I just came back from more than a month in Paris where I was rather sci-fi deprived so I headed immediately (well, not literally) to the local used bookstore. A nice collection of novels from some of the genre’s greats — Hal Clement, James White, Clifford D. Simak, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. I’ve not read any of Bradley’s novels and I’ve heard that Darkover Landfall (1972) is probably the place to start.
And I’ve enjoyed James White’s work so far. Clement isn’t exactly my cup of tea but it might be good to read another one of his novels before I come to a conclusion.
And some fun Paul Lehr covers…
1. Lifeboat (variant title: Inferno), James White (1972)
(John Berkey’s cover for the 1972 edition)
From the back cover: “Disaster! The passengers were the usual varied lot, some nervous, some boisterous, some smart-aleck, some quiet. The ship’s Medical Officer was brand new and didn’t anticipate having to much more than take care of a few queasy stomachs and bruises among his charges — from earning how to handle weightlessness. It was a routine trip. And so was the safety drill. Until the disaster all went out…”
3. Close to Critical, Hal Clement (magazine publication 1958)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1964 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition: “Crisis on Tenebra. Shrouded in eternal gloom by its own thick atmosphere, Tenebra was a hostile planet… a place of crushing gravity, 370-degree temperatures, a constantly shifting crust and giant drifting raindrops. Unpromising — yet there was life, intelligent life on Tenebra. For more than 20 years, Earth scientists had studied the natives from an orbiting laboratory… and had even found a way to train and educate a few of them. Then the unexpected happened! A young Earth girl and the son of a powerful, hot-tempered alien diplomat were marooned in a bathyscape, drifting toward the planet’s deadly surface. Only the primitive Tenebrans could rescue them!”
3. Darkover Landfall, Marion ZImmer Bradley (1972) (MY REVIEW)
(George Barr’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From wikipedia: “Darkover Landfall concerns the crew and colonists of a spaceship that is forced to crash land on Cottman IV, an inhospitable planet in orbit around a red giant. The crew become accidental colonists when the ship loses contact with Earth and they realize rescue is impossible. This series spans millennia, as the ship’s descendants populate the world and develop unique cultures and psi abilities. […] Though Darkover Landfall is not the first book written in the series, in the Darkover timeline its events are the beginning for all that follows.”
4. Shakespeare’s Planet, Clifford D. Simak (1976)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1977 edition)
From the back cover: “The most terrifying hour in all time. Horton wasn’t a coward. He could bear the crushing loneliness of being marooned on a hostile planet light years from home. He managed to survive among alone outcasts that included a low-budget robot, a royal cannibal, and a beautiful missionary sporting a tattooed breast. He was even prepared to die for his new tribe, if necessary. But no one could withstand the nightmare horror called… The God Hour.”