Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLII (Silverberg + Reed + Robinson + Reamy)

More Kit Reed! I enjoyed both her first short story collection Mister Da Vi (1967) and first SF novel Armed Camps (1969).  I was impressed enough to track down another—and as she has informed me via twitter “rare”—collection.  Rare enough that she does not even own a copy!

Fresh off Tom Reamy’s dark and wonderful Blind Voices (1978), I thought it would be best to explore some of his early short fiction.

There’s nothing wrong with another Robert Silverberg collection from his heyday (late 60s-70s), although, I have read at least two of the thirteen stories in the collection already.

Frank M. Robinson in the early 90s jumped back on the SF scene with the well-received generation ship novel The Dark Beyond the Stars (1991).  More involved with editing over the decades, he published in the 70s a series of famous thrillers with Thomas N. Scortia.  I found a copy of his first novel, The Power (1956), although, the presence of telepathy (my least favorite SF theme?) makes me less than enthused.

Three of the four following books came via Mike at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature and Tongues of Speculation—he visited Uncle Hugo’s in Minneapolis and sent me 10 (!!) books I had on my “to acquire” list.

Thoughts and comments are welcome (as always!).

1. Unfamiliar Territory, Robert Silverberg (1973)

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(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1978 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLII (Silverberg + Reed + Robinson + Reamy)

Book Review: Blind Voices, Tom Reamy (1978)

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(David Plourde’s cover for the 1978 edition)

4.25/5 (Very Good)

Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices (1978) was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and BFSA awards and came in second in Locus voting for best novel in 1979.  Posthumously released, Reamy died of a heart attack while writing in the fall of 1977 at 42.  His take on small town America transformed by the arrival of a traveling circus and its array of wonders will stay with you for years to come.  The science fiction elements (revealed more than halfway through the novel) interlace and add to the elegiac and constrained fantasy feel.  The specter of sexuality and violence Continue reading Book Review: Blind Voices, Tom Reamy (1978)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Brothers Quay and SF covers

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(Cover by the Brothers Quay for the 1977 edition of A Scanner Darkly (1977), Philip K. Dick)

While looking through the cover catalogue to celebrate Octavia E. Butler’s birthday on twitter (@SFRuminations), I found that her first novel Patternmaster (1976) was graced with a cover by Stephen and Timothy Quay—as in, the famous stop-motion (and more recently, live action) film directors know collectively as Brothers Quay!  If you’ve never seen their work, check out The Street of the Crocodiles (1986).

Brothers Quay—along with Guy Maddin, Jan Švankmajer, Wojciech Has, Juraj Herz (for The Cremator, 1969) among others—have long been among my cinematic cornerstones, and to discover that they created SF covers certainly made my day!  I have included a series of stills from their films below—creepy, gorgeous, incredibly well-crafted, (the adjectives could continue for pages).   Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Brothers Quay and SF covers

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLI (Wilhelm + Oliver + Coney + Anthology)

Prepare for a glut of “Recent Science Fiction Acquisition” posts!

From my recent travels and a gift from a friend (@SFPotpourri)….

Michael G. Coney is an odd bird.  If you’re curious what I might mean, check out my reviews of Friends Come in Boxes (1973) and Hello Summer, Goodbye (variant title: Rax) (1975).  In short, I had to procure a short story collection!

Chad Oliver, an early proponent of anthropological SF, intrigues yet frustrates—I need to read more than The Shores of Another Sea (1971) to come to a firm conclusion about his fiction.

And Kate Wilhelm, my views are firmly established — in the spring of last year I put together a Kate Wilhelm guest post series.  Check it out!  I’ve posted reviews for the following: her early collection (for fans of 50s SF only) The Mile-Long Spaceship (1963), her spectacular collection with numerous award-winning stories (for fans of experimental SF) The Downstairs Room and Other Speculative Fiction (1968), her solid SF + psychological horror novel Margaret and I (1971), and her even better novel Juniper Time (1979).

And New Dimensions IV (1974), an anthology edited by Silverberg—with a story from one of the unsung SF greats, David R. Bunch.  I have discussed but not reviewed his collection Moderan (1972).  I placed it on my top 10 SF works (pre-1980) for inclusion in the Gollancz Masterwork series list.  And, has anyone read Felix C. Gotschalk?  It contains two stories by this unknown (at least to me) author.  An overall fantastic lineup (Malzberg, Lafferty, Dozois, Bunch, etc.)….

Thoughts? comments?

[does anyone know the artist for the Silverberg edited anthology?]

1. Monitor Found in Orbit, Michael G. Coney (1974)

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(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLI (Wilhelm + Oliver + Coney + Anthology)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CL (Ballard + Lafferty + Aldiss + Budrys)

My first David Pelham cover graces a peerless Ballard collection.  I’ve reviewed the following Ballard collections: Billenium (1962) and The Voices of Time and Other Stories (1962).

And Aldiss’ most radical work (Barefoot in the Head (1969) might be the other choice for this distinction)?

In the past Budrys has not intrigued in the slightest—The Falling Torch (1959) was a bland alien invasion novel with a contemporary political message and Michaelmas (1976) turned a promising premise into a naive vision of absolute power wielded for absolute good.  But, short stories often give another avenue into an author’s oeuvre…

And more Lafferty—never pass them up in used bookstores, even if you do not appreciate his odd brand of SF, they are certainly worth a pretty penny…

Thoughts on this selection?

1. The Terminal Beach, J. G. Ballard (1964)

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(David Pelham’s cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CL (Ballard + Lafferty + Aldiss + Budrys)

Book Review: An Exercise for Madmen, Barbara Paul (1978)

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(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1978 edition)

2.5/5 (Bad)

Barbara Paul’s An Exercise for Madmen (1978), a retelling of Euripides’ The Bacchae, follows an established narrative pattern: Stranger enters community with dangerous knowledge.  Community reacts with suspicion but soon the stranger, despite claims of goodwill, begins to wield greater and greater influence.

In this case, a priapic-Romance cover-“ideal” alien man named Zalmox (masculine to women, feminine to men) gets an entire community to have great sex with him and everyone else….  And he brings magical alien apples, apples that cure madness Continue reading Book Review: An Exercise for Madmen, Barbara Paul (1978)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIX (Leiber + Paul + Reamy + Anthology)

Powell’s Books in Portland, OR dethrones Dawn Treader Book Shop in Ann Arbor, MI as the best SF collection I have ever encountered  in a used bookstore (and remember, fewer and fewer books interest me as I collect more and more—if you did not already have a collection you’d be out hundreds of dollars!).

I need to read more of Leiber’s work as I adored The Big Time (1958) and his short story collection A Pail of Air (1964).

Tom Reamy died too young—right after publishing his masterpiece Blind Voices (received Hugo and Nebula nods in 1979 and second place in Locus voting).

New author: Barbara Paul.  Read anything by her?

And, well, you all know my love affair with New Worlds Best SF anthologies… Links to my reviews: The Best SF Stories from New Worlds (1967) and Best SF Stories from New Worlds 3 (1968).

Thoughts/comments?

1. Gather, Darkness!, Fritz Leiber (1950)

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(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIX (Leiber + Paul + Reamy + Anthology)

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