Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXVI (Le Guin + MacApp + Farmer + Anthology)

In my youth I read Ursula Le Guin like a madman—somewhere in the intervening years I misplaced my copies of her short story collections.  So, while voyaging to a nearby city (with Half Price Books) I decided to snag one—The Compass Rose (1982) contains mostly 70s short stories.  Excited.

I have been presently impressed with *some* of Philip José Farmer’s work—namely, Strange Relations (1960)—-so I could not resist a “best of” collection.

I am perhaps most excited about David Gerrold’s edited collection Generation: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction (1972).  Contains a wide range (and almost equal ratio of male/female authors) of fascinating stories.

 I bought C. M. MacApp’s Secret of the Sunless World (1969) due to the title and the amazing Berkey cover.  Now that I sat down and transcribed the back cover I rather dissuaded from picking it up anytime soon…

1. The Book of Philip José Farmer, Philip José Farmer (revised 1982, 1973)

(James Warhola’s cover for the 1982 edition)

From the back cover: “Phil Farmer’s Greatest Hits.  From horror to space opera, from fantasy to visionary SF, the selections in this volume cover the entire creative spectrum of one of the greatest talents in imaginative literature.  They were not only written, but personally selected and introduced by the author Leslie Fielder called ‘The greatest science fiction writer ever.'”

2. Generation: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction, ed. David Gerrold (1972)

(David Foster’s cover for 1972 edition)

From the back cover: “Here for the first time the brightest talents of the new generation of science fiction masters have been assembled to show where it’s at and where it’s heading.  You are invited to take trips with Roger Deeley… Piers Anthony… James Tiptree, Jr… Ed Bryant… Chelsea Quinn Yarbro…and 20 other spellbinding story-tellers to the most far-out frontiers of the modern imagination.”

3. Secret of the Sunless World, Carroll M. Capps (i.e. C. M. MacApp) (1969)

(John Berkey’s cover for the 1969 edition)

From the back cover: “SPACE PIRATE.  His name was Gondal, most feared of all the creatures in the universe.  But there was one ravenous ambition he had yet to satisfy.  On a distant, sunless planet lay the key to the secret of the humanoids who had strangely vanished after reigning over all space.  Gondal intended to discover the secret—and become master of the galaxies.  But Gondal needed one man to help him—and Earthling named Vince Cullow.  Prisoner on Gondal’s spaceship, Cullow was forced to choose between robot-like submission, and a kind of torture only the twisted mind of Gondal could conceive, as they sped toward the unknown…”

4. The Compass Rose, Ursula Le Guin (1982)

(Yvonne Gilbert’s cover for the 1983 edition)

From the back cover: “The Many Points of Wonder.  From dream worlds to nightmare planets, through mazes of madness to tiny time holes in space, down Pathways of Desire to a New Atlantis, THE COMPASS ROSE points the way to the wonder-filled mind-country of a remarkable writer.”

9 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXVI (Le Guin + MacApp + Farmer + Anthology)

  1. I’d have liked to have read the “Generation” anthology.The word speculative fiction on anything,always excites me,this one seeming to have shades of “Dangerous Visions”.I might of read some of them.

    Haven’t read “The Compass Rose”,but did “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters”,in the complete,single edition.I haven’t read that much of her fabulous stuff as I should have done.”The Left Hand of Darkness” was so excellent,and “The Dispossessed” and “The Lathe of Heaven” were worthy too.She did so much for women to be treated as equals in sf,as well as expanding the genre to take account of external social changes.

    The “Book of Philip Jose Farmer” was disappointing,as is so much of his stuff.He was controversial,as in “Strange Relations”,the same as he had been in “The Lovers”,but the shock value of the original works,has paled considerably over time,and have become insignificant for the same reasons much of his other voluminous stuff has,poor writing.It’s not unusual for his novels and short stories to ramble,which at times seems to serve no purpose other than extra padding,depending on the length of the piece,and lacks any thematic level,let alone readable prose.

    As I’ve said before,Farmer sits on a rather lowly tier than those considered the true giants of sf.It’s a pity,he had a rich lode of concepts and knowledge of mythological lore,but failed to economize.

  2. I absolutely love the cover for the Gerrold anthology, must try and find that one. Although the Farmer collection is a pretty odd image too. I have to say that I don’t mind Farmer so much, he went up considerably in my estimation after your recommendation to read Strange Relations which was fabulous. So many books as they say, so little time.

  3. I’d like to expand on my comment above, and give you a little context.

    I said, “I found “Secret of the Sunless World” an enjoyable space opera, not nearly as cheesy as the cover suggests.” I should have gone on to explain that I found it a fun, light action adventure. I think kind of a cross between a Keith Laumer novel and ‘Star Wars’. It has space pirates, secret agents, evil empires, ancient evils and the largest pirate hoard in our neck of the galaxy.

    I had probably gone back and re-read it half a dozen times before I lost it. Sure, it’s not a classic, but I’d recommend it anyway.

    And that’s the context; so many of the books I see on your site I owned in my ‘first’ collection. Some have been replaced, but many of the books I grew up with I haven’t read for thirty years.

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