Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XC (Wilhelm + Watson + Farmer + Bryant)

More Dallas, TX Half Price Book finds… and a few gifts from 2theD at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature (found on one of his infrequent trips to the states).

Can’t wait to tackle the Ian Watson collection — Ian Sales has characterized him one of the treasure of the British SF (I’ll post a book of his in the coming weeks).  Wilhelm’s extensive reputation seems to be based mostly on her Hugo-winning fix-up novel, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976).  It’s unfortunate that few read her other novels and short story collections.  The Nebula-nominated Margaret and I (1971) is a welcome edition to my collection.

I’ve not had success with Philip José Farmer in the past—To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971) might be the worst novel to win a Hugo—but the collection of 50s novelettes Strange Relations (1960) was too good to pass up.

And finally, my find of the holiday break, a SIGNED (with personal note) copy of Edward Bryant’s collection Cinnabar (1976)!  For a mere two dollars (incorrectly placed in the non-signed SF books)….

1. The Very Slow Time Machine, Ian Watson (1979) (MY REVIEW)

(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1979 edition)

From the back cover: “Travel to Haven, a world populated in time rather than in space, where process can be undone as easily as done, where the sun draws light into itself, and dreams run backward.  Visit an ordinary man, whose soul swims slowly around and round a goldfish bowl.  Take a trip on The Very Slow Time Machine, and stand in awe of a master of time and space, Ian Watson, the British SF Association’s Best Writer of the Year.”

2. Margaret and I, Kate Wilhelm (1971) (MY REVIEW)

(Uncredited cover for the 1978 edition)

From the back cover of a later edition: “What is happening to Margaret?  Margaret Oliver has left the prison of her disasterous marriage or a few days of rest at the remote sea cottage recently vacated by her Aunt Josie.  But instead of rest, she finds only torment.  Plagued night and day by terrifying visions, Margaret cannot escape the haunting presence of Josie and her lover Paul Tyson—the brilliant physicist whose explorations into the action of time have led to his mysterious death.  And all the while, her subconscious is painfully active…. goading her on… relentlessly questioning… twisting to the brink of insanity… Margaret Oliver is about to enter a world unknown to the science of man…”

3. Strange Relations, Philip José Farmer (1960)  (MY REVIEW)

(Blanchard’s cover fort he 1960 edition)

From the back cover: “Philip José Farmer is concerned with mankind—with the derivations and varieties of experience of which the men of the planet are capable–and he uses science fiction to brilliantly highlight the elastic range of human desire.  He appears to be writing and does in fact write with extraordinary vividness, of the lies and habits of totally alien creatures, but in so doing he skillfully throws into relief some of the strange peccadilloes and prejudices of humankind.  Thus in fantasy he does what the best fiction writers of all time have always done—he creates a mirror in which men, if they have the courage, to see themselves.  There is no more fascinating study.”

4. Cinnabar, Edward Bryant (1976)

(Lou Feck’s cover for the 1977 edition)

From the back cover: “CINNABAR.  Across the borderline of time and space… A magic city of infinite possibilities…  To experience the magic of Cinnabar…. use this book as your map.  Here are some of your traveling companions; Tourmaline Hayes, Network sex-star.  Obregon, the star scientists of the anti-city.  Leah Sand, melancholy media artist.  Jade Blue, the computer-womb-born catmother.  Cougar Lou Landis, once a pudgy kid, now the last hero.  Sidhe, the great white shark that sprang from oceans 350 million years deep!”

14 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XC (Wilhelm + Watson + Farmer + Bryant)”

  1. I really enjoyed Strange Relations – very solid 50’s stories that, like the stories of other innovative 50’s writers, broke new thematic ground, in this case dealing with cross-species sex. The novel of his (that I know of, anyway) that is most like these stories his classic The Lovers.

    I love that Cinnabar cover!

    1. I finished it two days ago and was impressed with the first two stories. The next three weren’t as impressive… But I definitely enjoyed the collection!

      Yeah, The Lovers was a novella (I think) that was expanded to novel length. I want to read both versions.

      1. I agree – the first two are the best. I thought Son was pretty good too – with shipwrecked sailor taken in by the maternal, intelligent sub. It was an interesting take on relationships with intelligent machines.

  2. Glad you’re happy with the purchases and gifts 😉 My parents just received your SF care package. We ought to read and review Cinnabar at the same time, considering that I, too, picked it up in December… kinda like a double-date with a book.

  3. I’ve disliked most of the few Farmer’s I’ve read as well. However, Image Of The Beast was pretty amazing, a completely ridiculous pornographic Hollywood pulp. One especially memorable scene involves the inflated skin of a character floating about the room.

    1. Me too. I reviewed Traitor to the Living (1973) a while back and was scarred by how inept it was.

      https://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/book-review-traitor-to-the-living-philip-jose-farmer-1973/

      I read the first three Riverworld novels and they got progressively worse, if that is possible considering how bad the first one was. Other than those four novels I’ve been reluctant to read any of his other stuff. Although, Strange Relations seemed intriguing and collected some of his early material when he actually was edgy!

      I do want to read Lord Tyger (1971) — the whole metafictional pastiche element of the work might be appealing.

  4. I’m curious about Strange Relations. Don’t we all live in a very slow time machine?

    Based on this and other things you’ve written, Wilhelm seems like she would have been perfect for writing Twilight Zone episodes.

    1. Well, I’ll have a review up soon! Perhaps today!

      Haha, besides the fact that we can’t go back in time…

      She’s definitely a proponent of the taught psychological drama. I’m interested in whether this measures up to her other work. I want to acquire copies of City of Cain (1974), Let the Fire Fall (1969), Year of the Cloud (1970) with Theodore L. Thomas, Fault Lines (1977), Juniper Time (1979), The Clewiston Test (1976)…. there are so many!

  5. I read Cinnabar last year, and though I can remember bits and pieces of it, I can’t remember what I thought of it overall. It’s in the “sell back to bookstore” box though. So I guess I was dissatisfied at the end.

      1. I wish I’d never sold that near-fine copy of Planet Stories with a Wally Wood cover and a story signed by Poul Anderson. Oh well, it was hard times. Collectibles are little bits of connection to the SF history that interests us.

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