It’s been a while since I returned to one of the more well-known authors of the 50s — Isaac Asimov. I’ve read many of his novels and short story collections (Foundation Trilogy, The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire, The Currents of Space, The Gods Themselves, Nemesis, etc) and have never been too impressed. However, with a run of recent bad 50s sci-fi works under my belt (review for David Duncan’s egregious Dark Dominion is upcoming) I feel the need to reappraise a few of the 50s greats. So, when I was perusing some gorgeous old paperbacks with well-preserved covers I purchased two Asimov novels for the first time since I was a young teenager.
And another Brunner to add to the 20+ works of his I already own…. Unfortunately the one edition I find was the one edition where the editor edited + modified Brunner’s words without his permission.
And some Aldiss short stories from the 50s….
A gorgeous collection of covers!
1. Pebble in the Sky, Isaac Asimov (1950) (MY REVIEW)
(Uncredited cover for the 1957 edition)
From the back cover: “PEBBLE IN THE SKY takes a man of today, and follows him into a hugely distant, prophetically strange future, where he was a relic from an almost forgotten past — his language buried in antiquity. By the standards of Galactic Era 827, he was a candidate for euthanasia.”
2. The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov (1955)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1958 edition)
From the back cover: “Temptation in Time. He was a Eternal, a relentlessly disciplined member of an elite class charged with monitoring the past and present… But when he fell in love with a non-Eternal woman, he dared to use is frightening techniques to twist time to suit their purposes…”
3. No Time Like Tomorrow, Brian Aldiss (1959) (MY REVIEW)
(Uncredited cover for the 1971 edition)
From the back cover: “Out of the World. A monster travels back in time to destroy a race called Man on a planet called Earth… A mild-mannered husband is stranded centuries ahead in a world of peep-show barbarianism… A jaded sportsman returns to the prehistorical past to hunt a gigantic brontosaurus… The governor of a penal spaces settlement makes the supreme sacrifice for the colony he loves…”
4. The Productions of Time, John Brunner (1966)
(Uncredited cover for the 1967 edition)
From the inside flap: “May we introduce Manuel Delgado, a brilliant innovator, an Argentine playwright who has assembled before him the cast of his yet unwritten play. He is addressing a group of actors who will create his masterpieces. A play of passions with its roots in their own disorders. Each member of his carefully chosen cast has been brought to ruin and disrepute by abnormal behavior: a former drunk, a sadist with a weakness for pornography, a junkie, a pederast, a lesbian, and a strange, unattached girl who seems to have no major maladjustments and no purpose. They are a group of down-and-out actors with a common bond. Their depressed circumstances have created a total dependence on Manuel Dela=gado. Manuel Delgado has plans and powers beyond their wildest streams. The language he speaks has not even been invented.”
7 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XLVIII (Asimov + Brunner + Aldiss)”
Very nice! I want to track down those copies of the Asimov books myself someday despite owning them in more modern editions. Lovely covers.
I’m a fan of Asimov, myself. I didn’t start reading him until a few years ago when I decided to dive in and see what the Foundation trilogy was all about. Was hooked right from the start. The only story I’ve been really disappointed with was The Stars, Like Dust. I enjoy all the robot short stories and have a hard time deciding between The Currents of Space and The End of Eternity as to which is my favorite. Last Christmas I read the Asimov/Silverberg combo The Positronic Man and was really taken with that as well.
I’ve certainly read enough reviews over the last couple of years to understand that Asimov is very much a love ’em or leave ’em author. I know few people who fall in the middle.
Didn’t care for Foundation. But I did read it at least 10 years ago…. I didn’t know as much about 50s sci-fi at that time so perhaps I would like it more. But, I have hundreds of books to read so I probably won’t reread them anytime soon. But yes, those editions of Asimov’s works are gorgeous….
I might have read The Stars, Like Dust but can’t remember…. One of the reasons for this blog is simply to remember what I’ve read 😉 Unfortunately, I don’t review all the sci-fi I read for various reasons.
I don’t think I hate Asimov… I’m just not sure he’s better than the majority of what was produced in the 50s. I do dislike more strongly his later works — especially 70s (The Gods Themselves) and on (Nemesis).
I think The Currents of Space was the second or third science fiction novel I read as a kid… I reread it 8 years ago or so and still don’t remember any of the plot.
That Brunner is fun when not taken it too seriously. It’s sort of whimsical, playful–easy and fun to read.
Did you know that the editor changed that edition substantially without Brunner’s approval? Apparently earlier and latter editions are complete…. Not sure what to do.
Yea, I had also read that but, meh, I read the book for what it was worth.
I love those! I miss those old S/F covers. I’ve got a few older editions of some, around the house. Makes me want to go find a used book store. 🙂
Do it! Go support a local used book store! 🙂