Bargain bins yield some Clarke and Asimov classics I read when I was a teen but never owned…. I remember thinking at the time that Imperial Earth (1975) was one of Clarke’s best novels. Dickson’s Dorsai! (1960) — I’ve never been a fan of military SF — is a classic I need to get around to reading. And, my final find was Richard Cowper’s Time Out of Mind (1973). I was surprisingly impressed with his lighthearted romp of a novel, Profundis (1979).
Thoughts on the books?
1. Time Out of Mind, Richard Cowper (1973)
(Don Maitz’s cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover: “As a young boy, Laurie Linton encountered a strange apparition: a ghostly man who urgently mouthed a message: KILL MAGOBION! Years later, as members of the UN Narcotics Security Agency, Linton and the beautiful Carol Kennedy were assigned a special duty: investigation of a mysterious drug which endowed its addicts with superhuman powers. Now, that investigation leads Linton and Carol into a bewildering maze where past and future slide by each other at terrifying speed… where international peace teeters in the balance… and where all clues point to the top-secret Ministry of Internal Security and its prestigious powerful leader — Colonel Piers Magobion.”
2. Imperial Earth, Arthur C. Clarke (1975)
(Stanislaw Fernandes’ cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover: “2276 Welcome to Earth for America’s Quincentennial! The Time of Troubles is over. War and Poverty are read. And Duncan Makenzie, benign ruler of the distant world of TItan has returned to the planet of his forefathers to solve a mystery and create a son. A clone. An exact replica of himself. IMPERIAL EARTH.”
3. The Naked Sun, Isaac Asimov (1957)
(Dean Ellis’ poor cover for the 1972 edition)
From the back cover: “The Planet Solaria could destroy Earth in two seconds flat… And probably would — eventually. Solaria was powerful and power-hungry. It had taken over two hundred years to develop the ultimate weapon — a massive army of robots that could obliterate Earth and rule the universe in a matter of days. But now that would have to wait. One of Solaria’s most eminent scientists had suddenly been found brutally murdered. Only Earth’s most famous detective, Elijah Baley, could solve the dark, baffling mystery. Solaria demanded his help. Baley didn’t want to go. But how could he refuse? earth’s very existence was at stake.”
4. Dorsai! (variant title: The Genetic General), Gordon R. Dickson (magazine publication 1959)
(Jordi Penalva’s cover for the 1980 edition)
From the back cover: “DORSAI! Not all the other wolds of men combined would dare to try conclusions with that one world of soldiers born and bred. DORSAI! More than wealth, more than fame, more than beauty, that name sets them apart from ordinary humanity. DORSAI! But through it is the heritage of them all, still it belongs more to one certain individual than all the rest. His name is Donal Graeme. He is the ultimate, perfect man of war. This is his story. DORSAI!”
19 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXVII (Cowper + Asimov + Clarke + Dickson)”
Dorsai! is the third book of a trilogy. You can read it on its own but it’s better to get the other two books as well – Tactics of Mistake and Soldier, Ask Not.
Oh, well, I generally read by publication order and it was definitely the first published book.
It was originally published as The Genetic General, but later rewritten as Dorsai! when it became the third book of the trilogy.
Cool. The store where I bought a copy for 50 cents also had the others (someone clearly ditched their entire Dickson collection) but I assumed Dorsai! was the first.
Ian, are they any good?
See http://iansales.com/2007/05/23/its-in-the-memes-er-genes/ 🙂
Hmm… Well, I sort of expected them to be average. But, I sort of need to read them anyway considering some people hold them as classics of the era. And yes, they were probably influential for military SF.
I still have a soft spot for them, tho I don’t think they’re very good. I have the other Dorsai books – Lost Dorsai, The Spirit of Dorsai and The Dorsai Companion (all in nic etrade paperbacks) – which are okay. Don’t bother with the other Childe Cycle books, tho – Necromancer, for example, is really crap..
I’ll get to them eventually. My (momentary) desire for brainless but fun pulp is being satisfied by Brian N. Ball’s delightfull Singularity Station (1973)….
Then I want to read something a little more inventive/experimental — probably Effinger’s Relatives (1973).
My thoughts on Necromancer: http://iansales.com/2010/05/30/readings-watchings-6/ and The Spirit of Dorsai and The Dorsai Companion http://iansales.com/2009/06/08/recent-reading-watching-roundup/
I’m more likely to simply dump the whole lot of Dickson into the bargain bin. I’m about ready to ignore his novels and stick to his short work.
Haha, well, you must admit, you liked The Alien Way — and even gave it a higher rating than me…
Joachim, you’ve gone mainstream! Asimov, Clarke, and Dickson all in one shopping spree! 🙂
And surprise surprise, it has the most views of any of my acquisition posts over the course of two days!
But, I have reviewed the works of all three authors before 😉 And you see how I placed Cowper, whom no one reads, first? HAHA
And, I don’t think that Imperial Earth is one of Clarke’s better known novels.
I remember loving Richard Cowper’s novel Clone back in the day, but I never got aorund to reading anything else by him. I can’t wait to hear what you think of Time Out of Mind.
Ah, well, you should read Cowper’s Profundis (1979). I found it refreshing and funny…. Not a masterpiece but definitely worth the read.
I was just reading about Dorsai yesterday and it registered as a book I would be interested in checking out.
Real nice set of recent acquisitions!
Weirdly, I’m most excited about the Cowper novel. And if I remember correctly Imperial Earth was my single favorite Clarke novel when I was a kid…
I actually thought the Cowper sounded interesting, and wow, what a cover.
I’ve only read Clarke short stories and have yet to read one of his novel length works.