My old sci-fi book hunting grounds have proved abundant (again) — Half Price Books Austin, Texas….
1. Son of Man, Robert Silverberg (1971)
I’ve been on a Silverberg binge recently. This is not supposed to be one of his best but definitely looks intriguing….
2. The Blue World, Jack Vance (1966) (MY REVIEW)
Sea monsters! Floating towns! Looks great! (well, not the cover….)
3. Half Past Human, T. J. Bass (1971) (MY REVIEW)
T.J. Bass’ Nebula Nominated fix-up novel looks promising. Although, criticism of the prose (since Bass is doctor by training) worries me….
4. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1969)
I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t read any Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. So, I shall!
5. Trader to the Stars, Poul Anderson (1964)
A collection of stories about Nicholas van Rijn (Polesotechnic League period) by Poul Anderson. Looks fun! Poul Anderson is a great story teller…
6. Chronocules, D. G. Compton (1970) (MY REVIEW)
Published in the UK as Hot Wireless Sets Aspirin Tablets, the Sandpaper Slides of Used Matchboxes, and Something that Might have been Castor Oil. I was really impressed with Compton’s Synthajoy so I picked up this with great expectation.
7. Downward to the Earth, Robert Silverberg (1969) (MY REVIEW)
I’ve been on a Silverberg tear (Thorns, The World Within). I’m also kind of excited to own one of the worst EVER covers. Funny colored elephant aliens with silly head ridges..
8. To Open the Sky, Robert Silverberg (1967) (MY REVIEW)
Alas, a fix-up novel… Yes, Silverberg’s early stuff isn’t the best but I’ll give it a shot. The cover is interesting at least!
9. Big Planet, Jack Vance (1957) (MY REVIEW)
I really enjoyed Vance’s Showboat World (MY REVIEW) which is set in the same world. Big Planet is the first of the two to feature the world so hopefully it’s at least half as interesting.
8 thoughts on “Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. II”
Vonnegut may take some getting used to, but he’s well worth the read. Was a big influence on me in younger years.
My “Cheap Sci-Fi Cover Gallery” picks? Love those crazy elephants in “Downward to the Earth,” and the Dali-esque surrealism of “To Open the Sky!”
Those crazy elephants are, well, hilariously terrible…. Vance’s The Blue World cover is just as bad.
Vonnegut is great. Slaughterhouse Five is his most famous, but I think some of his other ones are much better, especially Cat’s Cradle.
I also have Mother Night — I might start there first…. My usual circuitous manner — starting with the lesser known works.
Chronocules has a killer opening line.
Yes it does! I remember you mentioning that in your review…. Hopefully the rest is as good.
That’s a beast of a second hand bookshop that you have, btw!
I read Son of Man years ago. As I recall it wasn’t awful, wasn’t great. Possibly a bit silly, actually. Be interested to see what you think of it! Downward to the Earth is cool, though. His homage to Heart of Darkness.
Actually, if you’re interested in that, have you read Le Guin’s The Word for World is Forest? It’s not my favourite Le Guin, but then she is completely awesome, so it’s still good. What actually prompted me to read it is that I was watching Fifth Doctor Who stories Kinda and Snakedance. Le Guin had come up with reference to the first in the commentary text. Although IIRC, it wasn’t that that novel was a direct influence, rather her more general habit of writing thouughtful SF which incorporated anthropology and sociology.
*Realises possibly strayed from the point* Anyway…worth a pop if you’ve not read it!
Austin surprisingly has a poor range of used book stores. Only the absolutely top-notch Half Price Books to the north is any good…. But yes, my haul surprised me as well — and there were about five more I wanted!
Yes, I have read The Word for World is Forest — a while back…. I agree with your verdict on Son of Man (without even reading the book) — it looks like a hilarious pseudo-Philosophical rambling… a desperate attempt to be revolutionary. I’ll give it a try — regardless.