Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. I

Oh the joys of amazon gift cards… And perusing dusty corners of local bookstores.

Here are my latest acquisitions.

1. Robert Silverberg’s World Inside (1971) (MY REVIEW HERE)

I’ve always enjoyed semi-dystopic works about the social ramifications of overpopulation (John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar is my all time favorite sci-fi novel).  I wonder if Silverberg was inspired by Brunner’s work.  I’ve yet to read a Silverberg novel and I’ve read that this is a pretty good effort.  So, those factors contributed to my purchase.

2. Doris Piserchia’s Billion Days of Earth (1976) (MY REVIEW)

Doris Piserchia is a criminally under-read sci-fi author.  I thoroughly enjoyed her highly imaginative (if somewhat poorly structured) Doomtime (1981).  A Billion Days of Earth is considered among her few readers to be her best effort — humans have evolved into God-like creatures who have tinkered with rats creating semi-sentient beings — appears, at the very least, unhinged and unusual i.e. my cup of tea.

3. Gordon R. Dickson’s Sleepwalkers’ World (1971)

I’ve yet to read a Gordon R. Dickson work.  This is not one of his better known books.  However, the premise where most of a world is “wrapped in a hypnotic deep sleep” lured me…

4. Brian Aldiss’ Greybeard (1964)

I was influenced by the moody cover…  I impulsively procured a number of Brian Aldiss novels after reading his masterful work, Non-Stop (1958).  Although my initial elation was muted somewhat by the dismal (although occasionally thought provoking) The Dark Light Years (1964)…  Hopefully my opinion of Aldiss will be resurrect somewhat by what is considered one of his better works.

5. Brian Aldiss’ Bow Down to Nul (1960) (multiple variant titles) (MY REVIEW HERE)

See above.

Blame the absolutely amazing cover….  Hydrogen beings…  Probably a run of the mill rebelling against the aliens who have conquered earth novel — but the art!!!

6. T. J. Bass’ The Godwhale (1974)

I’ve yet to read a T. J. Bass novel — The Godwhale has been on my radar for a long long time.  I’m hoping Bass fulfills my need to read a relatively unknown author who has been unjustly forgotten….  Evolved “hive” liked humans escape their restrictive societies and visit the Godwhale!!  I’m very excited….  The reviews are very encouraging.

7. Alan Dean Foster’s Voyage to the City of the Dead (1984)

Another well-known author I’ve yet to read.  Not one of his better known works but, the premise sounds intriguing — a voyage down a river on an alien planet…  I don’t have very high hopes.

8.  A. E. Van Vogt’s The World of Null-A (1945) (MY REVIEW HERE)

The World of Null-A is one of the great classics of science fiction and considered way ahead of its time….  Although famously slammed by Damon Knight, The World of Null-A is at least an attempt integrate in a sophisticated manner philosophy into science fiction.  It had to begin somewhere…  I suspect Philip K. Dick was heavily influenced by the work since it questions the concepts of self and existence.  My next read.

9. A. E. Van Vogt’s The Players of Null-A (1966)

I purchased this quite a long time ago at the local used bookstore not knowing that it was the sequel to van Vogt’s The World of Null-A.  I won’t read any reviews etc until I read/form my own opinion (s) about the first one…  The cover is one of my ALL TIME favorites.

10. D. G. Compton’s Unsleeping Eye (1974) (MY REVIEW HERE)

Considered an unknown classic by an under read author… The amusement industry creates a television program about a dying young woman.  It was also turned into a movie by the famed French director Bertrand Tavernier (Coup de Torchon, Life and Nothing But).  Looks promising.

11. Stanislaw Lem’s Memoirs Found in a Bathtub (1973).

Stanislaw Lem is one of my favorite authors.  Solaris, His Master’s Voice, and his collection of experimental book reviews, A Perfect Vacuum are all in my top twenty books of all time.  As with all of his works, I have very high expectations.  A blight destroys all paper in the year 3149…  Memoirs are preserved in volcanic rock which record the strange life of a man trapped in a hermetically sealed underground community…  Satire, black comedy, purposefully complex and absolutely absurd…

There are more:  Ben Bova’s Welcome to Moonbase, Stephen E. Whitefield’s The Making of Star Trek, Piers Anthony’s Orn, Heinlein’s Glory Road…  Enough to happily occupy me for the next few months!

Good reading to all!

10 thoughts on “Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. I

  1. Be interested to see what you think of Silverberg. I read quite a few as a teenager, as my local library had a number of his novels. As I recall, they were mostly pretty good; however, he doesn’t seem to be quite so widely available now (bar a couple of SF Masterworks editions and one or two others I’ve seen). Which is odd, given that (as far as I was aware) he was a well-regarded sort of chap.

    Looking forward to the Aldiss reviews: another who is stupidly hard to get (though a local second hand bookshop to me had a whole stack of his stuff (um, and some Heinlein) – in fantastic condition too! I’ve scored Frankenstein Unbound and a short story collection.

  2. I just reviewed Aldiss’ The Dark Light Years — massively disappointed. So, unless I’m prompted it might take a while to get around to Greybeard and Bow Done to Nul — hahaha.

    Yeah, well, looking at his publication history, most of his works seem to have been reprinted in the late 1980s (Thorns, The World Inside). Perhaps they will again, soon…

    Tower of Glass was recently reprinted by Gollancz — I guess that’s the one you were referring too…

  3. A little more searching has revealed that Downward to Earth, A Time of Changes, Up The Line, Dying Inside, etc have all been recently reprinted… Mostly by Orb press.

    So perhaps the outlook isn’t so bleak!

  4. Ah, interesting! I’ll look out for them. Based on the three that I’ve read recently-ish (the Masterworks ones) and my dim memories of the other things, I think that you should at least find him thought-provoking.

    The ones I own are:

    Dying Inside
    Downward to the Earth
    The Book of Skulls

    (all in the Gollancz Masterworks)



    I realise that I also do have A Time of Changes, which I scored on a recent holiday in Stockholm!

    Ahaha, maybe I was over-reacting after all, then! 🙂

  5. Well, if Silverberg’s The World Inside arrives in the mail soon (amazon, i.e. I don’t buy books new) I’ll read it next (after van Vogt’s The World of Null-A).

    A Time of Changes doesn’t look like my cup of tea (not really thrilled with “medieval”-esque settings). Although, it did win the Nebula and was nominated for the Hugo. But, The World Inside and Thorns seem right up my alley.

  6. From your post, I suspect that you have an impressive and growing collection of science fiction books. I was wondering how the advent of e-books has affected your collection habits – or if these kinds of writings have even made their way to electronic publishing.

  7. I refuse to buy any e-books. Enough of my research, writing, etc for my profession (historian medieval france) is online — thus I prefer not to read anything more than I have to online/on a computer/or from a screen 😉 So, I don’t really know much about the e-book market related to sci-fi.

  8. Understandable, I’ve yet to take up to e-books either, and I am hesitant for the same reasons, although considering the ever dwindling amount of shelf space in our house, i’m not sure how much longer i’ll be able to resist.

    I was curious as to how well represented the genre is. I suspect that like old films, it should eventually make available a lot of hard to find titles that are long out of print.

  9. I’ve read the “World Inside” (SF Book Club HB) decades ago. Remember liking it, but my memory’s not sharp enough to tell you more than it sounds like you all ready know.

    PS: Really love that “The World of Null-A” cover. Actually, there’s a few good covers here!

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