Tag Archives: fantasy

Book Review: Universe 1, ed. Terry Carr (1971)

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(Davis Meltzer’s cover for the 1971 edition)

3.75/5 (Collated rating: Good)

Won the Locus 1972 Award for Best Original Anthology.

The Universe series of anthologies contained original SF that had not yet appeared in print.  And, the inaugural volume Universe 1 (1971) ed. by Terry Carr certainly hit critical pay dirt: Robert Silverberg’s minimalist the first robotic pope tale won the Nebula for Best Short Story, George Alec Effinger’s anti-war black comedy was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Short Story, Joanna Russ’ alt-history (sort of) fable was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and Edgar Pangborn’s sentient “alien” animals look for a caretaker mood piece was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novelette.

On the whole the quality is fairly Continue reading Book Review: Universe 1, ed. Terry Carr (1971)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXIX (Yarbro + Jones + Priest + Anthology)

Another Priest collection!—go find An Infinite Summer (1979)…

A collection by Yarbro—did not care for False Dawn (1978)…

A wonderful anthology with Robert Silverberg, Joanna Russ, Ron Goulart (whom I have never read), Gregory Benford, Gordon Eklund, Wilson Tucker, Edward Bryant, R. A. Lafferty, George Alec Effinger, Barry N. Malzberg, Gerard F. Conway, Edgar Pangbon…

And finally, the sole collection by one of the important (but lesser known) proponents of the New Wave…

Two (guess which!) are gifts from my wife who definitely knows my SF tastes…

Thoughts?

  1. Cautionary Tales, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (1978)

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(Uncredited cover for the 1983 edition)

From the back cover of an earlier edition: “A bizarre and haunting journey through inner and outer space—to alien worlds where an aging playwright is in danger of losing his soul to a monstrous organic computer…. a charming teeny-bopper ghoul solves the problem of hunger in the town morgue… a member of the patrol squad on a dreary, useless planet is lured by the sucking darkness of evil Scranton’s marsh… the frozen steerage passengers on a floundering space ship share a gruesome fate… malevolent forces on the other side of death are held at bay by a huge black swan… and other strange and wondrous events Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXIX (Yarbro + Jones + Priest + Anthology)

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

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(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)