Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. CXXII (Vance + Silverberg + Cooper + Zelazny)

Part I of II. Thankful to have a fiancé who takes my massive, alphabetized, master list of used SF to acquire and wades through the dusty shelves of used book stores (while on a trip home to visit her family)…  Here are some gems.  More Zelazny (short story collection!), another Silverberg collection (he holds the crown for author most reviewed on Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations), an unknown quantity by Cooper, and the final novel I needed to round out the Alastor Cluster “trilogy” by Jack Vance.

Thoughts on the purchases?  Have you read any of them?

1. The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories, Roger Zelazny (1971)

(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1974 edition)

From the back cover: “VISIONS.  Here are fifteen strange, beautiful stories covering the full spectrum of Roger Zelazny’s remarkable talents.  He has a rare ability to mix the dream-like, disturbing imagery of fantasy with the real-life hardware of science fiction.  His vivid imagination and fine prose have made him one of the most highly acclaimed writers in his field.  Twice he has won the Nebula award, and twice the Hugo award, for excellence in novels and short fiction.  Zelazny is a unique, dazzling talent; his visions of the future, of other worlds and of other realities are, by turns, enchanting and disturbing, and always memorable.”

2. The Overman Culture, Edmund Cooper (1971)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “Michael is a ‘fragile’ boy—one of a seemingly small number of children who grow tired when they run, who bleed when they are hurt, who can’t take off their heads… As the fragile children discover each other, probe in the moldering ruins of London, and try to interpret what they find, they come to the conclusion that they have been created by some super-scientist, as guinea pigs for an experiment.  And what happens if the guinea pigs turn on their creator—one the Overman of the legend they all know?  They may be destroyed.  They may be set free.  They may escape.  And who or what are the others, the ‘drybones’ who do not bleed, who can take off their heads?  Edmund Cooper has secrets he can hide as well from you as from the fragiles…”

3. Trullion : Alastor 2262, Jack Vance (1973)

(Gene Szafran’s cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “TRULLION—World 2262 of the Alastor Cluster—was a beautiful waterworld, a world of fens, mists, idyllic islands scattered in an aquatic setting of surpassing beauty with its shaggy trees like bursts of great chrysanthemums, its natural growth of fruits and all the richness the clear oceans provided for the easy taking.  The Trill were a lackadaisical, easy-living race—except for the planetwide game of hassade when a ferocious instinct for gambling drove them to risk all—home, friends, family, even life itself—on the teams that contested the water checker-board gaming fields.”

4. Valley Beyond Time, Robert Silverberg (1973)

(Uncredited cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “WALLYE BEYOND TIME.  FOUR SHATTERING EXCURSIONS OUT OF THIS WORLD, INTO THE FUTURE AND BEYOND THE FURTHEST REACHES OF IMAGINATION —where men are but flies to gods unknown, where weapons that don’t exist kill, where honor can be the deadliest of virtues and where man lives in terror of ever-encroaching youth.”

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21 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. CXXII (Vance + Silverberg + Cooper + Zelazny)”

    1. I enjoy Zelazny as well. Especially This Immortal. Have you read it? (known more for being the novel that co-won the Hugo award with Dune rather than its own, very unusual, merits).

      1. It’s a much shorter,more compact,readable and exquisitely prosed novel than “Dune”,despite it’s self conscious flaws.It was then called,”And Call Me Conrad”,which started as a novella,as you know.I imagine that version as being better.

      2. I love Dune. I love it because it takes space opera and makes it intelligently complex, makes it layered (shifting perspectives), invents other texts that weave in and out of the narrative, creates depth of his world’s history/myth, etc.

  1. Another fine haul you have there Joachim, you’re a lucky man to have such an understanding and thoughtful partner. I’m rather jealous of your copy of Overman, that Lehr cover is absolutely stunning and far better than my somewhat lacklustre hardback version. All the best.

      1. I’m glad to hear the book buying is mutual. I read Overman some time ago now but remember it being a good, if slightly dated take on the concepts of childhood, knowledge and the dangers of creativity.

        My copy is the gently psychedelic 1973 SF Book Club version here;

        I have to admit that despite your stunning Lehr cover, I’m still a sucker for the fabulously dated typography used on this version. Keep up the good work Joachim.

  2. I think Trullion is the best of the three Alastor books, it generates a real feeling of menace, and effectively portrays an unstable multicultural society on the brink of some kind of change.

    And the Jones cover on the Zelazny is great.

    1. Considering I enjoyed Wyst and thought that Marune was readable (yet not amazing) I look forward to finishing the trilogy on a high note!

      Usually not a fan of Jones (mostly the sword and fantasy covers he churned out) but that one has a certain appeal.

  3. My thoughts are this: you’ve found a great future bride there!!! How cool that she did this.

    Like the covers on the first three. Lehr is always great, and the Jones cover is really nice. I was just looking at some Jeffrey Jones artwork recently. He really was talented.

    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, the fourth cover appears to be a manipulated photograph — there were tons of those type of covers in the 70s — in conjunction to Powers, Jones, Lehr, etc. They are often more intriguing than that one…

  4. You’re a lucky man 😉 Silverberg, Vance, and Zelazny, nice haul! That looks like a solid Zelazny collection too, with “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” and “The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth.” Vance is Vance; I’m planning to read/re-read all the Alastor books this year. Can’t comment on Cooper so I’m interested in your review there.

    I wouldn’t hold your expectations as high for the Silverberg though, that’s mostly stories he wrote for “I can’t believe it’s not Planet Stories” digest mags. Literally, Larry Shaw came to him and asked if he’d write short novels in the same vein as Planet and Thrilling Wonder, the pulp magazines which had folded a few years earlier. I liked some of them (“Spacerogue” was entertaining) but they felt more a homage to what he read as young man and don’t really correlate to his 1970s works, so I’m not sure they’re as up your alley.

    1. Yup, they are definitely all 50s pulp (and I have not been a fan of some of his pulp in the past). Although, sometimes his pulp short stories have some inklings of his later greatness — not so much his 50s/early 60s novels (or at least the ones I’ve read).

      I enjoyed Wyst immensely. Marune was lacking but definitely enjoyable. So, I am very excited about reading Trullion.

  5. One of the things I really like about your blog is the chance to revisit from a different perspective books I sometimes still have, and sometimes acquired when they first came out, but are now nonetheless somewhat distant in memory. Overman Culture is a good example. I haven’t read it in a very, very, very, very long time, but I remember the general outline quite well, as I do another Edmund Cooper book, Seahorse in the Sky. In some way books like Cooper’s, and a few others like Garry Kilworth’s Night of Kadar, served to influence my own writing in some subtle way.

  6. Seahorse in the Sky was one of my favourite books by Cooper. As was Transit, which was quite similar in theme. I’m sure I read The Overman Culture but remember almost nothing about it now…
    The Zelazny was great when I read it; don’t know how it’s aged.
    The Vance is one of my favourites of his and was the 1st of the Alastor books to come out. I still have that cover, and the re-issue by DAW with a cover that matched the art on the other two books when they published them. Not read any of the set for years; might be time to re-visit them!

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