Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions XXXIII (Delany + Wyndham + Sturgeon + Knight + Ellison)

My last batch of the summer from Austin, TX — as always a nice haul.  Unfortunately, I’m back home in a rather lackluster state for acquiring sci-fi.  Henceforth, amazon/abebooks it shall be!

Still haven’t tackled a Sturgeon collection yet — now I have three unread ones sitting in my to read stack.  I also added Delany’s first published novel, The Jewels of Aptor (1962), to my collection.  And some Ellison stories…  And three short novels (in one collection) by Damon Knight of whom I have a rather dubious opinion (see Beyond the Barrier).

Most importantly, another Wyndham novel (still haven’t read The Day of the Triffids which I’ve had for years and years and years).

1.  A Way Home, Theodore Sturgeon (1956) (MY REVIEW)

(Mel Hunter’s cover for the 1956 edition)

From the back cover of a different edition: “A college professor eavesdrops on two coeds having a cat-fight over a man — and finds a way to conquer the world?  Some visitors from space show up just in time to solve a tricky love triangle involving two frantic females and one dumbfounded man?  The man in the first flying saucers turns out to be related to the boy next door?”

2. Approaching Oblivion, Harlan Ellison (1974) (MY REVIEW)

(Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon’s cover for the 1974 edition)

From the inside flap of a different edition: “Kiss of Fire — a man can learn to program the deaths of worlds yet never see the handwriting on the stars…  Silent in Gehanna — the last student militant in a nation of fortresslike universities finds, to his dismal, that someone was out there listening…  Erotophobia — or, how to meet the nightmare challenge of being the best-loved person on Earth…  One life, Furnished in Early Poverty — what does happen when you go home again, and again…?  Hindsight: 480 seconds — the last man on Earth stood alone in his world…”

3. Out of the Deeps, John Wyndham (1953)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1953 edition)

From the inside flap of a different edition: “First there were the fiery red valls, plundging down from the sky into the sea.  Then ships began to disappear — mysteriously.  A diver is sent down in a bathysphere reports an indistinct shape hovering near… and then the monster attacks.  When the cable is pulled up, the end is not broken or frayer through but fused!  Soon the creatures are seen advancing upon the beack — loathsome, slimy, and dangerous beyond all imagining. Now the world is caught in the grip of a chilling horror as the creatures from the deep wage war on all of mankind…”

4. A Pluribus Unicorn, Theodore Sturgeon (1953)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1956 edition)

Later edition: No inside flap or back cover blurb about the contents.

5. Three Novels (Rule Golden, Natural State, The Dying Man), Damon Knight (1967) (MY REVIEW)

(Richard Power’s cover for the 1969 edition)

From the back cover: “Rule Golden: Be done by as ye do.  Damon Knight takes the deceptively simple device of inverting the Golden Rule in the hands of an alien, and puts it to work. The result is a fable carried out with relentless logic.  Natural state: The order of a wildly paradoxical society of 2064 seems threatened by the Muckfeet, the people who live outside the major cities.  The world’s largest city, New York, enlists the aid of a promising young actor…  The Dying Man:  In a century many times ahead of ours, man has discovered the secret of immortality, and death is thought to be non-existent,  But when the frustrated student Dio discovers he is mortal and death is approaching, he encounters, for the first time in his life, supreme happiness.”

6. The Jewels of Aptor, Samuel R. Delany (1962)

(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1968 edition)

From the back cover of a different edition: “A poet, a thief and bear-like giant follow a triple goddess in search of gems of unimaginable power, to a ruined land ruled by monsters.”

13 Replies to “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions XXXIII (Delany + Wyndham + Sturgeon + Knight + Ellison)”

      1. I’m disappointed to hear that. I thought you were actually collecting all these cool editions. After seeing your blog I started seeking out those editions at ABEbooks. I’d go to http://isfdb.com first, and find which editions had which covers, and then seek them out on ABEbooks.

        1. Why are you disappointed? I’m much more interested in the book itself nor would I ever characterize myself as a collector by any means. I’m a READER of science fiction who is pleased with any edition I can get my hands on. I do love the cover art but that is much more secondary. I don’t have the money to buy everything on abebooks/amazon. — I’m a grad student….

          I go into a used bookstore and hope to land some great books (and it’s a bonus if they have great covers).

      2. I do write “From the back cover of a different edition” under each if I own a different edition. And often the edition I own ALSO has a great cover… My edition of Out of the Deeps has yet another wonderful Powers cover. I don’t understand the complaint!

  1. Oh, I’m not complaining. But I just pictured you collecting the books by the covers. I think it’s cool that you like these old science fiction books, many of which are no longer in print. But I also liked that you liked the old covers.

    I’ve been buying a few old books like these, but I don’t collect them. I give them away when I’m through reading. Your blog just inspired me to buy older editions because of the covers. Usually at ABEBook, the price isn’t that much different between an old edition and a newer edition.

    1. Yes, but at abebooks the price will still be around 5+ or so dollars (with shipping) — I buy these for 1 or 2 bucks at the used book store.

      Collecting books by their covers? Nope, I collect books by author! And, if they happen to have amazing covers all the better (and yes, I LIKE the old better 99% of the time!). Only infrequently (and I usually point it out in my review) do I purchase the book because of the wonderful Powers cover etc.

      Because I generally read only sci-fi from the 40s-70s most of my copies are also from that era. A good half are exactly the covers you see. The others might only be a few years later with equally amazing covers but either the images online are poor quality or I like an earlier cover better.

      As of a few years ago, I’ve not bought a single new edition… (at one point I purchased a few new edition PKD novels with a Barnes & Noble giftcard).

      I’m glad that I’ve inspired you! The art is often spectacular — and the books as well 😉

  2. Jealous of the E Pluribus find, I’ve never seen that anywhere. The only Damon Knight book I’ve liked is “Humpry Dumpty, An Oval” which I think is his last book, and is one of my all time favorite books.

      1. I actually do collect these old sci-fi books primarily based on the cover art, the author is secondary to who the artist is for me.
        One of my oddball rules is that I have to find the book in a store, or maybe at a library book sale, and pay no more than $1. Keeps me within a reasonable budget and keeps the house from overflowing with books!

      2. Well, I’m still young and not yet overflowing with books (I have around 900 or so of which 500 are sci-fi)…. Perhaps I will change my ways — I still have enough good sci-fi to read that I’m not choosing based on covers, yet…

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