Dallas Half Price Book Store Part III (Part I, Part II)!
A short story collection by an author I have termed Mr. Perpetually Average But Readable, Bob Shaw. I am interested in whether or not his visions are more concise/poignant in short story form. I suspect a book like One Million Tomorrows (1971) would have been amazing in short form, especially the disturbing portions that take place in Africa (the UN forcefully administering immortality treatment on people who do not want them)….
A Nebula award nominated novel by Marta Randall, Islands (1976)—immortality themed, seems (at first glance) to be on the allegorical side = I have high hopes.
More Brunner! (Despite his warning, I was influenced by a review over at Speculiction…. here) But then again, I am a Brunner completest…. And finally, a relatively unknown British SF novel, Implosion (1967) about a decreasing population. Despite words of warning from reviews like Ian Sales’ (here) I couldn’t resist the Vincent Di Fate cover.
1. Tomorrow Lies in Ambush, Bob Shaw (1973)
(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover of an earlier edition: “A baker’s dozen of the best, including “What Time Do You Call This?” — a widely ironic story about a bank robber who shuttles to an alternate universe and runs into himself. “Communication”— a modest plan by a shaman spiritualist gets out of hand when the dead begin to contact him. “…And Isles where Good Men Lie”—a space caravan of scale-armored, bacterial-laden immigrants begins to make landings on Earth every twenty-two hours… and is likely to do so for the next twelve centuries. And many more in which TOMORROW LIES IN AMBUSH.”
2. Islands, Marta Randall (1976) (MY REVIEW)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover of the 1980 edition: “Islands. She was Different. The immortality treatments had failed. She was destined to grow old, to wither ad fade among them—the wondrously beautiful, gloriously van, Immortals. After the floods, they rebuilt the earth. Now the Immortals lived in transmutable homes, they traveled the galaxy, they colonized the sea floor. There was no place for her in their sparkling cities. Because she was different–she would die. Her refuge was aboard ship, on the Ilium. Her ocean-floor exploration of buried islands yielded treasures the Immortals prized. But among the ruins she discovered a dark, enclosed place—a special room which contained a power the Immortals had lost, a power that if she could but learn it, would transform the world forever…”
3. The Traveler in Black, John Brunner (1971)
(Diane and Leo Dillon’s cover for the 1971 edition)
From the back cover: “WHEN CHAOS RULED THE COSMOS. The time was the unguessably remote past–or perhaps the distant future. Throughout the universe, Chaos ruled. Scientific laws of cause and effect held no force; men could not know from one day to the next what to expect from their labors, and even hope seemed foolish. In this universe there was one man to whom had been entrusted the task of brining reason and order out of chaos. He was a quiet man dressed in black who carried a staff made of light, and wherever he went the powers of Chaos swirled around him, buffeted him, tested him. He fought them, and little by little he drove them back. But the Traveler in Black himself belonged to the anti-science universe. If he succeeded in his task of changing the order of the cosmos, could he continue to live?”
4. Implosion, D. F. Jones (1967)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1972 edition)
From the black cover: “IMPLOSION. An inexplicable decline in birthrate leads to an investigation and the discovery that the water of Great Britain has been poisoned by a chemical that has left almost all the women sterile. Dr. John Bart, Minister of Health, must find a way to remedy the situation. He decides to put all the fertile women in breeding camps, and then learns to his horror that his own wife is among those who must go…”
15 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXXIII (Randall + Brunner + Shaw + Jones)”
The Marta Randall book sounds pretty amazing. I have to track that down.
She was even president of Science Fiction Writers of America in the 70s! (the first female president). But, none of her work is remembered or republished despite her Nebula nomination… The fate of so many female writers (other than Le Guin) of that period.
I was first exposed to Vincent Di Fate’s artwork in 1978, in a book edited by Ian Summers called : Tomorrow and Beyond: Masterpieces of Science Fiction Art. I loved it then and still do today. Thanks for another fine example.
…Come to think of it, I believe he also did the early covers for Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon Novels…all of which I enjoyed greatly!
Well, here’s his listing on isfdb.com (it might be somewhat incomplete but it’s updated all the time).
I like him as well. Especially his more surreal works…
He also did a lot crud in the 80s unfortunately….
Like this “gem”
Wasn’t Islands one of the (four) Harlan Ellison ‘Discovery’ series? It’s on my search list only because of the H.E. tie-in but based on the two others in the series I’ve read wasn’t sure I’d be impressed. Will be curious what you think of it.
Doesn’t seem to be. It was only published twice (the fate of so many female SF authors in the 60s/70s) by Pyramid and Pocket Books. Here’s the listing…
I also realized that I have the revised 1980 edition. Not sure if that is good or bad. I tend to like reading the original versions.
Here’s the Ellison discovery listing…. (isfdb.org is your friend!)
The only one of those four I really want to read is Sterling’s Involution Ocean (1977).
Found this explanation of the HE link –
Hmm… Hence the confusion because it was never labeled as such.
Picked up a 1980 Pocket Books edition of Islands today. May take a while before I read it. Currently working my way thru most of Hermann Hesse’s works – something I’ve put off for years.
I am planning on reading it soon. Need to review Bishop’s A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire (amazing), Brunner’s awful Double, Double…. And finish reading Strete’s If All Else Fails…. (1980). But afterwards!
I’ve never read anything by Bob Shaw, any reccomendations?
Well, that’s the thing. As I pointed out, he is Mr. Perpetually Average…. Nothing is amazing and nothing is truly bad.
I sort of liked Ground Zero Man (1971) but it wasn’t all that great. He really isn’t worth tracking down. I do want to see if he’s better in short form…