Another wonderful batch including two novellas by Kate Wilhelm in the collection Abyss (1971).
A Norman Spinrad novel, The Men in the Jungle (1967), courtesy of the MPorcius, the proprietor of MPorcius Fiction Log. I sent him a portion of my wall of shame (i.e. worst SF novels) and got a few worthwhile ones in return…
Another Vance novel courtesy of MPorcius as well—one of the Demon Prince novels. Do I have to read them in order?
And Brian N. Ball’s first novel, Sundog (1965). I thought Singularity Station (1973) was unadulterated pulp fun.
So the Spinrad novel critiques pulp and Ball revels in pulp…
1. Abyss, Kate Wilhelm (1971)
(Lou Feck’s cover for the 1973 edition)
From the back cover: “Abyss anyone? Enter Kate Wilhelm’s realm of extrasensory perception, alternate universes, alien monsters, and something else, something much more strange… the abyss that lurks near each of us, ready to destroy us… or set us free.”
2. The Men In the Jungle, Norman Spinrad (1967)
(Uncredited for the 1969 edition)
From the back cover: “THE KILLER PLANET. Sangre has been ruled for three centuries by the cruel and corrupt Brotherhood of Pain, a priesthood dedicated to torture, murder, slavery, and even cannibalism. Bart Fraden senses on this distant planet the potential for revolution: tyranny and a brutalized people. But as his brilliant psychological war against Sangre’s capital city progresses, he is forced to recognize the possible disastrous consequences of his desire to leave a people to a better life. Sangre may cost him more than his life—it could destroy his soul…”
3. Sundog, Brian N. Ball (1965)
(Don Crowley’s cover for the 1969 edition)
From the back cover: “THE CAPTIVE HUMAN RACE. An unthinkably vast, invisible, and absolutely impenetrable screen imprisoned man within the solar system. Cut off from the stars, men applied their ingenuity to themselves, setting up a world of total control—where even dreams were programmed.”
4. The Face, Jack Vance (1979)
(Uncredited cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover: “THE FACE. Lens Larque was a man other men would die rather than look upon. A man so physically repellant and so steeped in evil that even the Darsh, a race who wallowed in every foulness and abomination, held him in fear and loathing. Shunner throughout the Oikumene, Lens Larque was not bent on vengeance—and a vengeance as sadistic, as ugle, and as brilliant devious as only his twisted genius could devise. Only one man could stop him: a solitary avenger sworn to drink the blood of the five Demon Princes who had killed his parents. His name was Kirth Gersen. And Lens Larque was fourth on his roster of death.”