Ah, what a delightful group! A few from my father, a few from Marx books which I hadn’t posted yet…. Priest and Crowley’s novels involve fascinating worldscapes — a world winched across the horizon, a world at the top of a pillar… Both are considered among the better stylists in science fiction and fantasy.
And, my 22nd (?) Brunner novel! The Stone That Never Came Down (1973) — from his glory period of the late 60s-early 70s (this period produced Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, Shockwave Rider, The Jagged Orbit).
And two more impulsive finds — Ian Wallace’s Croyd (1967) — a reader claimed it was one of the best sci-fi novels of the 60s, and thus due to my intense curiosity, I had to find a copy. And Dark Dominion (1954), I know little about David Duncan — he wrote only three sci-fi novels in the 50s. His work is described by SF encyclopedia as “quietly eloquent, inherently memorable, worth remarking upon.”
And the covers!
1. The Inverted World, Christopher Priest (1974)
(Jack Fargasso’s cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “Welcome to the City Earth. It is like earth, yet strangely different. Its inhabitants seem human, yet they are part of an inhuman system of repression and discipline. Its civilization is of the future, yet in many ways it is a throwback to the barbaric past. Its official goal is progress toward perfection, but its reality is an ever-quickening slide toward disintegration and destruction. Welcome to City Earth — where nothing is what it seems… and where a young Future Guildsman named Helward Mann must discover the shattering truth about the city and himself, and choose between the system that has shaped him and the desperate bid for freedom that alone can save him…”
2. The Deep, John Crowley (1975) (MY REVIEW)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1976 edition)
No blurb on back cover or inside flap: the novel takes place in a strange pseudo-medieval world perched on a pillar…
3. Croyd, Ian Wallace (1967) (MY REVIEW)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition)
From the back cover: “An alien race from another planet is bent on destroying not only the Earth but its entire galaxy. Croyd, a superhuman secret agent of the future, who has the ability to move himself and events uptime or downtime, is assigned to precent this destruction. But Croyd’s body becomes inhabited by the mind of a “gnurl” princess, Lura, an alien agent who has infiltrated Earth, while his own mind is transplanted into the body of a surprised female Earthling! Trapped in this inferior body, Croyd must work fast to recover his own. At the same time, he must destroy Lurla, before she has time to complete her deadly mission…”
4. Dark Dominion, David Duncan (1954) (MY REVIEW)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1954 edition)
From the back cover: “This novel takes you into the world of that very near future where science is already at work. It is the story of a tremendous race for supremacy above the earth, and of men and women who have devoted their lives to the assault on the last great frontier — the conquest of space!”
5. The Stone That Never Came Down, John Brunner (magazine publication 1973)
(Roger Zimmerman’s cover for the 1974 edition)
From the inside flap: “Like Orwell’s 198 or A Clockwork Orange, this provocative thriller of tomorrow is rooted firmly in reality: the fascism of the recent past, the social turmoil of today. John Brunner, the master of science fiction, catapults us into the not-so-distant future. Europe trembles on the brink of holocaust; unemployment, inflation, and poverty are rampant; cities crumble form neglect; incompetent governments topple to military coups; bands of “godheads” bearing crosses are all too willing to use clubs commit actos of vandalism, violence, even murder. The only hope of civilization lies in a mysterious new drug, VC, with unparalleled power to heighten sensory awareness and create total consciousness of what mankind has done for good or ill. But suddenly its creator, a famed scientist, is found dead. His colleagues begin acting strangely, and a handful of other people too… and they, a pitiful few, find themselves compelled to dictate the destiny to mankind. Among them: a former TV cowboy star turned evangelist; a black radical; a successful thief; a reluctant soldier; and a teacher charged with corruption youth. The planet trembles on the brink of World War III, and it is up to them to tip the balance in favor of survival…”