Category Archives: Updates

Guest Post Series Announcement: SF Short Stories by Women Writers pre-1969

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(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1963 edition of A Handful of Time (1963), Rosel George Brown)

The time has come for a new Guest Post series on SF Short Stories by Women Writers pre-1969. My reasons are two-fold: 1) to showcase a deserving and fascinating topic in line with my goal to feature lesser known SF from a range of viewpoints and traditions 2) to feature posts from reviewers in the vintage SF blogsphere and beyond (in any combination of the following) that attempt to move past standard lists and grand narratives of canon, tackle fiction from evidence-based analytical and academic perspectives, or are simply darn good writers whose sites I cannot help but return to compulsively.

Why pre-1969? Although most endpoints are arbitrary in nature, 1969 saw the publication of Ursula Le Guin’s magisterial The Left Hand of Darkness. Considered a watershed moment in the history of women writers as it was the first to win a Hugo Award for best novel, Le Guin among many others were part of a rich (albeit oft suppressed and ignored) genealogy of women SF authors reaching back to Mary Shelly. My focus on short stories will allow exploration of many authors who did not write novels, whose novels overshadow their short fiction, and those whose rich body of early work focused predominately on the short form.

Thus I have rounded up my normal suspects along with new voices. The first guest post series covered the work of Michael Bishop and the second Kate Wilhelm.

Topics in the queue: Robot therapists, French and Soviet SF, a range of speculative fictions from the 19th Continue reading Guest Post Series Announcement: SF Short Stories by Women Writers pre-1969

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXV (Leiber + Haiblum + Scholz and Harcourt + Orbit Anthology)

Recently reminded of Fritz Leiber’s beautiful story “A Pail of Air” (1951) which I reviewed a few years ago in the eponymous collection, I was delighted to come across another one of his short story collections.  Thankfully, no Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories are in sight.  And of course, another Richard Powers cover…

On twitter I mentioned my ignorance regarding the work of Isidore Haiblum, the author of the “the first Yiddish SF novel” according to the blurb on The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders (1971).  I have not come across a copy of that particular novel yet, but, another even lesser known quantity joins the books arrayed in piles across my library.

My dalliance with the 1980s continues in fits and starts: I wrote a short review of Christopher Priest’s masterpiece The Affirmation (1981) and recently reviewed Terry Carr’s edited volume Universe 10 (1980)…  As Carter Scholz’s short story “The Johann Sebastian Bach Memorial Barbecue and Nervous Breakdown” (1980) made such a positive impression on me, I decided to find a copy of his collaborative novel.

And I love Damon Knight’s Orbit series of original anthologies.  For reviews: Orbit 1 (1966), Orbit 3 (1968), and Orbit 8 (1970).

As always, thoughts/comments are welcome!

1. Fritz Leiber, The Night of the Wolf (1966)

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(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1966 edition)  Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXV (Leiber + Haiblum + Scholz and Harcourt + Orbit Anthology)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXIV (Moorcock + Wilhelm + Schmidt + Effinger)

New books join the ranks of their happy brethren on my shelves…

Let’s start with Arno Schmidt’s 1957 SF parable (English translation 1979)–The Egghead Republic : A Short Novel from the Horse Latitudes… First, before you are tempted to buy the novel check out this fascinating series of images via Biblioklept from Schmidt’s later behemoth 1970 novel + rumination on James Joyce, Bottom’s Dream.  You must be able to tolerate this level of experimentation.  Although The Egghead Republic is far less intense and much shorter, it is not for the fainthearted (and probably not for fans of “SF only” or those who are frustrated with “artifice” or “literary” or “the author in the story”).  There is a reason he wasn’t translated into English for a long long time!  Here’s an image (with some of my notes) for demonstration purposes [click to enlarge]

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And more experimentation in the SF fold via Moorcock and his then wife Hilary Bailey.  Graced with a gorgeous Leo and Diane Dillon cover, as always.

Added to the mix is one of George Alec Effinger’s lesser known novels–I do not have high hopes despite how much I loved Heroics (1979) and his masterpiece What Entropy Means to Me (1972).

An early Kate Wilhelm novel, although I’ll be sticking to her late 60s/early 70s short stories for a while–they are that good!  See my review of Abyss (1971) and The Downstairs Room and Other Speculative Fictions (1968).

As always comments/thoughts are welcome.

Has anyone read Schmidt?  I read a review where this particular novel was compared to Lem.

Enjoy the covers!

1. The Black Corridor, Michael Moorcock and Hilary Bailey (1969)

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(Diane and Leo Dillon’s cover for the 1969 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXIV (Moorcock + Wilhelm + Schmidt + Effinger)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXIII (Simak + Moore + Universe Anthology + Lewin)

I had a choice, one of the worst SF covers I have ever seen vs. a standard Richard Powers cover. Despite my undying Powers love, I chose the worst (weird white face bathed in purple/pink strangeness)…. you know…. a conversation starter? As I have read little of Simak’s non-novel SF, I was quite happy to I come across one of his collections at the local bookstore.

Ward Moore’s 1953 alt-history classic fetches quite the price online. Perhaps due to a renewed interest as it was recently published in the Gollancz Masterwork series. Regardless, I found a 70s edition (alas, a bland cover) for a few dollars. I’ve been listening to his humorous satire of salesmen Greener Than You Think (1947) as an ebook while at the gym and thought I’d give his most famous novel a go…

My Universe anthology series grows and grows–and, this one contains authors new to me, including Howard Waldrop, F. M. Busby, and Lee Killough.

Thoughts/comments welcome!  I doubt many will support my choice of picking the hideous cover over Powers, but, I can submit a picture of it to our esteemed purveyor of trash covers, Good Show, Sir!

1. Bring the Jubilee, Ward Moore (1953)

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(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXIII (Simak + Moore + Universe Anthology + Lewin)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXII (Vance + Rucker + Kaye + Godwin + Orbit Anthology)

More SF joins the ranks that cover my shelves, from a Jack Vance Demon Princes sequence novel to a promising Orbit anthology with early Vernor Vinge, Carol Emshwiller, Harlan Ellison, etc.

And the covers!  Powers and Lehr at their best…

And what happened to SF art the 80s? (the Rudy Rucker novel cover terrifies — in a bad way).

As always, thoughts/comments are appreciated!

1.The Palace of Love, Jack Vance (serialized 1966)

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(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1967 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXII (Vance + Rucker + Kaye + Godwin + Orbit Anthology)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXI (Ellison + Sterling + Fast + Paul)

As is my wont, a wide range of authors, SF styles, and covers…. From Harlan Ellison’s collection with the first expanded and non-magazine publication of his famous  1970 Nebula Award-winning and Hugo-nominated novella “A Boy and His Dog” (1969) to Barbara Paul’s best-known SF novel.

And, how can you resist the gorgeous Karel Thole cover for Fast’s collection?  I know little about the author….

And finally, in my youth I was a cyberpunk fanatic and I adored (perhaps I was misguided, hah) Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net (1988).  At last I have his first novel in my hands!

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome!

1. The General Zapped an Angel, Howard Fast (1970)

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(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXI (Ellison + Sterling + Fast + Paul)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLX (Delany + Disch + Sladek + Zelazny + Edmondson + Bryant + Sucharitkul)

It’s been too long since I’ve read anything by Delany.  I polished off Triton (1976), Nova (1968), The Einstein Intersection (1967), and Babel-17 (1966) long before I started my site.  For a SF reading group I reread Nova a few years back but never wrote a review.  One of the few SF novels I’ve reread.  And yes, I do not own a copy nor have I tackled the behemoth that is Dhalgren (1975).

As a teen I was obsessed with Delany’s first collection Driftglass (1971), although I probably did not understand the important of the stories.  It is hard to forget the images in “Aye, and Gomorrah…” (1967) or “We, in Some Strange Power’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line” (1968) even if the message was lost on my younger self.  Now I have an excuse to reread one of Delany’s best known stories, originally collected in Driftglass (1971) — “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (1968) — in a fascinating anthology with other luminaries of the field, Disch, Sladek, and Zelazny.

I confess, I was seduced by Powers’ gorgeous cover for G. C. Edmondson’s novel despite the terrifying back cover blurb: “Good, Old-fashioned Science Fiction Adventure at its best!”

A few months ago I read and reviewed Somtow Sucharitkul’s Starship and Haiku (1981).  Although I did not care for the novel, I need more strikes against before I give up on an author completely.  And, why not a fix-up comprised of his best known stories?

Same thing with Edward Bryant…  His attempts at channeling extreme decadence, fascinating cityscapes, and odd hybrids come off as inarticulate and forced.  Albeit I have only read “Jade Blue” (1971) and “The Human Side of the Village Monster” (1971).  As with Somtow Sucharitkul, I need to read more of his stories to come to a firm stance on his abilities.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

  1. The Shores Beneath, ed. James Sallis (1971)

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(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1971 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLX (Delany + Disch + Sladek + Zelazny + Edmondson + Bryant + Sucharitkul)