Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXXIV (Pohl + Brown + Biggle, Jr. + Darnay)

Some goodies! Half Price Books in Dallas, TX Part IV (Part I, Part II, Part III)…

Some early satire by the late master, Frederik Pohl—Drunkard’s Walk (1960).  An early metafictional SF novel in the form of Frederic Brown’s Martians, Go Home (1955).  I suspect works such as this one, about a SF writer presented with a real alien invasion, inspired Brian N. Malzberg’s numerous similarly themed experiments.  Also, Brown is one of the more famous 50s/60s authors I’ve yet to read.

Added to the mix are two unknown quantities—Arsen Darnay’s post-apocalyptical A Hostage for Hinterland (1976) and Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s All the Colors of Darkness (1963) with a wonderful (and bizarre to boot!) Hoot von Zitzewitz cover.

Any thoughts? Comments?

1. A Hostage for Hinterland, Arsen Darnay (1976)

(Boris Vallejo’s cover for the 1976 edition)

From the back cover: “Apocalypse from the hinterland.  They rode to the floating urban structure city on horseback.  Ecofreak tribesmen in beaded leather suits.  Their long hair was braided, their faces tanned; and gilded red Crestmore bibles hung from their belts.  They had come to negotiate with urban leaders for the helium so desperately needed to keep the structures aloft.  At least, that’s what everyone thought…  But the truth was that they had come to fulfill a prophecy — a prophecy of death and carnage that would sweep the powerful urban structures from the face of the Earth forever!”

2.  Martians, Go Home, Fredric Brown (1955)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1956 edition)

From the back cover of a later edition: “They were green, they were little, they were bald as billiard balls, and they were EVERYWHERE.  Luke Devereaux was a science-fiction writer, holed up in a desert shack waiting for inspiration.  He was the first man to see a Martian… but he wasn’t the last!  It was estimated that a billion of them had arrived — one to ever three human beings on Earth — obnoxious green creatures who could be seen and heard, but not harmed, and who probed private sex lives as shamelessly as they probed government secrets.  No one knew why they had come.  No one knew how to make them go away —  except, perhaps, Luke Devereaux.  Unfortunately, Devereaux was going slightly bananas, so it wouldn’t be easy.  But for a science fiction writer nothing was impossible…”

3. All the Colors of Darkness, Lloyd Biggle, Jr. (1963)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s wonderful cover for the 1965 edition)

From the back cover: “FIVE HIDEOUS THINGS STARED AT EARTHMAN JAN DARZEK…  He was their captive on the moon,  Jan would have given anything to know whether those “faces” masked emotions of violence, contempt, murder—or worse—if this alien race had emotions at all!  His one chance at escape depended on knowing.  And he had to escape—for if these creatures decided that the soul of earth were the wrong color, then they would destroy the world!”

4.  Drunkard’s Walk, Frederik Pohl (1960)

(Nik Puspurica’s cover for the 1960 edition)

From the inside flap: “He was a master teacher—respected, successful, his life well rewarded in past accomplishments and rich in the promise of achievements to come.  And yet he was fighting a bitter battle with a savage, bewildering drive to self-destruction.  But when he really began to prove the reasons for his “madness,” the battle with himself became a puny thing beside the power his new information could release.  If he could live that long.”

  1. I loved A Hostage for Hinterland. I’m looking forward to your take on it.


    1. Cool, I was planning on reading it soon… We’ll see!


  2. Hoot von Zitzewitz is the best name I’ve heard in awhile!

    And that Powers cover is hard to find, I am envious of your collection!


    1. Oh, I don’t own the Powers cover 😦 I wrote in the blurb underneath “From the back cover of a later edition” — unfortunately, my copy has a green hideous alien and I couldn’t possibly post it! haha. If I write “from the back cover” without “later edition” or “earlier edition” it’s one I own….

      I have the hideous 1976 Freas cover.

      I did an art post on Zitzewitz a while back.

      Here’s his isfdb.com listing (mostly rad collages).



      1. I guess I was too excited and read too quickly!

        While I don’t care for Freas, his work does at least make me laugh!


        1. Such a lame cover…

          Yeah, I wish I had that Powers cover. But at heart, I really want the book and if it has a good cover all the better, if not, too bad. That said, would NOT buy a Baen edition if that was the only one on the shelf of a book I wanted!


          1. Baen just makes me embarrassed to say that I read Sci-Fi. I’d never want to be seen reading one of those copies on the subway!

            I’m probably the opposite regarding collecting. I have a lot of Powers, Lehr, Schoenherr and other great covers, but that means I have a lot of bad books!


            1. I do occasionally buy books based on their covers (same list, Lehr, Powers, Schoenherr). But then they sit there on the shelf unread for years…

      2. Ha! I know it’s heresy to say this here, but I’m a big Freas fan and I’ve always loved that cover. It was the cover that caused me to buy the book way back when it first came out. My memory of the book was that it was a funny idea for a short story or novelette, but as a novel it was stretched way too thin. I remember being particularly disappointed in the ending. Did you know it was turned into a movie starring Randy Quaid? The aggregate users rating on IMDB is 2.7 (out of 10) which is the worst rating I’ve ever seen on the site.


        1. *shudder* — to both the film and Freas’ art 😉 haha


  3. “And yet he was fighting a bitter battle with a savage, bewildering drive to self-destruction.  But when he really began to prove the reasons for his “madness,” the battle with himself became a puny thing beside the power his new information could release.  If he could live that long.”

    Who knew that Pohl was actually really writing about George W. Bush..?


    1. Haha. In this case, it is a satire of academia… I don’t exactly have high hopes.


  4. I hadn’t read any Biggle prior to buying The Fury Out of Time (1965) and a collection, The Metallic Muse (1972), last month. Any good?


    1. I’ve only read The Light that Never Was (1972). It was definitely different than normal SF fare… It’s about alien artists and artistic malaise.


      One of those he’s strange and I feel like I should read more but I’m unimpressed so far type authors.


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