Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIII (Two themed anthologies: Election Day 2084 and TV: 2000 + Harrison + Gary)

Two themed anthologies—one in “honor” of the election [*cough* I mean, well, I won’t go all political] year cycle…  Another on one of my favorite SF themes, television of the future!

That said, both Asimov edited collections (from the 80s but with stories from only earlier decades) have a serious fault: out of the combined 35 stories there is not a single story by a woman author.  I’ve read a vast number of 60s/70s collections which do not fall into this trap…. Orbit 1 (1966) almost manages gender parity!  I can think of numerous stories by women authors that fit both themes.  For example, Kit Reed’s wonderful “At Central” (1967) fits the TV anthology!

A hard to find for cheap early M. John Harrison novel…. Unfortunately I only found a much uglier edition that the one I show below as the rest were out of my price range….

And, a complete shot in the dark—a SF novel by the mainstream French/Lithuanian novelist/screenwriter Romain Gary, the author of White Dog (1970)..

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts + comments.

1. The Committed Men, M. John Harrison (1971)

THCMMTTDMB1971-1

(Chris Yates’ cover for the 1971 edition)

From the back cover of a later with an altogether uglier edition (VGSF Classics, 1989): “In a bleak present-future Britain, mounting radiation levels brought about widespread deformity and a catastrophic collapse of society.  The crazed and cancered remnants of the population are bent upon stamping out abnormality with messianic zeal.  But those few who look beyond their own, doomed struggle for survival know that only a mutant version of mankind can survive in this poisoned environment.”

2. TV: 2000, ed. Isaac Asimov, Charles G. Waugh, and Martin H. Greenberg (1982)

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(Uncredited cover for the 1982 edition)

From the back cover: “WHO REALLY CONTROLS TELEVISION?  WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY CONTAIN?  HOW DOES IT AFFECT US? In this book, science fiction masters give us a fascinating picture of the awesome powers of television—and what it will be life in the future.  It includes such stories as:

‘NOW INHALE’ by Eric Frank Russell.  The government televises executions the way England conducted public hangings…

‘I SEE YOU’ by Damon Knight.  Viewers are suddenly able to tun in on their neighbors…

‘HOME TEAM ADVANTAGE’ by Jack C. Haldeman II.  Inter World Series; the winner gets to eat the loser…

‘MERCENARY’ by Mack Reynolds.  Live war action with soldiers getting fan mail…

Eighteen top stories [and not a single one by a women!] of a TV future that will chill your mind and set your spin tingling.  By America’s most celebrated science fiction writers…”

1. Election Day 2084: Science Fiction Stories About the Politics of the Future, ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg (1984)

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(Uncredited cover for the 1984 edition)

No back cover or inside flap blurb.  But, I think this collection is rather self-explanatory.

 

 

4. The Gasp, Romain Gary (1973)

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(Bob Shulz’s cover for the 1974 edition)

From the back cover: “IT LEAVES YOU BREATHLESS!  It’s the gasp—the strange force, more powerful even than atomic energy, that leaves men’s bodies at the moment of their death.  Is it warfare’s ultimate weapon—or man’s immortal soul?  THE GASP is a dazzling novel in the tradition of Dr. Strangelove and Cat’s Cradle.  It will make you laugh, it will make you tremble—and like the gasp itself, it will leave you breathless.”

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28 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIII (Two themed anthologies: Election Day 2084 and TV: 2000 + Harrison + Gary)”

    1. Ah, as I mentioned, I have the 1989 edition with a horrid Bob Elson cover not the 1971 edition I included with the wonderful Yates cover. Yeah, I wanted at least the Haberfield one but they are really pricey online… I got mine for under 5$ which is a steal considering most are 30+ for some reason.

      1. 30+ is crazy. i have one possibly two copies of the Haberfield cover, both secured for very little around and abouts. But yes, i feel for ya. I have spent a penny or three tracking down stuff on the net.
        BTW i enjoyed Harrison’s foray into the “near”, very late 60s spawned post-apocalypse. I will be interested to hear what you make of it.

      2. I’ve only read “The Centauri Device” among M.John Harrison’s stuff,which you might remember me saying,I didn’t like very much.The one I want to read of his,is “The Pastel” City”.Have you read it?

      3. Yes, I enjoyed The Pastel City — never reviewed it. I also enjoyed his early collection The Machine in Shaft Ten — which I wrote one of my short reviews for. And obviously The Centauri Device…

      4. Usually I love Harrison’s work, Viriconium in particular. But I haven’t managed to finish the Centauri Device despite having gotten about half way three times. And then there is his non genre work. I am keen to read Climbers at some point.

  1. Hi Joachim

    I loved The Committed Men, it was the second title I discussed on my page. And the Haberfield cover is indeed both lovely and pricy, I don’t think I knew who did the cover just that I liked it so it was great be able to attribute it to someone. TV: 2000 sounds quite intriguing although as you say it is odd there are no female authors.

    All the best
    Guy

    1. Hello Guy, I do not understand the lack of women authors in Asimov edited collections (both of those have zero)– and it’s across the board almost! For example, Intergalactic Empires (1983), no women, The Science Fictional Olympics (1984) contains one story by Suzette Haden Elgin… I could continue but you get the picture. This is generally not as pronounced in the Orbit, Universe, etc anthology series…

    2. I did a quick tally (could be one or two off). In the ENTIRE Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction anthology series of ten volumes between 1983-1990 there are 127 stories and ONLY 3 by women (2.4%)… You mean to tell me that no women were writing about robots since the beginning of SF (one story is from the 17th century)? SF monsters? supermen? (three subjects in the series) Goodness me…

      1. I’m making my way through the Asimov/Greenberg “Great SF Stories” collections at the moment. I sometimes get the feeling that if it wasn’t for Greenberg there wouldn’t be that many women in the collection – not that there are a stack (though i haven’t counted).

      2. I suppose Asimov was really one of the old conservatives of SF,but he should have known his history.Brian Aldiss seemed to be the first one to recognise that Mary Shelley was the great grandmother of SF though.

        Asimov was an admirer of Harlan Ellison,so I assume he must have appreciated “new wave” SF,but he should have realised then that the kind of SF that Ellison was writing,was also starting to appear by women authors,and that their recognition also reflected the chances within the genre.It’s not surprising he declined to appear in “Dangerous Visions”.

      3. I did not realize he declined Dangerous Visions. I’ve never been in the Asimov camp — I enjoy some of his 50s work, but mostly for its historical importance.

  2. I’m having to move a lot of my books around so i thought, while they’re all easily accessible, I’ll take a photo of my UK paperback of The Committed Men cover as it’s not shown in your piece.
    But I got distracted and ended up with a slightly different photo!
    I did include The Committed Men down at the bottom left though!
    M. John Harrison - Books!
    I quite understand why he wasn’t keen on it, although it is a bit like the book!

    1. Maybe you could write or comment on some recent reprints of older books you enjoy — sort of linked to your store… as in things on your shelves. A sort of “thank God they are reprinting this!” type series 🙂 Would be fun 🙂

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