Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVI (Kornbluth + Compton + et al.)

It’s not every day that a signed D. G. Compton novel arrives free in the mail.  About half a year or so ago Ian Sales (check out his amazing blog) hooked me on D. G. Compton’s works and ever since I’ve grabbed as many as I can find on used book stores shelves and I’ve written a slew of reviews (The Unsleeping Eye, The Quality of Mercy, The Steel Crocodile, Synthajoy, The Missionaries).  I made a comment on one of his D. G. Compton posts — a few days later a SIGNED copy of Compton’s Scudder’s Game (1988) (below) arrived in the mail!!  Ian, thanks again and keep up the uncovering of underrated 60s/70s sci-fi authors!

The others, well, the covers are gorgeous!  Two Richard Powers covers (the C. M. Kornbluth short story collection and the Conklin edited anthology).  I must confess that the Hunt Collins purchase was impulsive — in part due to the vibrant 50s cover by Bob Lavin.

I apologize for the recent absence of book reviews — due to the approaching end of my last semester of graduate course work I’ve been pressed for time.  I have reviews for Joanna Russ’ The Female Man (1975), James White’s The Watch Below (1966), and Samuel R. Delany’s Nova (1968) in preparation.


1. The Explorers, C. M. Kornbluth (1954) (MY REVIEW)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1954 edition)

Because I didn’t care for C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl’s satirical The Space Merchants (1953) I’ve been slow to pick up Kornbluth’s other works.  This will be near the top of my to read pile — in part because of the  draw of gorgeous early Richard Powers cover!

From the bland back cover, “The present collection — the first ever published of his shorter fiction — includes both one of his earliest stories (“Thirteen O’Clock) and a brand-new novelette, “Gomez,” which appears here in print for the first time.  Told with excitement and power, these stories display the delightfully ironic imagination of a writer who is a master of his craft.”

2. Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Hunt Collins (1956)

(Bob Lavin’s cover for the 1956 edition)

Ok, I admit it — I loved the silly cover and the city reaching upwards in the background.  I won’t be reading this one anytime soon — but, fun to own nevertheless.

From the back, “Could he hold the world together?  The Vikes were in the saddle riding high — peddling forbidden pleasures, substituting drugs for cocktails, following a twisted path which would permit mankind to escape reality.  And only one man stood between them and a world gone mad… Tomorrow and Tomorrow is more than a frightening dynamic story.  It is a savage satire on the perverse thrill-seekers of today — a cruelly logical exposé that will make you stop, wonder, and think.”  (I doubt it!)

3. The Big Book of Science Fiction, ed. Groff Conklin (1950)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1957 edition)

A nice selection of 40s short stories by Simak, Sturgeon, Leinster, del Rey, Brown, Pratt, Bradbury, MacDonald, Leiber, and Kornbluth…  I’ll read this one soon.

From preachy back cover, “A preview of the future and all its wonders.  In reading this book you will be transported into the far-distant future, to the times inhabited by your remote descendants.  You will visit worlds of super civilization, travel between the stars, experience atomic power, see strange and marvelous inventions, witness the curious aliens from far-off planets.  Above all you imagination will soar above the petty anxieties of everyday life into the vast reaches of time and the universe where man and his problems are but a brief candle flame against the background of eternal night.”

4. Scudder’s Game, D. G. Compton (1988)

(Keith Roberts’ cover for the 1988 edition)

I love D. G. Compton.

I’m suspicious of 80s science fiction but because I love Compton I’ll give it a try.

Oh, and, it is signed!  (IMAGE BELOW)

Ian, thanks again!

“Have a Happy Golden Straub Day!  The message floated in the sky for all to read; citizens chanted it to each other, motorists tooted it on their car horns as they drove uncongested freeways.  Earth had become a paradise, courtesy of Cordwainer Hardware International; population dwindling, war a thing of the past, free, untrammeled sex the right of all.  But is paradise everything?”

4 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVI (Kornbluth + Compton + et al.)

    • I also suspect it will be crud… Too bad.

      I haven’t had much time to read lately (currently completing my last semester of PhD coursework) so I haven’t started on the Compton (is that what you’re referring too? Roberts’ cover?). I have four reviews waiting to be completed — I will at the end of next week…

      Thanks again!

      • No, I meant Roberts’ own fiction. He’s best known for Pavane, an alternate history in which England remained a Catholic state, but many of his novels and short stories are worth reading. One of his short stories, ‘The Lake of Tuonela’, is a favourite of mine.

        Another UK 1970s sf writer worth seeking out is Richard Cowper, who White Bird of Kinship trilogy is very good. And you’d probably enjoy Leonard Daventry’s Keyman trilogy too.

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