Tag Archives: Short stories

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Cryptic Diagrams and Collaged Heads of Atelier Heinrichs

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(Cover for the 1964 edition of Piano Player (1952), Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

My whirlwind tour of the surreal covers of non-English language presses and artists continues!  We ogled the inclines and declines of The Futuristic Cities of Lima de Freitas (Portugal, Livros do Brasil under the Argonauta imprint); awoke our inner desires to create minimalistic stamps and prints with the twelve-month sequence of Mariella Anderlini’s covers for Galassia (Italy); and were transported to Anderlini’s later landscapes of stylized mountains and edifices for Libra Editrice (Italy).  I have many ideas for our future explorations…

…but first a range of SF covers by Atelier Heinrichs, Munich for Heyne Bücher (Germany).  I cannot find information online for Atelier Heinrichs (albeit my German reading comprehension is average at best and I do not know the standard German SF resources).  It is definitely not a Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Cryptic Diagrams and Collaged Heads of Atelier Heinrichs

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLIX (Gerrold + Reed + Lewin + Anthology of European Non-English Language SF)

Digression: I have been thinking about “best of” lists and why I seldom approach an author by reading their “best known” work first.  Caveat: I compulsively read the Hugo list as a kid and was exposed to many wonderful authors.

Reading “the acknowledged best” reinforces our notions of what is canon or not canon.  And I am all about puncturing holes in our self-perpetuating notions of canon and SF grand narratives of what is “classic” SF and what is not.  The following dialogue often plays out:

A) “Have you read the best SF novels of the 1970s?”

B) “Yes, I have, from this great top 15 novels list!”

A) “What would you say are the best novels from the 1970s?”

B) “Oh, here you go!” Regurgitates original list.

A) “Have you read other SF novels from the 1970s?”

B) “Umm.”

I am guilty of this as well!  My top 1960s novels list undergoes regular revisions.  The original list was a product of my lack of knowledge.  Regardless, it remains to this day the most popular and commented upon post on my site!  Alas!

Sometimes “the less known” novels are a way to get a feel for what an author is capable of and seeing an author through their body of work leads (at least for me) to greater appreciation for their best (which might not be the ones anointed by the majority).  Barry N. Malzberg: I read In the Enclosure (1973) before  Beyond Apollo (1972).  Doris Piserchia:  Doomtime (1981) before A Billion Days of Earth (1976). Robert Silverberg: Thorns (1967) before Downward to the Earth  (1970).  Christopher Priest:  Indoctrinaire (1970) before The Affirmation (1981).

Third, I put great value on individual exploration. It is humorous and ironic that I have run this review site for six or so years but am reluctant to immediately follow-up on the reading suggestions of others.  I am sorry frequent readers!  I devour the reviews of others for sure (see Part I and Part II for worthwhile resources).  Well-argued reviews with evidence and an understanding of the work’s time and place and reflections on interactions with/or within genre, are more likely to remain with me.  And then, when I am in the book store, I remember what others have said.

The questions I have been pondering: Do I put together a best 20 novels of the 1970s list?  When do I decide whether I have read enough?  Or, do I play the “caveat” game and state that this is bound to change (which it is as I read more)?

Post proper:  My mapping of the contours of Kit Reed’s early oeuvre continues.  Her first SF novel Armed Camps (1969) and her stories in Mister Da V. and Other Stories (1967) demonstrate a knack for humanistic exploration of characters trapped in manifestations of cyclicality—be it social constructions or the forces of history.

David Gerrold’s novels do not inspire…..  At least so far: Space Skimmer (1972) + Yesterday’s Children (variant title: Starhunt) (1972).  Which means, time for short stories!  And yes, his acknowledged best The Man  Who Folded Himself (1973) waits in the wings [From Couch to Moon’s review —> here].

Non-English language SF other than Stanislaw Lem and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky: the biggest hole in my SF knowledge.

And perhaps the find/risk of the bunch, a satirical pseudo-governmental pamphlet that generated endless debate about its authenticity.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

1. With a Finger in My I, David Gerrold (1972)

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(Mati Klarwein’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLIX (Gerrold + Reed + Lewin + Anthology of European Non-English Language SF)

Book Review: The Best SF Stories from New Worlds 2, ed. Michael Moorcock (1968)

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(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1969 edition)

3.75/5 (Collated rating: Good)

As New Worlds issues tend to be expensive and hard to find (especially in the US), Michael Moorcock’s anthology series provides satiating morsels from the magazine’s best period.  New Worlds was instrumental in the so-called New Wave movement.  I am at home in  eclectic and genre-challenging/subversive madness.

New Worlds combined SF stories/poems with experimental art and layout that is, unfortunately, lost in the anthologies.  One of my favorite examples is Vivienne Young’s collage (below) illustrating James Sallis’ “Kazoo” (1967) Continue reading Book Review: The Best SF Stories from New Worlds 2, ed. Michael Moorcock (1968)

Short Book Reviews: Robert Silverberg’s Dying Inside (1972), Universe 2, ed. Terry Carr (1972), and Avram Davidson’s The Enemy of My Enemy (1966)

Here are three short reviews.  Either I waited too long to review the work or in the case of the short story collection, the handful of poor stories (amongst the many gems) faded from memory and I couldn’t convince myself to reread them…

I apologize for the brevity and lack of analysis.  My longer reviews definitely try to get at the greater morass of things but hopefully these will still whet your palette if you haven’t read the works already.

1. Dying Inside, Richard Silverberg (1972)

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(Jerry Thorp’s cover for the 1972 ediiton)

5/5 (Masterpiece) Continue reading Short Book Reviews: Robert Silverberg’s Dying Inside (1972), Universe 2, ed. Terry Carr (1972), and Avram Davidson’s The Enemy of My Enemy (1966)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acqusitions No.CLVIII (Tucker + Charnas + Coppel + Sheckley)

September will be a slow month, my apologies in advance.  The review backlog grows and grows–reviews of Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero (1970) and The Best SF Stories from New Worlds #2 (1968) should be appearing soon.  Although, there are many unreviewed volumes less fresh on my memory…

At least I have a massive review INDEX to keep you all busy.

I am diligently posting all the KWG volumes I snagged from a local Half Price Books—this shadowy person had a spectacular collection.

I am rarely interested in SF series, but, I’ll make an exception as Suzy McKee Charnas’ Walk to the End of the World (1974) was so darn amazing!

More Sheckley!

More Tucker! Fresh off the very satisfying The Long Loud Silence (1952)

And finally, a novel from an author I’ve never read before—Alfred Coppel.

As always, thoughts/comments are welcome.

1. Motherlines, Suzy McKee Charnas (1978)

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(Doug Beekman’s very bland cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acqusitions No.CLVIII (Tucker + Charnas + Coppel + Sheckley)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLVII (Sturgeon + Sheckley + Scortia + Mannes)

I can’t pass up a Sheckley collection!

Nor can I pass up a rather unknown “discovered manuscript” type 1960s feminist dystopia by Marya Mannes.  She wrote for Vogue and The New Yorker over her career….

Nor can I pass up a Sturgeon collection (perhaps I will appreciate his more radical SF short stories?)….

And finally, a best of collection by an author who might not be worth exploring, but, sometimes short stories give a better impression of an author’s capabilities than a novel-length work.

As always, thoughts/observations/comments are welcome!

1. They, Marya Mannes (1968)

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(Stanley Zuckerberg’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLVII (Sturgeon + Sheckley + Scortia + Mannes)

Book Review: New Writings in SF 4, ed. John Carnell (1965) (Asimov + Roberts + Tenn + Kapp + Etchison + Morgan)

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(Robert Foster’s stunning cover for the 1968 edition)

2.75/5 (Collated rating: Vaguely Average)

Despite the presence of one of Robert Foster’s best covers (for more on his art: Part I, Part II), New Writings in SF 4, ed. John Carnell (1965) contains only a few glimmers of brilliance—concentrated in Keith Roberts’ short story “Sub-Lim” (1965), a dark tale of crooked people and subliminal stimuli.  Isaac Asimov regurgitates something about a SF heist he scribbled on a napkin, Dan Morgan mumbles about alternate universes and tricycles, and Colin Kapp lectures on the “unusual methods of cementation of electrolysis” (54) instead of telling a Continue reading Book Review: New Writings in SF 4, ed. John Carnell (1965) (Asimov + Roberts + Tenn + Kapp + Etchison + Morgan)