(Justin Todd’s cover for the 1979 edition)
3.75/5 (collated rating: Good)
Triax (1978) contains three original novellas written specifically for the volume. I concur with Robert Silverberg’s defense of the novella form in the introduction, “it allows the leisurely development of an idea, the careful and elaborate exploration of the consequences of the fictional situation, while at the same time not requiring the intricate plot-and-counterplot scaffolding of a true novel” (vii). Keith Roberts’ “Molly Zero” and James Gunn’s “If I Forget Thee” have not appeared in subsequent English-language collections. Unsurprisingly, the Jack Vance novella, “Freitzke’s Turn,” appeared in Galactic Effectuator (1980) Continue reading Book Review: Triax, ed. Robert Silverberg (1977)
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.
And Vance, one rarely goes wrong with Vance…
1. Friends Come in Boxes, Michael G. Coney (1973)
(John Holmes’ cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Acquisitions No. XXVII (Vance + Neville + Fairbairns + Coney)
Part I of II. Thankful to have a fiancé who takes my massive, alphabetized, master list of used SF to acquire and wades through the dusty shelves of used book stores (while on a trip home to visit her family)… Here are some gems. More Zelazny (short story collection!), another Silverberg collection (he holds the crown for author most reviewed on Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations), an unknown quantity by Cooper, and the final novel I needed to round out the Alastor Cluster “trilogy” by Jack Vance.
Thoughts on the purchases? Have you read any of them?
1. The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories, Roger Zelazny (1971)
(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. CXXII (Vance + Silverberg + Cooper + Zelazny)
Another wonderful batch including two novellas by Kate Wilhelm in the collection Abyss (1971).
A Norman Spinrad novel, The Men in the Jungle (1967), courtesy of the MPorcius, the proprietor of MPorcius Fiction Log. I sent him a portion of my wall of shame (i.e. worst SF novels) and got a few worthwhile ones in return…
Another Vance novel courtesy of MPorcius as well—one of the Demon Prince novels. Do I have to read them in order?
And Brian N. Ball’s first novel, Sundog (1965). I thought Singularity Station (1973) was unadulterated pulp fun.
So the Spinrad novel critiques pulp and Ball revels in pulp…
1. Abyss, Kate Wilhelm (1971)
(Lou Feck’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXIV (Wilhelm + Spinrad + Ball + Vance)
I do not own many SF magazines from the 40s-70s. The reasons are as follows: 1) Novels tended to be serialized which means I have to track down multiple magazines to read an entire novel. 2) The novels were often radically altered for their first book form publication (think, Herbert’s “Dune World” (1963) that later became Dune (1965). Thus, I rather own the later novel form that wasn’t as constrained by the strictures of magazine form. 3) I love short story collections and would rather own the entire collection than read a singleton story.
Continue reading Updates: New Type of Post (grouped reviews of uncollected short stories published in magazines)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1952 edition)
After Jack Vance’s recent passing I decided that as an informal remembrance I’d review one of his novels. However Big Planet (1952), the only unread novel of his I had on my shelf, is from early in his career and far from the level of his best works. Of his novels I’ve read, Wyst: Alastor, 1716 (1978) and the loose sequel to Big Planet, Showboard World (1975) were the most satisfying. The Blue World (1966), Marune: Alastor, 933 (1975), and City of the Chasch (1968) were all enjoyable adventure tales set in fantastic worlds. I recommend those — along with his more famous novels — before picking up a copy of Big Planet.
Over the course of its publication history Big Planet was cut and modified multiple times from its original magazine form. A restored text was published in 1978… Unfortunately, I read the 1957 Ace Continue reading Book Review: Big Planet, Jack Vance (magazine publication 1952)
I love the idea of a community of science fiction reviewers — so I’ve put together a list of a handful of book review blogs focused on classic/slightly more esoteric science fiction. Obviously there are plenty of great blogs I’ve omitted that have reviews of new releases or only occasional vintage science fiction…. Or, blogs that refrain from reviews of vintage science fiction unless participating in certain reading challenges….
Please visit them, comment on their reviews, and browse through their back catalogues.
1] Speculiction….: An under visited /commented on blog with quality book reviews of classic science fiction — however, the reviewer, Jesse, is limited by the lack of older science fiction available to him in Poland. I especially enjoyed his reviews of Ballard’s “beautifully strange enigma” that is The Crystal World (1966) and of course, my favorite science fiction novel of all time, John Brunner’s magisterial Stand on Zanzibar (1968). An index of his reviews can be found here. He also has a good mix of newer science fiction reviews as well.
2] The PorPor Books Blog: SF and Fantasy Books 1968-1988: I find this blog Continue reading Updates: An Incomplete List of Worthwhile Classic Science Fiction Blogs/Resources