I have yet to read anything by the Nobel Prize for Literature-winning author Doris Lessing… And she wrote numerous SF novels—I’m very excited that I found one in a clearance section for 2$. I also found one of the very few 1970s works by Silverberg not in my collection. Dickson’s supposedly most mature novel (which I doubt is very good) also joins my collection. So far the only Dickson I can tolerate are a handful of his short stories. And finally, my last acquisition is one of Robert Sheckley’s best-loved novels.
1. The Memoirs of a Survivor, Doris Lessing (1974)
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1964 edition of Alien Worlds (1964), ed. Roger Elwood)
Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1979 Dutch edition of Greybeard (1964) by Brian W. Aldiss appeared in a collection of SF art Space Wars, Worlds & Weapons (1977). I remember encountering the collection at a used bookstore, perhaps in Philadelphia when I went to visit my grandparents… It terrified me for years. The bizarre metal construct looming over the destroyed world—and most of all, the strange tentacled hands…
I was kindly asked by Andrea over at The Little Red Reviewer to submit an article for SF Signal’s Mind Meld feature (she is also one of their editors). Along with a cross section of other bloggers/authors and the like, I discussed the range and variety an author’s less famous backlist might have and how it can be a minefield of unrealized potential and financial obligations (think of what John Brunner was writing in the same year as Stand on Zanzibar!). I wrote about Barry N. Malzberg [original link here]—I am the last contributor.
For those who do not visit SF Signal I have decided to put it on my site as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Backlists can be unnerving places. Like the vibrations of residual sounds that gather across the urban landscape in Ballard’s “The Sound-Sweep” (1960), the lists themselves resonate both discordant and dulcet—a deluge of aborted passions, financial desires, experimental tendencies not yet crystalline. Although Clifford D. Simak might produce a Cosmic Engineers (1950), he also invoked a most extraordinary allegorical worldscape in Why Call Them Back from Heaven? (1967) where the promise of immortality (undelivered) causes irrevocable transformations—the living live through life without living waiting for a resurrection where they can finally live. Robert Silverberg might shift entirely, as if on whim, from old-fashioned SF adventure where young Heinlein-esque space boys look for those “cool artifacts that do great things” in Across a Billion Years (1969) to The Man in the Maze (1969), a restless and uneasy rumination on pariahism and filled with delusions of self-martyrdom and all those other uncomfortable emotions we try so Continue reading Update: My short article on the topic of “All About the Backlist” for SF Signal’s Mind Meld→
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)
A nice mix with some gorgeous Powers’ covers—some 30s + 50s pulp, three novellas in one of only a handful of female SF author anthologies ever published, and another John Brunner novel for my extensive collections (it’s an expanded novel from one of his earlier pulp works, hopefully he improved the original version).
1. After Worlds Collide, Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer (1933)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1963 edition)
From the back cover: “When the group of survivors from Earth landed on Bronson Beta, they expected absolute desolation. This Earth-like planet from another universe had been hurtling through space, cold and utter darkness for countless millennia. All life should have perished millions of years ago. But the Earth-people found a breathtakingly beautiful city, encased in a huge, transparent metal bubble; magnificent apartments filled with every luxury; food for a lifetime in the vast, empty kitchens; but with no trace either of life—or death. Then the humans learned they were not alone on Bronson Beta…” Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCIX (Vinge + Randall + McIntyre + Wylie + Brunner + Sohl)→