Dallas, TX Half Price Books haul Part II [Part I].
Only 2thD at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature has read more John Brunner novels than me (an overstatement of course). At last count I have read somewhere near eighteen of his novels (as diligent readers of my site know, I consider the 1968 masterpiece Stand on Zanzibar my single favorite SF novel). So, when I encounter any of the legions of his novels/short story collections that I have not yet read I snatch them up without a second thought. The most appealing thing about Double, Double (1969) might be the delightful name Brunner came up with for a band that somehow features in the plot–Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition.
Pamela Sargent’s Cloned Lives (1976) is the “other” SF novel about cloning released that year — the more famous is Kate Wilhelm’s stunning (and moody) Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976). I had high hopes for Sargent’s vision but considering I have already read more than half the novel I think they have been dashed to small bits — alas (review forthcoming).
And there is nothing wrong with more Clifford D. Simak and Harry Harrison.
As always, some intriguing covers….
1. Double, Double, John Brunner (1969) (MY REVIEW)
(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition)
From the back cover: “Inkosi — the magnificent Ridgeback. Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition — a pop-rock-mod group consisting in part of Bruno Twentyman, Cressida Begga, Gideon Hard, Liz, Hancy, Glenn and others. Dr. Tom Reedwall, who works for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Miss Felicia Beeding, a pathetically daffy old drunk, living in a burned out house above a chalk cliff. Joseph Leigh-Warren, a rundown journalist, mostly sour, sometimes vicious. Sergeant Brankstone and Rodge Sellers of the local constabulary. Radio Jolly Roger — a piratical broadcasting station whose personel sometimes fished. And many more. What peculiar invisibility tied these disparate types together — threatening to make them all the same? They themselves didn’t know — and perhaps never would.
2. Cloned Lives, Pamela Sargent (1976) (MY REVIEW)
(Walter Rane’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover: “2000 A.D. – 2037 A.D. The biological time bomb has explored and a new breed of human has taken shape. THE CLONES… There were five of them. Each a carbon copy of the other and of their “Father,” the famous astrophysicist Paul Swenson. There were very few of these specially bed children at the beginning of the 21st century. And the Swenson clones became the target of much hostility and abuse. But they had been cloned for a purpose/ And their creators were determined that they survive. This is their story, their dreams, theirs loves, theirs terrors and the strange destiny that kept them bound as one.”
3. All Flesh is Grass, Clifford D. Simak (1965)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1973 edition)
From the back cover of an earlier edition: “Purple Destiny. The strange but beautiful purpose blossoms now grew wild in his backyard… Brad Carter hadn’t paid them any mind for years, since his father died. But one day he tripped and fell into an alternate world — a world people by these very flowers. Was this beguiling “other” world connected to the very peculiar events which had suddenly occurred in Millville? The invisible barrier that surrounded the town so that human beings could not pass through it… The cordless telephones without dials which offered communication with a voice that had three distinct personalities… The bizarre behavior of some of the town’s most disreputable citizens…”
4. Captive Universe, Harry Harrison (1969)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1969 edition)
From the back cover: “Twenty-one-year-old, rebellios Chimal wants desperately to escape his native valley — an ancient Aztec civilization sealed off from the outside world. The cruel gods and priests who rule this valley with despotic laws perpetuate a life of fear and frenzy. Coaticule the Dreadful walks the river at night in search of taboo-breakers. One glance at her twin serpent heads instantly kills the beholder, sending him straight to the underworld. Citlallatonac, the fearful first priest, performs delicate operations on anyone believed to be possessed by the gods — sacrificial operations, that is. Chimal escapes — but the world outside, at once futuristic and backward, reverential and hostile, promises a nightmare he never bargained for….”