Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. LXV (Spinrad + Coney + Cummings + an anthology containing short stories by Pohl, Knight, Aldiss, et al.)

My first book from the 80s in many a year!  But, I’m on a Norman Spinrad kick so when I saw it for one dollar at the store I had to snatch it up his post-apocalyptical vision Songs from the Stars (180)….  The premise is rather hokey but perhaps a quality writer like Spinrad can imbue it with some vigor.

I’m most excited about The Ninth Galaxy Reader, ed. Frederik Pohl (1966) (twelve short stories from the Galaxy Magazine) due the top-quality author line-up — Brian W. Aldiss, John Brunner, Richard Wilson, Damon Knight, Philip Kose farmer, Harry Harrison, Frederik Pohl, Lester Del Rey, Roger Zelazny, C. C. MacApp, Larry Niven, and R. A. Lafferty….

1.  Songs from the Stars, Norman Spinrad (1980)


(Uncredited cover for the 1982 edition)

From the back cover of the 1980 edition: “Centuries after the big smash, a new civilization flourishes — build on the laws of white science: muscle, sun, wind, and water.  Led by Clear Blue Lou, perfect master of the Clear Blue Way, and Sunshine Sue, queen of the Word of Mouth network.  Fed on what magic they need by Arnold Harker, sorcerer who dares traffic in Black Science: atomics, petroleum, and physics.  Now they wildest dreams and darkest fears will resonate to the music of… SONGS FROM THE STARS.”

2. Rax (variant title: Hello Summer, Goodbye), Michael G. Coney (1975) (MY REVIEW)


(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1975 edition)

From the back cover: “It was an alien planet — yet not too alien from Earth.  It had its differences: its ice-goblins, its curious furry lorin, its thickening water, and its unearthly tides, but for a young man like Alika-Drove thinking of a vacation by the sea these oddities were the norm.  But this vacation was to be different.  Rax was coming into the ascendant and Raz, that cold second sun, was the equivalent of evil, of Satan and Hell.  And as its time drew near everything began to get warped and sinister… until for Alika-Drove it would be either the harsh brutal end of his innocence or the end of his world forever.”

3. The Ninth Galaxy Reader, ed. Frederik Pohl (1966)


(Uncredited cover for the 1968 edition)

From the inside flap: “Twelve superb tales, including: This was the world that Machines had made.  Could men hope to win it back? JUNGLE SUBSTITUTE, Brian W. Aldiss.  It wasn’t a bad planet.  The food was good — once you managed to eat it.  THE WATCHERS IN THE GLADE, Richard Wilson.  Youth is beyond doubt the most precious commodity in the world — too bad it’s WASTED ON THE YOUNG.  John Brunner.  Plus stories by Damon Knight, Philip Jose farmer, Harry Harrison, Frederik Pohl, Lester Del Rey, Roger Zelazny, C. C. MacApp, Larry Niven, and R. A. Lafferty.”

4. Tama of the Light Company, Ray Cummings (serialized 1930)


(Jerome Podwil’s cover for the 1965 edition)

From the back cover: “Are all the artificial satellites circling the Earth ours?  How can be sure that these little metal globes, these observational devices with their secret interiors, were all made on Earth?  Perhaps these is one up there that was not?  When such a space satellite was located, it causes a furor.  But that was nothing to what happened when it was accompanied by a mysterious rash of kidnappings — young girls were being taken away, carried off to some strange destiny in outer space!  TAMA OF THE LIGHT COUNTRY is the startling novel of the conflict with Mercury — the smallest world of the solar system — which harbored an unsuspected secret.”

20 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. LXV (Spinrad + Coney + Cummings + an anthology containing short stories by Pohl, Knight, Aldiss, et al.)

  1. Cool! Those covers are quite something. I have a 1975 Panther copy of J.G.Ballard’s Vermillion Sands. They just don’t make them like that anymore.

    • Thanks for visiting! Ah, MUCH prefer Richard Powers’ gorgeous covers for Ballard’s collections….I really really dislike the ’75 cover (linked below). Not my aesthetic…. at all… 😉

      For example, a Powers cover of one of Ballard’s collections — http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/images/6/6f/BLLNIUM1962.jpg

      If you’re curious about cover art I have 70+ posts by theme on the subject– and 150+ book reviews… (mostly 50s-70s sci-fi)

      Here’s the cover art index:

  2. I hate to pile on another newcomer to this blog (I’m one myself), but I have to say they’ve been making covers like Panther’s Vermilion Sands since the pulps, and it’s just about the only sort of cover publishers have been making since the mid-1970s. (The sale of Ballantine to Random House in ’74 marks the beginning of the end for artistic cover art. At all the SF publishers. But they gave us some great stuff for about twenty years.) For me, effective science fiction art avoids literal depiction, and instead employs a good amount of visual uncertainty or ambiguity. In short, mysteriousness. There’s no sense of wonder if you don’t – to some degree – wonder what you’re looking at (e.g. Lehr, Berkey, Powers).

    Joachim, it’s always a joy to share in the excitement of your finds. I just picked up a fine/fine 1st edition hardcover of Edward Bryant’s Cinnabar to read this weekend. Found it for $5.80 in the upstairs storeroom of my neighborhood used bookstore (with 50,000 titles in stock). So far, it’s proved a fascinating world with satisfying characters. A late New Wave title that I missed out on back in the day (probably because I had no taste for the New Wave in my youth).

  3. Those all look like nice finds. Not sure who that first cover is by but the layout reminds me of both Frazetta’s work and stuff by Boris because of the way the guy and girl are posed. Not their work, but definitely emulating their aesthetic.

    • Yeah I could probably figure it out by looking at the rest of that publisher’s sci-fi novels…. But, the cover is not my favorite so I won’t put the effort into hunting the artist down….

  4. Oh, I’d read Tama of the Light Country last year. It’s a pleasant, swift read of what I think of as a very 1930s style of story. I remember thinking that it didn’t feature enough Flying Space Girls, as seen on the cover, though.

  5. The Coney novel is another one of those that I read way back and do no remember much about – except, in this case, it being very, very good – well written, and has a lyrical, melancholy air to it (which neither the cover nor the silly title nor the even sillier blurb do justice). I forgot all about the plot, but still remember the atmosphere and how I sad I felt when reading it. Hope you’ll get around to reading it yourself as I’m curious to what you’ll make of it.

  6. I read “Why I Read and Review 50s-70s Science Fiction” and it sounds like we are kindred spirits of not close to being kissin’ cousins.

    And with that, I am going back to messing around with demoing themes for my websites and finishing a couple of articles about the Mothers of Invention’s FREAK OUT! and Dylan’s BLONDE ON BLONDE.

    Best . . .

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