Tag Archives: fantasy

Book Review: Orbit 8, ed. Damon Knight (1970)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition)

3.25/5 (collated rating: Good)

The avant-garde leaning Orbit anthology series, edited by Damon Knight, had an illustrious run from 1966-1976.  Recently I have become more and more intrigued by the anthology as a way to access a wider range of authors and radical visions.  Despite my rather lowish collated rating of Best SF Stories from New Worlds 2, ed. Michael Moorcock, it was a satisfying collection which exposed me to the SF of Langdon Jones and Pamela Zoline.  Likewise, it somewhat rehabilitated my view of Charles Platt whose Planet of the Voles (1971) has long been one of my least favorite SF novels.

Anthologies are fascinating cross sections of the genre reflecting what was perceived as worthwhile SF by editors.  They will almost always be more uneven than single author collections.  But the exposure to forgotten authors and authors who never received a single author collection makes them almost always worthwhile.

Orbit 8 (1970) is no exception.  The anthology swings wildly from Gardner Dozois’ masterpiece “Horse of Air” (1970) Continue reading Book Review: Orbit 8, ed. Damon Knight (1970)

Updates: Recent Fantasy Acquisitions No. I (Hoban + Peake + Eddison)

Something different!

I have always had a soft sport for fantasy (mostly the non-Tolkein ripoff type) à la Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan (1946), Stephen Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane (1977), Jeff VanderMeer’s Shriek: An Afterword (2006).  Yes, as a kid I read tons of “standard fanasy” i.e. almost all those horrid Wheel of Time novels + Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow & Thorn  sequence, etc. etc.  And then I discovered SF and my reading parterns shifted drastically….

Over the past few months I’ve collected the two sequels to Titus Groan and a few Russell Hoban novels—my site name Joachim Boaz is  partially derived from Hoban’s remarkable The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973).

I’m not sure if I’ll review these novels here but, I might read Peake’s Gormenghast (1950) soon.

Thoughts?

1. Pilgermann, Russell Hoban (1983)

(Rowena’s cover for the 1984 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Fantasy Acquisitions No. I (Hoban + Peake + Eddison)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Skull (connected to mysterious contraptions + looming above all + the moon mutated), Part I

DRDFLSNCTR1972

(Richard Weaver’s cover for the 1972 edition of Dreadful Sanctuary (1948), Eric Frank Russell)

THE SKULL. The bones of the dead, the empty sockets gazing at us, a deathly gaze….  I have collected for your [horror filled] enjoyment a vast variety of SF skulls: the moon mutated into a skull, the half-skinned skull as part of mysterious contraptions, photographs of real human skulls interspersed with statuary and wigs, bizarre pink skulls pulsating with green radiation-esque Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Skull (connected to mysterious contraptions + looming above all + the moon mutated), Part I

Guest Post: “The Quickening,” Michael Bishop (1981)

(Roger Zimmerman’s cover for Universe 11 (1981), first place of publication for “The Quickening”)

My ninth installment of my guest post series on The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop comes via Max (twitter: @MaxCarnduff) at the fiction (and occasionally SF/F) review site Pechorin’s Journal.  His incredibly erudite review of  Anna Kavan’s Ice (1967) is the reason I have not tried to review the work myself….  Follow him on twitter and check out his site!

For this series he selected the novelette “The Quickening” (1981) which won the Nebula for Best Novelette (1982) (one of the two Nebula wins Bishop has under his belt) and was nominated for the Hugo for best novelette that same year.  The novelette appears in Bishop’s most recent retrospective collection put out by Subterranean Press, The Door Gunner and Other Flights of Fancy (2012) that desperately needs an eBook/Kindle version!

Enjoy!

~

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“The Quickening” (1981)

When Joachim approached me about participating in his series of guest reviews of works by Michael Bishop I was delighted, but worried I wouldn’t be able to get a review to him on time (work, life, that sort of thing).

Well, I was right on both counts. I was right to be delighted because Michael Bishop’s a writer with real talent Continue reading Guest Post: “The Quickening,” Michael Bishop (1981)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXXI (Vinge + Gerrold + Zelazny + White)

Part 1 of many: Half Price Books in Dallas, TX (the second best bookstore, after Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, MI for SF I have ever come across).  Gift card courtesy of fiancé’s mother = LOTS OF SCIENCE FICTION.  There could not be a better gift….

Everyone reads Robert Zelazny’s This Immortal (1966) and Lord of Light (1967), but who has read Isle of the Dead (1969)?  Thematically it seems similar to Lord of Light…  I have high hopes.  James White’s SF is always above average — and a fund cover from Dean Ellis makes that an auto-buy.  Although I disliked David Gerrold’s Space Skimmer (1972) my father swears Yesterday’s Children (1972) is somewhat readable.

I enjoyed Joan D. Vinge’s The Summer Queen (1980), tolerated her first novel The Outcasts of Heaven Belt (1978), so I suspect her two novella collection Fireship (1978) will be worthwhile…

Thoughts?

1. Isle of the Dead, Robert Zelazny (1969)

(Leo and Dianne Dillon’s cover for the 1969 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXXI (Vinge + Gerrold + Zelazny + White)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXV (Heinlein + Sheckley + Anderson + Zebrowski)

A fun bunch of thrift store finds and gifts….  I’m most excited about Robert Sheckley’s novel Immortality, Inc. (1958) — not only is the cover gorgeous (the initials read LSG but I can’t figure out who the artist might be) but Sheckley is fast becoming a favorite of mine (for example, the short story collections Store of Infinity and The People Trap).

I know very little about George Zebrowski’s novels.  So, I’ll approach The Omega Point (1972) with a tad bit trepidation.  Has anyone read him?  If so, what do you think?

I’ve read Heinlein’s The Man Who Sold the Moon but I have a much later edition and sort of enjoy the standard pulp cover for the 1951 edition.

And another Anderson classic….

1. Immortality, Inc., Robert Sheckley (1958) (MY REVIEW)

(Uncredited — brilliant — cover for the 1959 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXV (Heinlein + Sheckley + Anderson + Zebrowski)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Vaguely Defined Looming Man Shape

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(Uncredited cover for the 1961 edition of Earth Abides (1949), George R. Stewart)

Note: if anyone can identify the artist for the first three downright spectacular covers I’d be very very happy.  I’m positive that they match stylistically (the vague human shape, the cityscape, the brush strokes, the textures).  Two of the three covers were made for Signet press and all three are from the early 1960s.  I suspect if I perused the covers from the Signet catalogue from that era I’d find even more….  Perhaps it’s the work of Sanford Kossin?  He was producing covers for Signet around the same time.

And now The Vaguely Defined Looming Man Shape Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Vaguely Defined Looming Man Shape