Despite my incredible busyness my reading of SF has not slowed that heavily as I find it a relaxing activity before bed. There is a chance (time permitting) that I will post (two paragraph?) mini-reviews of such gems as Disch’s Camp Concentration (1968) + Lafferty’s intriguing Past Master (1968) + Mann’s Wulfsyarn (1990) et alii in the coming weeks in order to get caught up (I haven’t been in more than a year)…
That said, I am still working through my recent acquisition posts for a stack of books that have slowly come in over the last few months. More psychological SF via Wilhelm, a Mars novel originally in German, a collection of 50s – 80s short SF by an unsung master (according to some), and Sheckley at his most bizarre…
Three of the following novels came via Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings on his book store trip… Grateful as always for his book hunting skills on his travels and willingness to send me a large box (and paypal bill! — haha).
- The Earth is Near, Ludek Pesek (1970, english trans. 1973)
(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXVI (Sheckley + Wilhelm + Pesek + Shaara)
*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) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXV (Delany + Wyndham + Budrys + McIntyre)
Carl V. Anderson over at Stainless Steel Droppings often picks up books for me when he peruses the used book stores in his region (I pay for them of course! haha). Thanks again! Over the next few months or so I’ll be posting a range of the ones he acquired for me—three of the four here.
I always want more Kate Wilhelm….
Poul Anderson’s invented world “shared” by other SF authors…
A collection (masquerading as a fix-up novel?) by Barry B. Longyear—whose work I have never read…
And Rick Raphael’s most well known work—another “new” author…
1. The Clone, Theodore L. Thomas and Kate Wilhelm (1965)
(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1965 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXII (Longyear + Wilhelm + Anderson et al. + Raphael)
While in Scotland a few weeks ago I could not help but peek into a few used book stores! As an American, I am intimately acquainted with the common US publishers (Ballantine + Signet + Avon + et al) but do not own very many 70s/80s UK editions (Pan + Grenada + Panther, etc). Thus, there was something special about snatching a copy of Best SF Stories from New Worlds 8 (1974) as it was one of the few in the series never published in the US…
Enjoy the cover art!
[I am not sure what to make of the Jim Burns’ cover… I have the feeling that it appeared on Good Show Sir a while back]
[If you are in Edinburgh and want new SF/F stop by Transreal Fiction—and talk to the owner Mike!]
1. The Moment of Eclipse, Brian W. Aldiss (1970)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1985 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXI (Cowper + Aldiss + McKenna + New Worlds Anthology)
I’m continuing my anthology kick (my review of one of them is already up)—a fascinating way to explore the work of lesser known authors who might have produced some quality SF but never had solo collections or novels published. Also, an unknown quantity in Joseph Green… Has anyone read his work? I do think that the Josh Kirby cover is quite evocative although the premise seems ridiculously silly.
Joachim Boaz trembles with excitement as he picked up another work by one of my all time favorite SF authors, Michael Bishop! If only I could convince myself to finally review Catacomb Years (1979) which was downright fantastic…
1. The Mind Behind the Eye (variant title: Gold the Man), Joseph Green (1972)
(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXX (Anthologies 2x + Bishop + Green)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1966 edition)
3.25/5 (collated rating: Good)
Damon Knight’s Orbit anthology series ran from 1966-1976. A while back I reviewed Orbit 8 (1970)–which contained the brilliant Gardner Dozois “Horse of Air” (1970 and a selection of intriguing Wolfe and Lafferty short stories—and was impressed enough to snatch up a copy of Orbit 1 (1966). And it is graced with a Richard Powers cover I had not seen…
Orbit 1 contains nine short works (with four by women authors) and maintains solid quality throughout. None of the stories—other than Sonya Dorman’s dark and terrifying “Slice of Life”—are masterpieces but Keith Roberts, Kate Wilhelm, Richard McKenna, James Blish, and Thomas M. Disch Continue reading Book Review: Orbit 1 (James Blish, Sonya Dorman, Kate Wilhelm, Thomas M. Disch, Richard McKenna, Poul Anderson, Allison Rice, Keith Roberts, Virginia Kidd), ed. Damon Knight (1966)
(William Hofmann’s cover for the 1964 edition)
4/5 (collated rating: Good)
Filth. Decay. Mud. Transmutation. Brian W. Aldiss’ SF is filled with such images: Men—with limbs removed—who are slowly (and artificially) transmuted into fish, writhe around in the mud of their tanks grasping at the last shards of their humanity; A powerful matriarch lords over a planet where her pets transform at will; A tall tale about a planet filled with strange life and a human hero who cannot get over the fact that everything smells like garbage…. Aldiss’ novel The Dark Light-Years (1964), despite its poor delivery, is the best example of these themes—humans encounter sentient aliens who spend their days copulating, laying around, and eating in their own fifth. And they are happy with their lot.
Starswarm (1964) is comprised of three novelettes and five short stories with conjoining explanatory material that links the previously published short fiction into a cohesive collection. The modus operandi of such a conjoining concerns the “Theory of Multigrade Superannuation” where “the universe is similar to the cosmic clock; the civilizations of man are not mere cogs but infinitely smaller clocks, ticking in their own right” (7). Thus, the inhabited solar systems of Starswarm—our galaxy—will exhibit all the characteristics through which a civilization can Continue reading Book Review: Starswarm, Brian W. Aldiss (1964)