Part 5 of 5 acquisitions posts covering my haul from Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I’ve saved some good ones for the end — namely, Mark S. Geston’s Out of the Mouth of the Dragon (1969). I’ve previously reviewed his first novel — Lords of the Starship (1967) — which was a relentlessly dark vision that showed great promise. Besides the work of Stanislaw Lem, I know very little about non-English language SF so I snatched up a copy of Rene Barjavel’s Future Times Three (1944). According to some critics, his treatment of time travel proved profoundly influential.
The other two novels are somewhat bigger risks. Brian N. Malzberg’s The Empty People (1969), written under his pseudonym K. M. O’Donnell, is one of his first SF novels and supposedly quite average. And, Piers Anthony’s Macroscope (1969) strikes me as a rather bloated, pseudo-spiritual, New Wave extravaganza (but not in a good way) — we’ll just have to see.
1. Out of the Mouth of the Dragon, Mark S. Geston (1969)
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1969 edition)
From the back cover: “Among VanRoark heard the prophet speaking in the marketplace of the decaying city. Timonias spoke with all the glowing words and crystal clarity of his calling. And the young man listened and he followed. The call was to the Meadows, to the Wars, to the Armageddon in which all the forces of God and all the forces of Evil would meet, would clash, would decide the fate of the already doomed world. There had been other Armageddons, false ones, so Amon believed, in the lifetimes of his father, and his grandfather before him. But when Amon looked at the ruined world around him, at the lost technologies, the vestiges of dying cultures, the warped rays of the sun, he knew he must answer the call to this last Armageddon, in which Creation would either be renewed or finally be let to end.”
2. Macroscope, Piers Anthony (1969)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1972 edition)
From the back cover: EXISTENCE IS FULL OF A NUMBER OF THINGS… many of them wondrous indeed — and those are the things of this soaring novel. First among them is the Macroscope — a doorway that leads to all time and all space, and confronts the four who dare enter with challenges mankind has never dreamed of. Among the things the travelers find is a place so unthinkably distant in space and time that it may in fact be at the other end of the continuum — within us — a place where ancient symbols come to life and battle with the souls of men. And perhaps most wondrous of all in the crowded, adventurous universe of this novel, a boy become a man; a spirited girl achieves womanhood; a man’s deepest beliefs are vindicated; and a woman finds a purpose in being…”
3. Future Times Three (original title: Le voyageur imprudent), Rene Barjavel (1944)
(Uncredited cover for the 1968 edition)
From the back cover: “FUTURE TIMES THREE… A SCIENTIST — who possesses the secret of time, of death, even of life… A MAN — chosen as the human guinea pig to travel backward and forward through history… A WOMAN — who plays a terrifying role in the universe that will be… Here is a fantastic journey that takes you from the past to the near-future — then to the year 300,000 A.D…. into a world where a single female creature the size of a mountain, gives birth to all of society!”
4. The Empty People, Brian N. Malzberg (as K. M. O’Donnell), (1969) (MY REVIEW)
(Howard Winter’s cover for the 1969 edition)
From the back cover: “The inner aliens. First there was Della, the woman who wanted… love? She did not — could not — know, for where love should have been was emptiness. Then came the Poet, who wanted only to please, but did not know how. His every effort was rejected — but he could not stop trying. Rogers was the completion, the part above all other parts that made the whole. And then there was Archer — and the thing in his brain…”