*preliminary note: I am on something of a semi-hiatus—PhD writing and the like. However, I have a Malzberg review of Scop (1976) nearly complete and might do a rundown of the SF I’ve been unable to review over the past few months in a more informal format (one paragraph reviews or something of that ilk)—Phillip Mann’s Wulfsyan (1990), M. John Harrison’s The Machine in Shaft Ten (1975), etc.
In my recent travels, I stopped in Nashville, Tennessee and picked up three of the four novels for under a dollar each. McIntyre’s novel is the sole Hugo Award Winner for best Novel between the years 1953 to 1990 I’ve not read. I should remedy that immediately as I’ve enjoyed her other work—for example, the novella “Screwtop” (1976).
Budrys’ novel actually sounds like I’d enjoy it despite my dislike of some of his work (and views)…. It certainly is my type of SF story concept-wise. The last Delany novel missing from my collection and everyone loves Wyndham and immortality SF, right?
1. Dreamsnake, Vonda N. McIntyre (1978)
(Stephen Alexander’s cover for the 1978 edition of Dreamsnake)
From the back cover of a later paperback edition: “The Healing Poison. They called the healer Snake, and she bore the name proudly, for the medicine she distilled from the venom of the viper she carried with her was a potent cure; and the soothing power of her other companion, the alien dreamsnake, banished fear. But the primitive ignorance of those she served killed her dreamsnake and wrecked her career—for dreamsnakes were dreadfully rare, and Center would not grant her another.
Snake’s only hope was to find a new dreamsnake—and on her quest, she was pursued by two implacable followers, one driven by love, one by need fear and need.”
2. Trouble with Lichen, John Wyndham (1960)
(Paul Giovanopoulos’ cover for the 1977 edition)
From the back cover: “You should live so long… It had been an inadvertant discovery for lovely Diana Bracklet as well as for Francis Saxover. Neither knew the other had perfected the antigerone, but both realized the dangers inherent in such a scientific breakthrough.
There could never be enough of that precious substance for everyone… and that was a secret that had to be kept at any cost. So Diana Brackley and Francis Saxover—each in his own own way—decided who would live forever. And they didn’t tell anybody. That seemed like a good solution. But only time will tell…”
3. The Balland of Beta-2 / Empire Star, Samuel R. Delany (1965/1966)
(David Meltzer’s cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “Empire Star and The Ballad of beta-2 are two of the finest short novels by one of the most talented writers in the Science Fiction field, a writer with a well-earned reputation for imagination and style.
In THE BALLAD OF BETA-2, Joneny, a student of galactic anthropology, is given the assignment of finding the meaning behind the ballad of a starship lost centuries before. In Delany’s hands, Joneny’s routine research project becomes a perilous quest of miraculous knowledge.
EMPIRE STAR is the the story of Comet Jo, the cat-bodied star-wanderer who meets, in his travels: the Lump, a half-alien, half-machine; Ni Ty Lee, the suicidal poet of the starts; the strange multiplex consciousness called Jewel… and the race of beings upon whose salvation rested the fate of civilization.”
4. Michaelmas, Algis J. Budrys (1976)
(Don Grautigam’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover: “MICHAELMAS BUILT DOMINO. DOMINO BUILT MICHAELMAS. TOGETHER THEY BUILT A WORLD.
Domino is not just a computer. He “is” all the world’s electronic data secretly linked, and through him the TV personality Laurent Michaelmas controls the news he is famous for reporting—until the day he and Domino discover they are not the only ones running the world!”