Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXI (Malzberg, Bishop, Mano, Runyon)

Part 2 of 5 acquisition posts covering my massive haul from Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor Michigan….  I suspect that if I lived nearby I’d slowly migrate their entire SF collection to my shelves.  Two books below are by unknown authors (or at least to me) — Charles Runyon and D. Keith Mano.  Runyon is supposedly average to bad (one of my risk buys) while Mano polarizes readers — he tends to be rather right wing in his views so it’ll be intriguing to see what he does with the dystopic future in The Bridge (1973).  But, as with Runyon my expectations are low.

On the other hand, Malzberg’s The Men Inside (1971) seems to be one of his stranger works — I look forward to it.  And despite how well-known Michael Bishop is I’ve yet to read any of his works so I’ll be reading Beneath the Shattered Moons (1976) soon.

Thoughts?

1. The Men Inside, Barry N. Malzberg (1971)

(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1971 edition)

From the back cover: “The messengers were at one and the same time the elite and the outcasts of society, chosen fro qualifications that were theirs only by the genetic accident of birth.  Yet, for a selected few among the teeming millions of the under-life of the twenty-first century, to become a messenger for the Hulm institute was to escape the prison that was life, that was earth.  They were the Chosen, the Apostles of a new religion, the forerunners of a happier, healthier time in which fear and want would be banished… and the world would be purified for eternity.”

2. The Bridge, D. Keith Mano (1973) (MY REVIEW)

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition — reminds me of Jerome Podwil)

From the back cover: “The time is the near future.  Humanity has lost its will to live.  Everywhere the primeval nature is reclaiming the earth from the species that has for so long dominated it.  The government itself has abandoned the struggle and has even decreed the suicide of civilization.  And in this nightmare world, only one man — Dominick Priest, a maverick revel — can reverse the fearful tide that is sweeping all humanity to oblivion…”

3. Beneath the Shattered Moons (variant title: And Strange at Ecbatan the Trees), Michael Bishop (1976) (MY REVIEW)

(H. R. Van Dongen’s cover for the 1977 edition)

From the inside cover: “Twelve thousand years in the future, on the island of Ongladred, mankind has survived two enigmatic, civilization-destroying setbacks.  Now a third holocaust is anticipated.  The people fear destruction from invading barbarians, the reappearance of a semi-mythical sea creature, and the devious intervention of the neo-human Parfects.  This imminent disaster is very much the concern of Ingram Marley, a government spy sent to keep surveillance over Stonelore, a secluded haven and center of free thought on Ongladred, and Gabriel Elk, Stonelore’s resident genius.  While panic and fear rage outside, deep inside Stonelore the mysteries of life are pursued — reanimation of the dead, the invention of powerful laser weapons, and the secrets of “old earth” knowledge.  Amidst harrowing dangers of sea battles and land invasions, Michael Bishop explores the transformation of Ingram Marley, a man caught in the middle”

4. Pig World, Charles W. Runyon (1971)

(Uncredited cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “The Mind Slayer.  He betrayed the revolution of the late 1970’s, despoiled its ideals, and used the most advanced technology to bring millions of minds under his absolute control.  Ross.  The world’s future depended on him, but the task was impossible — to regain control of the revolution, to defeat the most powerful dictator the world had ever known, and to destroy the Pig Wold.”

14 Replies to “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXI (Malzberg, Bishop, Mano, Runyon)”

  1. Charles Runyon wrote some riveting crime novels and psychological thrillers, but I haven’t read any of his SF yet. And he wrote a surprising amount of SF in the ’70s. “I, Weapon” is supposed to be a minor New Wave classic, and I’ve heard scattered good things about the others. Also, the cover of Ames Holbrook, Deity was pretty good.

  2. I read Men Inside a few years ago; it has not stuck with me, and I did not find it as fun as Falling Astronauts or as “meta” and interesting as Galaxies.

    I had never heard of D. Keith Mano until today – thanks for educating me! I will definitely give him a try if I spot one of his SF novels; there are not many conservative Christian SF writers (Gene Wolfe is the only one I am really familiar with), so Mano’s work could be different and interesting. The interview of him at
    http://wittenburgdoorinterviews.blogspot.com/2009/06/door-nterview-d-keith-mano.html
    certainly makes him sound interesting.

    1. I looked for Galaxies but they didn’t have a copy. I also grabbed a copy of The Empty People which he published under his pseudonym O’Donnell. I’ll put it up on a later acquisition post.

      Mano didn’t write very many SF novels. I think this is his only proper one — The Horn seems to be rather more a fable. Although, SF encyclopedia does list another novel (forgot the title) that is unlisted on ISFDB.

      I’ll have a review up soon of The Bridge. It tries really hard but is not that great. The prose on the other hand can be beautiful.

      1. I read Galaxies in the anthology Three in Space: Classic Novels of Space Travel. I think Three in Space is worth a look because it includes some additional material by and about Malzberg.

    2. I knew Mano was Eastern Orthodox. There’s actually been quite a few conservative (and liberal) Catholic SF writers – aside from Gene Wolfe, there’s R.A. Lafferty, Robert Hugh Benson, Tim Powers, Jerry Pournelle, Anthony Burgess (who went back and forth on belief), Fred Saberhagen, Anthony Boucher, Philip Jose Farmer, Dean Koonz, Walter Miller, Michael O’Brien, Walker Percy, Karel Capek, Jules Verne, Cyrano de Bergerac…

      1. I should have remembered Anthony Burgess, whom I like, and who directly adresses moral and religious themes in his work and will take the conservative line on things (I recall his opposition to the decimilization of coinage.)

        I’ve read some Saberhagen, Farmer, and Pournelle, and have mixed feelings about them, and can’t recall them taking religion seriously; I thought Farmer, like most SF writers I have read, just thought religion was a scam.

        I should hunt down some Lafferty; like Joachim I read “World as Will and Wallpaper” in that anthology and thought it worthwhile. (How often does an SF story express an opinion about William Morris’s politics?) I don’t recall ever seeing a Lafferty book on the library shelves, however.

        I will look into some of the others on your list; thanks.

  3. D. Keith Mano was a columnist for William F. Buckley’s “National Review” for quite a few years. I’ve seen his novel but never read it.

    1. I’ll have a review up soon! I promise. I was disappointed. The prose and the world building was well done so it’s worthwhile. But, I was bothered by the rather alarmist anti-environmentalist politics. And yes, I understand that he’s critiquing the more rabid environmentalist positions.

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