Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. V

I promised not to buy any more books over the summer unless I ran out — alas, Memorial Day Sale at one of the best Half Price Books in the country (Austin) is a “bad” combination.  I had to reduce my gigantic pile by half before I dared approach the buy counter….

I’m proud of this haul!

1. Hawksbill Station (1968), Robert Silverberg (MY REVIEW)

I’ve wanted to procure Hawksbill Station for quite a while — the premise is fantastic, five dangerous prisoners are held at Hawksbill Station located in the Cambrian era… One bizarre use of time travel!  I hope Silverberg is at his best à la The World Inside and Downward to the Earth.

2. Master of Life and Death, Robert Silverberg (1957) (MY REVIEW)

I expect little more from Silverberg’s second novel than a nice pulp adventure — too bad I couldn’t procure it in its original ace double with James White’s Secret Visiters.

3. Ground Zero Man, Bob Shaw (1971) (MY REVIEW)

Richard‘s recent book reviews of a few of Bob Shaw’s novels have inspired me to procure one myself — Ground Zero Man has one of the BEST all-time covers (in my humble opinion) — naked man bowing before strange tower with a spire precariously balancing an oblongish shape with a massive red orb radiating fire… gorgeous.

4. The Quality of Mercy, D. G. Compton (1965) (MY REVIEW)

I do not have high hopes for D. G. Compton’s second novel — however, I’m always curious to read the early incarnations of a great author’s works — looking for threads and tidbits of later glory.  Hopefully it’s a quick read and I won’t  suffer unduly.

5. Starshine, Theodore Sturgeon (1966)

I’ve been impressed with the two Sturgeon’s novels I’ve read, The Cosmic Rape (1958) and More than Human (1953).  Thus, I’m quite excited to delve into his substantial and impressive ouvre of short stories.  I’ve read a few reviews of this collection that suggest that these are more juvenile in nature than some of his others…

6. A World of Difference, Robert Conquest (1955)

Robert Conquest is a famous British historian (he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom) on the Soviet Union who wrote one science fiction novel.  I’d never heard of the work before and randomly grabbed it since it was inexpensive and looked interesting — I have no better rational…

7. Total Eclipse, John Brunner (1974) (MY REVIEW)

Supposedly one of Brunner’s best 70s works…  I buy Brunner’s novels on sight — he’s one of my favorite sci-fi authors although he tends to be very uneven in quality.

8. Jem, Frederick Pohl (1978)

I’m not a fan of Pohl — I’m probably stepping on some toes when I say I disliked Gateway with a passion and wanted to hurl some of the sequels into a fire…  It’s been a few years since that experience so I’m ready to pick up another one of Pohl’s works and try again.

9. Magellan, Colin Anderson (1970) (MY REVIEW)

My father swears that Anderson’s Magellan is quality sci-fi.  I trust him (somewhat). This is Colin Anderson’s ONLY published novel.

14 thoughts on “Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. V

  1. Nice haul again. Be interested to see how you get on with the Silverberg (really must pick up on him again) and, natch, the Shaw. I think I might try some of his short stories next, given the problems I’ve had with his novels. Also interested in what you think of the Colin Anderson. Never heard of it!

      • That is an awesome cover!

        But, yeah, it’s odd. They just don’t *feel* like novels, y’know? To be fair, I was sort of warned as what initially prompted me to read him was a post on Richard Morgan’s blog. IIRC, his exact words were that his novels felt like super-amped short stories… Still, his stuff isn’t beyond redemption, so continue I shall! 🙂

  2. Total Eclipse is “Supposedly one of Brunner’s best 70s works” – now who did you hear that from?!?!

    I envy your acquisitions (minus the Silverberg and Starshine, of course). When I was home in April I bought 32 old paperbacks and another load of 32 books from Powell’s online. My luggage was crammed with books. I keep trying to persuade myself to stop buying books, but I recently got Alastair Reynolds’ Terminal World and two short paperbacks- Larry Niven’s A Gift from Earth and an obscure one- Limbo Search by Parke Godwin. For 50 baht ($1.60), I couldn’t pass it up!

    • Mike: uhh, I’m probably remembering your high praise! haha

      You don’t like Silverberg? The World Inside, Downward to Earth, Thorns, etc are all GREAT! I admit, some of his stuff is pulpy crud.

      Yeah, I’ve never heard of Parke Godwin — let me know what you think — I love discovering new authors. Hence the appearance of Colin Anderson and Richard Conquest on this list…

    • Haha, I was already set for quite awhile before I procured these… alas, the allure of the used bookstore. Yup, I have to admit, cover art is a very important part of whether I buy a sci-fi novel (albeit, I usually already know about the work/author).

  3. I don’t think Hawksbill Station is quite in the same league as Downward to Earth, but it is a thoughtful and somewhat melancholy read. I hope you enjoy it.

  4. I wonder if Julian May had read ‘Hawksbill Station’ before starting her ‘Saga of the Exiles’ – though she only had her criminals transported back to the relatively recent Pliocene. I wonder what Silverbreg makes of the Cambrian era – I believe sea levels were high, and the oxygen levels probably weren’t very high since I don’t think there were many plants around…

    Hope you enjoy your haul!

    • I looked at a brief plot summary of Saga of the Exiles and I wouldn’t be surprised if she did — Silverberg was quite famous at that point so I highly doubt she didn’t at least know of his novel. I’ll let you know what he makes of the Cambrian era when read it.

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