A few more books from Carl V. Anderson‘s gift + two acquisitions of my own. Including my first Spider Robinson novel, an unknown post-apocalyptical quantity via Howard Beck, and more pulp by Brian N. Ball—not going to lie, Singularity Station (1973) was fun!
I now own a nearly complete Barry N. Malzberg collection of his SF solo works (i.e. no co-written novels with Bill Pronzini). What I am missing: his first two novels which are more speculative rather than SF, Oracle of a Thousand Hands (1968), Screen (1968), his SF novel Scop (1976), his movie novelization Phase IV (1973) which I have held off buying despite seeing it for cheap in used stores, and his non-SF novel Underlay (1974). I have all his collections of short fiction pre-1994 other than Final War and Other Fantasies (1969), The Best of Barry N. Malzberg (1976), and Down Here in Dream Quarter (1976).
Thus, I own a grand total of 28 Malzberg novels and collections!
A fascinating collection (one of three acquisition posts incoming) via Dunaway’s Books in St. Louis, MO (on one of my numerous perambulations…). And there were nearly one hundred more novels I would have snatched up if I had unlimited funds and unlimited room.
A hard to find feminist SF novel, and supposedly quite solid, by Zoe Fairbairns.
A Michael Coney novel I’ve been dying to get my hands on—the immortality concept delightfully satirical/hilarious.
A strange 70s fix-up novel of 50s material by an author championed by Barry N. Malzberg (and John Clute)—Kris Neville.
I was kindly asked by Andrea over at The Little Red Reviewer to submit an article for SF Signal’s Mind Meld feature (she is also one of their editors). Along with a cross section of other bloggers/authors and the like, I discussed the range and variety an author’s less famous backlist might have and how it can be a minefield of unrealized potential and financial obligations (think of what John Brunner was writing in the same year as Stand on Zanzibar!). I wrote about Barry N. Malzberg [original link here]—I am the last contributor.
For those who do not visit SF Signal I have decided to put it on my site as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Backlists can be unnerving places. Like the vibrations of residual sounds that gather across the urban landscape in Ballard’s “The Sound-Sweep” (1960), the lists themselves resonate both discordant and dulcet—a deluge of aborted passions, financial desires, experimental tendencies not yet crystalline. Although Clifford D. Simak might produce a Cosmic Engineers (1950), he also invoked a most extraordinary allegorical worldscape in Why Call Them Back from Heaven? (1967) where the promise of immortality (undelivered) causes irrevocable transformations—the living live through life without living waiting for a resurrection where they can finally live. Robert Silverberg might shift entirely, as if on whim, from old-fashioned SF adventure where young Heinlein-esque space boys look for those “cool artifacts that do great things” in Across a Billion Years (1969) to The Man in the Maze (1969), a restless and uneasy rumination on pariahism and filled with delusions of self-martyrdom and all those other uncomfortable emotions we try so Continue reading Update: My short article on the topic of “All About the Backlist” for SF Signal’s Mind Meld→
I like lists! I like reading lists! Here’s my rundown of the best and worst of what I read in 2014.
This year I have tried something new—my first guest post series. My ten post Michael Bishop review series—reviews written by SF bloggers interested in classic SF and frequent readers of my site—hopefully introduced a lot of my frequent readers to one of my favorite (and criminally underrated) authors. My second post series did not transpire solely on my site but stretched to others—what Gollancz Masterworks should include… Thanks for all the wonderful contributions!
Feel free to list your best reads of the year. Maybe I’ll add a few of them to my to read/to acquire list.
…and, if you tend to agree with at least some of my views on SF, read these!
(Uncredited—but looks like Paul Lehr—cover for the 1971 edition)
4.5/5 (Very Good)
“…I see no reason why we shouldn’t go to Mars in 1982…” Vice President of the U.S. July, 1969
Barry N. Malzberg’s fourth SF novel Universe Day (1971) is comprised of numerous previously published short stories as well as new material.* It might be best to think of the novel as a thematically linked sequence—in what might be termed a “future history” but unlike any you have ever read—of impressions and snippets of “what really happened” paired with what we want to happen or delude ourselves into thinking happened. All his major themes are on display, the space program as a manifestation of humankind’s delusions of grandeur, the dehumanizing power of technology, space as playground of existential nightmares, etc.
One of Malzberg’s most appealing qualities is the sheer variety of existential situations he conjures. Yes, many of the themes are repeated story to story (and novel to novel) but the black comedy elements are so often overlooked. The chapter/short story “Touching Venus, 1999″ encapsulates Malzberg’s absurdist brilliance. In moments of metafictional delight, he acknowledges the artifice of the array of scenarios he constructs, the Continue reading Book Review: Universe Day, Barry N. Malzberg (as K. M. O’Donnell) (1971)→