Intriguing literary sci-fi by Craig Strete and John Crowley…
Works of unknown quality, Bruce McAllister’s Humanity Prime (1971) and Nelson Bond’s collection No Time Like the Future (1954)…
And one of my favorite Powers’ covers.
1. Humanity Prime, Bruce McAllister (1971)
(David Meltzer’s cover for the 1971 edition)
From the back cover: “Mankind’s final battle. When Man’s emerging star-empire met that of the savage Cromanths, the alien hordes began a war of extinction against humanity. So overwhelming was their powers that Earth’s outposts and finally Earth herself were utterly destroyed. But one starship escaped carrying colonists for some distant Earthlike planet… if such a planet could be found, and if the Cromanths didn’t find the human colony. The mission was successful, the colony was established. Mankind adapted to its new world, developed new abilities, forgot much of the past. But then a Cromanth ship landed on the new planet — the last remnants of humanity were discovered. Could the somehow survive a new onslaught by the Cromanth empire?”
2. No Time Like the Future, Nelson Bond (1954)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1954 edition)
From the back cover: “Beyond the horizons of time… A race of intelligent beings so small to be invisible to the naked eye, a burial place on Earth that holds a secret twenty-five centuries old, a satellite of destruction hovering in space, a super ship that flew years through space — to nowhere…”
3. Beasts, John Crowley (1976) (MY REVIEW)
(John Cayea’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From the inside flap: “Against the charged and anarchic atmosphere of a fragmented America in the not-too-distant future, two events unfold, seemingly unrelated but inexorably marking the fall of man… and the rise of the animal kingdom. The twentieth century’s idle genetic experiments have created a hostile second race — half-human, half-lion laboratory creation called “leos.” And in the wake of civil wars, the American government has collapsed, leaving as its successor the Union for Social Engineering — a fanatical, quasi-religious group struggling to bring together the splintered shards of government and bring the leos back under man’s dominion. As their opposing destinies move back and forth over the face of a much-altered twenty-first-century America, the leos attract an odd lot, whose motives and hostilities both divide and join them… Sten and his sister Mika, the outlawed children of an assassinated ruler, and their ethologist tutor Loren. The servant Caddie, once in bogage to a human and now the only human to be part of a leo’s pride. Also drawn to the group s Sweets, an experimental dog with a human IQ. And then their is Meric Landseer, a documentary film maker, who is lured out of his skyscraper commune to join the followers of the outlaw leo, Painter, King of Beasts. Manipulating them all is Reynard, half-an, halffox — the only one of his kind. He and the others do not fit into USE’s grand sceme. Can they survive it? And can they fight USE while fighting themselves?”
4. If All Else Fails…, Craig Strete (1980)
(Margo Herr’s cover for the 1980 edition)
From the inside flap: “I would like to introduce you to a collection of small nightmares of great consequence.” In ‘Saturday Night at the Whit Woman Watching Hole” you will find the quintessential Manhattanite, a socialite concealing a hideous truth behind her mascaraed eyes. And you can wander through a hidden valley, a purgatory of evil, where those who love to hate are forced to indulge their every desire. The title? “With the Pain It Loves and Hates.” Or perhaps you will stumble upon “The Bleeding Man” standing naked in your laboratory — a biological impossibility — waiting for a cure to his disease. These are just three excursions into the mysterious and grotesque world of Craig Strete. Within these pages are sixteen more visions of alien power in an undiscovered cosmos, written by an author whose prismatic eye refracts reality into its more bizarre components. “For with this book, we risk the dangerous power of genius, of one who can construct a universe within the skull, to rival the real.” (flap and intro written by Jorge Luis Borges)
8 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XLVIV (Crowley + Strete + McAllister + Bond)”
Santa was good to you! I like the Powers cover very much, I can see why it is a favorite. I like the Meltzer cover too.
Yah, I really enjoy some of Powers’ pre-60s (i.e. before his surrealist style took over). Of course, even these are hardly “realistic” but have such fascinating unusual forms, strange landscapes, and stylized spaceships.
Nice to see you got your hands on some more John Crowley, really can’t go wrong with him. As brilliant as his early stuff is, though, he really came into his own and got really good (and that’s “one of the best American novelists writing today” good) from Little, Big onwards
I still haven’t got around to finishing The Deep… I tried about a week ago and got 30 pages in but put it down, not because I didn’t like it, rather, I wasn’t in the necessary mood…
I’ve been looking for Crowley’s Engine Summer, but your post pushed me towards Beasts, which I finally picked up last week. Nice haul!
Unfortunately, wasn’t thrilled with Beasts…. Review will be forthcoming. The world building was top notch but everything else was disappointing….
That’s unfortunate – I’ve been hoping to find a good place to start with Crowley. Everyone raves about Little, Big, but the fairy premise doesn’t really grab me. Beasts sounded like it could have been good, weird 70’s SF.
It is less weird than I thought it would be…. Hmm, you’ll have to wait for my review. Crowley has a great premise, but, I’ll just have to figure out how to articulate what I disliked about the rest.