(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)
Some Chicago finds from Powell Books (Hyde Park)… I own too many SF novels in my to read pile (I have close to 300 waiting to be read so I am going to try to put a stop on rampant — yes, they are cheap — purchases).
Last one of these for a while? Should I take bets?
Some titles definitely not my normal fare — I’ve read Haldeman’s The Forever War (1975), Forever Peace (1999), and Forever Free (1999) but not a single one of his short stories so Infinite Dreams (1978) is a welcome addition to my collection.
Chad Oliver is one of the “second-tier” greats whom I’ve not read…. And Chalker falls in that category as well. Poul Anderson’s The Byworlder (1971) is generally not considered one of his best but it did snag a Nebula award nomination.
1. Infinite Dreams, Joe Haldeman (1978)
(Clyde Caldwell’s cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXIX (Haldeman + Chalker + Oliver + Anderson)
(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1973 edition)
If one were to distill 70s space opera in a decanter filled with SF pulp the result would be Singularity Station (1973). Combined with the dynamic Chris Foss cover — I’ve never enjoyed his work but it does embody the vigor and explosiveness of the novel — Brian N. Ball’s vision is an veritable adolescent SF wet dream filled with robots, cutting edge science (in this case, 60s speculation on the nature of black holes), a love interest (not the 30s/40s pulp versions) in distress, a mad scientist, and inventive spaceships and space stations.
70s pulp at its Continue reading Book Review: Singularity Station, Brian N. Ball (1973)
MPorcius, a frequent and well-read commentator on my site, has started transferring his numerous amazon reviews and writing new reviews of classic SF (a substantial portion is pre-1980s) to his blog. Please visit him and comment on his posts!
queue rant: I’ve noticed a surprising lack of frequently updated classic SF blogs online. Yes, many bloggers occasionally dabble in the distant era of SF glory or publish yet another review of the obligatory masterpieces because they appear on a some “best of” list (Dune, The Left Hand of Darkness, etc). However, few are devoted to the period and make it a point to write reviews of books that very few people will ever actually read due to their obscurity i.e. blogs that don’t sell out by churning out reviews of new Tor releases (I have declined their offer) or endless 4/5 or 5/5 starred let’s pat each other on the back reviews of self-published (and generally awful) ebooks Continue reading Updates: A New Classic SF Review Blog to add to your list
(Peter Goodfellow’s cover for the 1979 edition of The Moment of Eclipse (1970), Brian Aldiss)
Make sure to take a peek at Part I if you enjoyed this collection!
In Part I I described how I was inspired by Ed Valigursky’s stunning and powerful cover — with its giant eye, running figures, and perspective lines drawn across the artificial field heightening the tension — to look through my image collection and find similar examples. Since I made the last post I’ve collected quite a few more examples (from my own collection and image collections online) along similar lines.
Mitchell Hooks’ cover for the 1958 edition of The Big Eye (1949) by Max Ehrlich has long been one of my favorite covers and it has cropped up in various posts over the years…. The uncredited cover for the 1969 edition of The Cosmic Eye Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Eye[s] in the Sky, Part II