A selection of gems sent to me by one of my friends 2theD at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature… Don’t worry at least eight books are being sent his way…. And a few left over Marx book purchases… I have two of Sheckley’s short story collection — now I have one of his short satirical novels! Sohl’s Costigan’s Needle (1953) has spectacular early Powers cover art AND Sohl isn’t supposed to be half bad either.
1. The Status Civilization, Robert Scheckley (1960) (MY REVIEW)
(Uncredited cover for the 1960 edition)
From the back cover: “The Life expectancy of a new arrival on Omega averaged three earth years. Barrent had been tried, convicted, and memory-washed on Earth — an Earth strangely altered and stratified by fear of the radical and the non-conformist. Now he was serving his sentence on Omega — a prison planet walled by a ring of hovering guard-ships from which there was no escape. Omega was a world of horror, a savage, ruthless way of life. But it was only a momentary ordeal, a prelude to a return to Earth and the subtle terrors of its own status civilization.”
2. Costigan’s Needle, Jerry Sohl (1953) (MY REVIEW)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1954 edition)
From the back cover: “Costigan’s needle… To the greedy it meant easy wealth. To the daring is the door to adventure. To the sick it promised the end of disease and suffering. To the timid it was a sacrilege — a monstrosity that had to be destroyed But to all of them it was a mystery that had to be solved — a challenge that had to be met!
3. A Far Sunset, Edmund Cooper (1967)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1968 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition: “The year: 2032 A.D. The Gloria Mundi, a starship built and manned by the new United States of Europe, touches down on a planet, Alatair Five. Disaster strikes, leaving only one apparent survivor — Paul Marlow, whose adventures in the lair of a strange primeval race known as the Bayani leads him first to their God, the omnipotent and omniscient Oruri, and eventually to an unlimited power that is so great that it must include a built-in death sentence. The forces that have remained static for centuries overcome both the forces of the future and the quest for unlimited knowledge.”
4. Godling, Go Home!, Robert Silverberg (1964)
(Uncredited cover for the 1964 edition)
No back cover summary or inside flap. Eleven short stories by Silverberg.
8 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XLI (Sheckley + Sohl + Cooper + Silverberg)”
I reviewed A Far Sunset on my blog a while ago: http://iansales.com/2011/02/11/british-sf-masterwork-a-far-sunset-edmund-cooper/
“Utterly disappointing”? 😦
I thought I’d give him another try after the average, but intriguing, Seed of Light.
I was disappointed, perhaps because it had been oversold to me. It’s a solid piece of 1970s UK sf, not up to the standards of Compton, Roberts or Cowper, but as good as Kapp, Stableford or Tubb.
I’ll still give it a shot — but yeah, not high on my to read list.
That do you think of Sheckley?
Costigan’s Needle strikes me as an awfully familiar title, although the cover art is unfamiliar to me and the used book stores I normally frequent don’t seem likely to carry a book of that vintage. Would you know if it’d gotten a late-60s or 70s revival or something that might make it more prominent?
I have no idea (60s, 70s, half the 80s, are before my time) — it did just feature on Good Show Sir, apparently someone thought Powers’ cover was awful, I vehemently disagree.
That cover for A Far Sunset is gorgeous! Once again I find myself giving kudos to a publisher of something you’ve posted who knew enough to let the art sell the book and kept the printed information to a minimum. Lovely.
I think Far Sunset deserves a marginal thumbs up, its a decent story.
I think I read Status Civilization between 5 and 8 years ago; my memory of it is dim. I think it was one of those things in which a guy gets put in a penal colony, has to fight a robot in an arena, then escapes, maybe to launch a revolution or something. I enjoy when Jack Vance writes this kind of plot, because I like Vance’s style and attitude, but I remember thinking Sheckley’s style and attitude were pretty lame.