(Anita Siegel’s cover for the 1970 edition)
Nominated for the 1971 Hugo Award for Best Novel
Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero (1970) exemplifies the type of SF I no longer enjoy. A younger me would have gobbled up the magical phrases: A Bussard Interstellar Ramjet! Disaster in space! Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity!
At one point Anderson’s adventure-heavy SF formed my bread and butter. Over the years I’ve reviewed thirteen of his novels and short story collections, most recently in 2013 — There Will Be Time (1972), Brain Wave (1953), and Time and Stars (1964). I have sat on this review for months in a state of indecision debating whether or not to insert my sharpened awl into the novel’s brittle hide so repeatedly tattooed with the Continue reading Book Review: Tau Zero, Poul Anderson (1970)
(Cover for the 1965 edition of All Flesh is Grass (1965), Clifford D. Simak)
On twitter I like to highlight the birthdays of often lesser known SF artists and authors—and today is Emanuel Schongut’s birthday! The 1960s SF covers of Emanuel Schongut (b. 1936) demonstrate an eye for the simple form, the surrealist twist, the optical trick…. In 2012 I compiled a list of my favorite fifteen (as of then) SF covers [here]—although I suspect some of the list would change, his cover for the 1966 edition of Watchers of the Dark (1966) [below] by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. would retain its privileged place.
Although few of the other covers rise to the heights of Watchers of the Dark, some of his others from the 1960s still transfix and leave haunting impressions! For example, Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The 1960s covers of Emanuel Schongut
I have been on a short story kick as of late! Three of the following volumes are short story collections (two anthologies). I want to complete the Orbit series, ed. Damon Knight….
And, well, I have a soft spot for Philip José Farmer’s 50s/60s SF after Strange Relations (1960).
- Orbit 12, ed. Damon Knight (1973)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIV (Farmer + Anderson + Two Anthologies including Aldiss, Wilhelm, Priest, Disch, etc.)
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)
(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)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1976 edition)
2.5/5 (Collated rating: Bad)
Homeward and Beyond (1975) is comprised of four novelettes, four short stories, and one novella. According to an article I read recently on the Wall Street Journal, Poul Anderson was one of only five authors in the 50s that made enough writing SF without needing a day job—and he was the only one who made a “good living” (he made more money than Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, etc). This incredible production did not always yield quality. Homeward and Beyond is by far one of the poorer Anderson collections I’ve encountered—on the level of The Horn of Time (1968) and nowhere close to Time and Stars (1964)—despite the presence of his Hugo/Nebula-winning novelette “Goat Song” (1972).
Brief Plot Summary/Analysis (*some spoilers*)
“Wings of Victory” [Technic History] (1972) 2/5 (Bad) serves as the first contact story between human Continue reading Book Review: Homeward and Beyond, Poul Anderson (1975)
My fiancé picked these up for me as she perambulated through Dallas, TX—the birthplace of Half Price Books. And, easily the best one in the country.
Two more Disch novels to add to my collection (I only owned Camp Concentration). The cover and cover blurb for On Wings of Song (1979) is terrifyingly bad—the contents are supposedly magisterial.
I have no idea if Rachel Pollack’s Golden Vanity (1980) will be any good—looks like average space opera.
And, who can resist Poul Anderson?
1. Echo Round His Bones, Thomas M. Disch (1966)
(Uncredited cover for the 1967 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CII (Disch 2xs + Anderson + Pollack)