundred buildings to the square mile, shall be built or permitted to exist anywhere in the United States of America — Constitution of the United States, Thirtieth Amendment.
Two generations after the Destruction, rumors persisted about a secret desert hideaway where scientists worked with dangerous machines and wehre men plotted to revive the cities. Almost a continent away, Len Coulter hearted whisperings that fired his imaginations. Then one day he found a strange wooden box…”
2. The Year of the Quiet Sun, Wilson Tucker (1970)
(Diane and Leo Dillon’s cover for the 1970 edition)
From the inside flap of a later edition: “It was a top secret government project, its funds coming quietly from the Bureau of Standards, its orders directly from the President. The project’s goal was to survey the future. The survey would be made in person, by use of the newly-developed Time Displacement Vehicle. Three specially trained men would be sent to the year 2000, and they would return with invaluable data about the problems to be faced by the government in decades to come. It seemed almost routine at first. But when the survey team reached their target they found a savage land… and awesome world they may have made, and they had to wonder if any would return to tell about it.”
3. Players at the Game of People, John Brunner (1980)
(Bill Schmidt’s cover for the 1980 edition)
My earlier edition (unfortunately, possessing an egregious cover) only has an extremely lengthy blurb from the novel — no summary of the contents.
4. City in the Sky, Curt Siodmak (1974)
(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “DEATH SATELLITE. Pierre Bardou is a prisoner in space, an exile to an artificial satellite which functions as a political prison. This bizarre, forsaken prison has its own cruel and arbitrary rules. To make room for each incoming inmate another has to be executed. Bardou’s fellow prisoners are close to insanity when he comes up with a terrifying solution to their misery. He proposes that they “spacejack” International Space City — a much larger satellite resort for the rich and beautiful, built to serve as a political oasis for all the modern earth nations. The attempt works, but as frustrations mount and tempers seethe, Bardou’s fellow prisoners threaten holocaust to the ISC if their demands are not met. Soon ISC engineers, led by Lee Powers, retaliate, attacking the spacejackers with nitrous oxide. Violence erupts in an explosion more hideous than the mushroom from a hydrogen bomb.”
5. The Big Black Mark, A. Bertram Chandler (1975)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “The fabulous career of John Grimes from ensign in the Galactic Federation to admiral of the Rim Worlds has been chronicled over the years in dozens of gripping novels and short stories. But the pivotal account of Grimes’ career — the big black mark on his service record that forced him to change his loyalties — had never been recorded. DAW Books is proud to present that major novel of Frimes, the only character in all of space fiction with the scope and depth that Captain Hornblower achieved in the field of sea fiction. This then, in a full-length novel, is the key story of Commander Grimes and of the voyager of the Discovery — a spaceship which bore an uncanny kinship to a certain legendary vessel called the Bounty.”