Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXII (Cooper + Wilhelm + Kornbluth + Merril)

I was so impressed with C. M. Kornbluth’s masterful collection The Explorers (1954) that I picked up a copy his 1958 collection A Mile Beyond the Moon (I own the hardback first edition but I prefer Powers’ cover below).  Also, recently inspired (again) to read more 1960s works by female authors I bought a collection of three novellas by Merril and a 1963 collection of shorts by Kate Wilhelm.  Wilhem and Merril aren’t always top-notch but worth a read (and in Wilhelm’s case, a second chance — I enjoyed Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1977) but I’m still not convinced it was Hugo/Nebula quality work).

Cooper’s Seed of Light (1958) is considered one of his more mature works — to the chagrin of some of his fans who prefer his more “pulpish” works — but my obsession with generation ships was my real motivation to add it to my collection.

One short story, a novel, and one of the novellas take place on generation ships!

A nice haul — a mixture of lesser known works by some famous figures.

Enjoy (the covers)!

1. Daughters of Earth (1968), Judith Merril (MY REVIEW)

(Robert Foster’s cover for the 1970 edition)

The back cover doesn’t provide a summary of the three works.  From the inside cover, “A desperate colonel writing his own rule book in a last-ditch effort to conquer the moon for man, in — PROJECT NURSEMAID. Six generations of gallant voyagers in one of the most breathtakingly imaginative space adventures ever written — DAUGHTERS OF EARTH.  A young girl and her brother stranded as orphans on a planet whose inhabitants have the power to take over their minds, in — HOMECALLING.”

2. Seed of Light (1959), Edmund Cooper (MY REVIEW)

(Uncredited cover for the 1959 edition)

From the back cover, “The Solarian was a hundred meters high and, at its broadest point, twenty metres in diameter.  It was designed to carry an initial crew of ten people — five men and five women — with provision for subsequent children.  Yet in that vast hull every cubic metre of space was indispensable, for the ship was a self-contained world, required to support human life independently for centuries.  No member of the crew, male or female, could regard themselves as a separate entity, an individual personality.  But each person was a part of a total life-unit, a dedicated nucleus that might one day expand into a tribe; that might, phoenix-like, bring forth a new human race.”

3. The Mile-Long Spaceship (1963), Kate Wilhelm (MY REVIEW)

(Richard Powers cover for the 1963 edition)

From the back cover , “Some samples: ‘Andover and the Android’ — Roger Andover decided to marry an android, but he didn’t count on falling in love with her… ‘Fear is a Cold Black’ — A deadly epidemic breaks out aboard the spacecraft Criterion III.  Each of the victims becomes colder and colder, finally dying one degree at a time.  What could arrest the plague that was destroying life aboard the ship?  ‘The Last Days of the Captain’ — The entire population of the newly colonized planet Kulane must be evacuated.  But some of the colonists don’t wish to leave their new home…”

4. A Mile Beyond the Moon (1958), C. M. Kornbluth

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition)

My first edition hardback from 1958 has no relevant summary back cover blurb….

6 Replies to “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXII (Cooper + Wilhelm + Kornbluth + Merril)”

  1. I like all of the covers on those. Powers is a favorite so those are a given. Seed of Light sounds interesting and the smaller ship amidst the larger black background actually does do a good job of communicating how isolating it would be to be on a generation ship. Nice finds!

    1. Powers is one of my favorites as well — along with Jerome Podwil and some of Robert Foster’s covers (I’ll have a second post on him concerning his uncredited covers in the next few days).

  2. Now I’m tempted to hurry out to my awesome local used book store and pick some of these up.

    I like your posts about cover art. How do you figure out who the artist is? I often don’t see cover credits on 50’s paperbacks.

    1. I check isfdb.com (Internet Speculative Fiction Database) for publication history of a sci-fi work AND the artist information (if it’s known). Often, they aren’t known and I go by a covers style (and usually point out that I’m unsure). Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Thanks for the tip, and the pics of cool covers. I like to catalog things, so I’ll have to head over to ISFDB and start annotating the cover art in my collection.

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