A strange bunch….
Another Barry N. Malzberg novel—Chorale (1978)—to add to my nearly complete collection of his SF novels + short story collections.
Another Richard Cowper novel—purchased months ago mainly due to the gorgeous Paul Lehr cover. The whimsical subject matter of the work unfortunately does not match the profound and surreal stillness of Lehr’s vision.
A short story collection containing a nice range of nebula-nominated (and winning) short SF from 1970: Sturgeon, Laumer, Wolfe, Fritz Leiber, Lafferty, Harrison, Russ.
And finally what is supposedly one of Lafferty’s oddest experiments: Annals of Klepsis (1983).
1. Phoenix, Richard Cowper (1968)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1970 edition)
From the back cover: “‘A misfit, a throwback, a genuine freak. The Last Romantic”—thus the eighteen-year-old Bard, with typical eighteen-year-old romanticism, described himself and his attitude toward the 24th century Utopia in which he lived. It was dangerous bravado, for the rebel of the 24th Century could find himself “rehabilitated.” But Bard had a plan, a scheme rather: he would enter the Caves of Sleep until he reached the age of twenty-one and then he would be his own man without let or hinderance, and with control of a fairly large fortune. But even in the 24th century, schemes and plans have a way of going awry…”
2. Chorale, Barry N. Malzberg (1978)
(Gary Friedman’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the inside flap: “Kemper had the Answer; Reuter had the Problem. Kemper had figured it all out by the twenty-second century; he was a man of temporal science. The past did not exist. The past upon which the present was based had no credence unless it could be reconstructed, bit by tiny bit. Surrogates would have to go back in time and become the cast of thousands. Napoleon was needed; likewise the Kennedys, all four of them.
There were those who would have taken argument with Kemper, but Kemmper, unfortunately, was beyond dispute; in other words he was like all the other famous and infamous was dead. Kemper had the Answer; Reuter had the problem. Reuter, after proper indoctrination, has gone back to Vienna in the early 1800s to be, no less, Ludwig van Beethoven. Unfortunately Reuter is tone deaf, despises music, is appalled by Vienna, finds Immortal Beloved unreasonable, and doesn’t like being Beethoven too much either. Beethoven, Reuter has decided, was a disgusting man. Now and then Reuter jaunts back to his historical present to explain the problem to his supervisors. Unfortunately, they will not listen. Unfortunately, Reuter feels driven to take drastic action. Someone must listen. Didn’t they realize that it was all a fraud?
3. Nebula Award Stories Six, ed. Clifford Simak (1971) (MY REVIEW)
(Wilson McLean’s cover for the 1972 edition)
From the back cover: “SLOW SCULPTURE by Theodore Sturgeon. “Best Novelette 1970”. A haunting tale of a brilliant scientist in self-exile, a world which misuses its technological discovers, a Japanese bonsai tree, and the woman who penetrates the mystery of all three.
ILL MET IN LANKHMAR by Fritz Leiber “Best novella 1970.” As exotic as the tales of the Arabian Nights, the story of two men who plot to destroy the wicked ‘House of Thieves’ in the notorious city of Lankhmar, men who prowl through death-filled alleys to rob the rich, and their two women who fell victims to a deadly spell.
PLUS FIVE DISTINGUISHED RUNNERS-UP.”
4. Annals of Klepsis, R. A. Lafferty (1983)
(James Gurney’s cover for the 1983 edition)
From the back cover: “OH COME TO KLEPSIS TO CLAIM YOUR SHARE… AND BREATH THE RANK AND LAWLESS AIR!
Plots and intrigues and romances abound.
Smoke pictures, ghosts, and treasure chests to be found.
Magnifying monocles and hallucinogenic grapes—
the unvoiced dreams of the dregs of space.
Long John Tony Tyrone, the peg-legged historian,
And marries a Princess with rainbow hair.
But the Ghost of Christopher Brannagan will not rest
Until the mathematician Alonysius has put to the test
His Theory concerning the Doomsday Equation
Which might save the planet from total devastation.
Or might not.