Tag Archives: 1970s

Book Review: Real-Time World, Christopher Priest (1974)

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(Uncredited (Pennington?) cover for the 1976 edition)

3.75/5 (collated rating: Good)

Christopher Priest’s An Infinite Summer (1979) clocks in as my second highest rated single-author collection, behind Michael Bishop’s Catacomb Years (1979), so far in the life of my site.  I find Priest’s fiction intense and hypnotic.

As Real-Time World (1974) contains a range of Priest’s earliest published short stories, one cannot escape the feel that he is still trying to find his way as an author.  Similar indecision characterized his first novel Indoctrinaire (1970). The best stories in the collection revolve around the themes—the complex nature of perception and reality, psychologically unsettled environments and characters, voyeurism and performance—that his later Continue reading Book Review: Real-Time World, Christopher Priest (1974)

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)

Book Review: The Pastel City, M. John Harrison (1971)

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(Bruce Pennington’s cover for the 1971 edition)

4.25/5 (Very Good)

One of the previous owners of my copy of M. John Harrison’s The Pastel City (1971) must have harbored a pernicious grudge against corroded landscapes and nebulous morals.  So much in fact that they propped up the first volume of the Viriconium sequence against a tree and used it for BB gun target practice. I am still trying to identify the cause of the book’s other wounds… [pictorial evidence below].

As one can expect from Harrison, decadence and decay seeps from the quires of The Pastel City as characters try to create meaning, or grasp hold of half-formed Continue reading Book Review: The Pastel City, M. John Harrison (1971)

[short] Diaristic Fragments on Japanese New Wave Film: Nagisa Ôshima’s Empire of Passion (1978), Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide (1969), Shûji Terayama’s Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974), and Shôhei Imamura’s The Pornographers (1966)

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(Still from The Pornographers (1966), dir. Shôhei Imamura)

In the beginning the “Other Suspect Ruminations” part of my site’s title referred to my filmic obsessions. It’s been five years since I’ve posted along those lines. As diligent readers might be able to tell, I am fascinated by the general historical context (and earlier) of the SF decades I enjoy the most—from the Czech New Wave to the Japanese New Wave, from 60s/70s political jazz to the surrealists.

Until a few months ago my experience with Japanese New Wave film was limited to Hiroshi Teshigahara’s collaborations with the Japanese author (of SF and literature) Kôbô Abe—The Woman in the Dunes (1964), The Face of Another (1966) and Pitfall (1962)—and a few surreal Seijun Suzuki yakuza flics including Branded to Kill (1967) and Tokyo Drifter (1966) and Masahiro Shinoda’s hyper-stylized Pale Flower (1964). I highly recommend all of the above, especially The Face of Another (1966) if you’re interested in Japanese New Wave’s take on science fiction.

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(A tantalizing scene from The Face of Another)

Recently my horizons have expanded. I am in no way a scholar of Japan or claim to be knowledgeable about Japanese culture, however, the narrative experimentation Continue reading [short] Diaristic Fragments on Japanese New Wave Film: Nagisa Ôshima’s Empire of Passion (1978), Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide (1969), Shûji Terayama’s Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974), and Shôhei Imamura’s The Pornographers (1966)

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)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of SF Inspired Album Covers

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(Jean-Auguste Ringard’s cover for the 1979 album Trip in the Center of Head by Space Art)

Due to a continuous and growing state of panic as election day (November 8th) approaches in the US, I have postponed completing my review of M. John Harrison’s The Pastel City (1971) (the first volume of the Viriconium sequence) in order to do something fun and lighthearted. Harrison’s entropic visions of decay and despair are not sitting well as the xenophobic orange monster looms spewing sexism and unbridled hate…. My The Pastel City review will appear after the election.

Instead, I want all my wonderful readers to pick their favorite SF-esque album cover from any era and Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of SF Inspired Album Covers

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)