Tag Archives: Short stories

Book Review: Real-Time World, Christopher Priest (1974)

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(Uncredited (Pennington?) cover for the 1976 edition)

3.75/5 (collated rating: Good)

Christopher Priest’s An Infinite Summer (1979) clocks in as my second highest rated single-author collection, behind Michael Bishop’s Catacomb Years (1979), so far in the life of my site.  I find Priest’s fiction intense and hypnotic.

As Real-Time World (1974) contains a range of Priest’s first published short stories, one cannot escape the feel that he is still trying to find his way as an author.  Similar indecision characterized his first novel Indoctrinaire (1970). The best stories in the collection revolve around the themes—the complex nature of perception and reality, psychologically unsettled environments and characters, voyeurism and performance—that his later Continue reading Book Review: Real-Time World, Christopher Priest (1974)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXV (Leiber + Haiblum + Scholz and Harcourt + Orbit Anthology)

Recently reminded of Fritz Leiber’s beautiful story “A Pail of Air” (1951) which I reviewed a few years ago in the eponymous collection, I was delighted to come across another one of his short story collections.  Thankfully, no Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories are in sight.  And of course, another Richard Powers cover…

On twitter I mentioned my ignorance regarding the work of Isidore Haiblum, the author of the “the first Yiddish SF novel” according to the blurb on The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders (1971).  I have not come across a copy of that particular novel yet, but, another even lesser known quantity joins the books arrayed in piles across my library.

My dalliance with the 1980s continues in fits and starts: I wrote a short review of Christopher Priest’s masterpiece The Affirmation (1981) and recently reviewed Terry Carr’s edited volume Universe 10 (1980)…  As Carter Scholz’s short story “The Johann Sebastian Bach Memorial Barbecue and Nervous Breakdown” (1980) made such a positive impression on me, I decided to find a copy of his collaborative novel.

And I love Damon Knight’s Orbit series of original anthologies.  For reviews: Orbit 1 (1966), Orbit 3 (1968), and Orbit 8 (1970).

As always, thoughts/comments are welcome!

1. Fritz Leiber, The Night of the Wolf (1966)

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(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1966 edition)  Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXV (Leiber + Haiblum + Scholz and Harcourt + Orbit Anthology)

Book Review: Universe 10, ed. Terry Carr (1980) (Lafferty + Bishop + Tiptree, Jr., Waldrop, et al.)

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(Uncredited cover for the 1982 edition)

3.5/5 (collated rating: Good)

Fresh off Terry Carr’s novel Cirque (1977), I decided to return to his original Universe series of anthologies.  I’ve previously reviewed Universe (1971) and Universe 2 (1972).  As with the majority of SF anthologies, Universe 10 (1980) is sprinkled with both good and bad.  I selected it from the veritable sea of anthologies on my shelves due to the presence of authors I wish to explore further and those who are foreign to me: Michael Bishop and James Tiptree, Jr. in the former category; Lee Killough, Howard Waldrop, Carter Scholz, and F. M. Busby in the latter.

Michael Bishop’s “Saving Face”, James Tiptree, Jr.’s “A Source of Innocent Merriment,” and Carter Continue reading Book Review: Universe 10, ed. Terry Carr (1980) (Lafferty + Bishop + Tiptree, Jr., Waldrop, et al.)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXIII (Simak + Moore + Universe Anthology + Lewin)

I had a choice, one of the worst SF covers I have ever seen vs. a standard Richard Powers cover. Despite my undying Powers love, I chose the worst (weird white face bathed in purple/pink strangeness)…. you know…. a conversation starter? As I have read little of Simak’s non-novel SF, I was quite happy to I come across one of his collections at the local bookstore.

Ward Moore’s 1953 alt-history classic fetches quite the price online. Perhaps due to a renewed interest as it was recently published in the Gollancz Masterwork series. Regardless, I found a 70s edition (alas, a bland cover) for a few dollars. I’ve been listening to his humorous satire of salesmen Greener Than You Think (1947) as an ebook while at the gym and thought I’d give his most famous novel a go…

My Universe anthology series grows and grows–and, this one contains authors new to me, including Howard Waldrop, F. M. Busby, and Lee Killough.

Thoughts/comments welcome!  I doubt many will support my choice of picking the hideous cover over Powers, but, I can submit a picture of it to our esteemed purveyor of trash covers, Good Show, Sir!

1. Bring the Jubilee, Ward Moore (1953)

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(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXIII (Simak + Moore + Universe Anthology + Lewin)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXII (Vance + Rucker + Kaye + Godwin + Orbit Anthology)

More SF joins the ranks that cover my shelves, from a Jack Vance Demon Princes sequence novel to a promising Orbit anthology with early Vernor Vinge, Carol Emshwiller, Harlan Ellison, etc.

And the covers!  Powers and Lehr at their best…

And what happened to SF art the 80s? (the Rudy Rucker novel cover terrifies — in a bad way).

As always, thoughts/comments are appreciated!

1.The Palace of Love, Jack Vance (serialized 1966)

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(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1967 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXII (Vance + Rucker + Kaye + Godwin + Orbit Anthology)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXI (Ellison + Sterling + Fast + Paul)

As is my wont, a wide range of authors, SF styles, and covers…. From Harlan Ellison’s collection with the first expanded and non-magazine publication of his famous  1970 Nebula Award-winning and Hugo-nominated novella “A Boy and His Dog” (1969) to Barbara Paul’s best-known SF novel.

And, how can you resist the gorgeous Karel Thole cover for Fast’s collection?  I know little about the author….

And finally, in my youth I was a cyberpunk fanatic and I adored (perhaps I was misguided, hah) Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net (1988).  At last I have his first novel in my hands!

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome!

1. The General Zapped an Angel, Howard Fast (1970)

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(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXI (Ellison + Sterling + Fast + Paul)

Book Review: Abyss, Kate Wilhelm (1971)

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(Lou Feck’s cover for the 1973 edition)

4/5 (collated rating: Good)

Kate Wilhem’s SF forms one of the foundational pillars propping up my fascination with the genre.  Her writing, sometimes oblique and interior, cuts to the very heart of things, exposing the hidden societal and psychological sinews that suppress and restrict.  Her 60s/70s women characters, from linguists and mathematicians to discontented housewives, subtly subvert our expectations of how genre characters should behave.  And for a few years in the early 70s, she dominated the award lists (four Nebula nominations in 1971, two in 1970, a win in 1968, and of course, her double Hugo and Nebula win in 1976 for her novel Where Late our Sweet Birds Sang).  Totals: 14 Nebula nominations Continue reading Book Review: Abyss, Kate Wilhelm (1971)