Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXVIII (Anthologies: Again Dangerous Visions, Vol. 2, Orbit 8; Schmitz, Malzberg)

Nearing the end of my undocumented purchases… A great series of coves — including Richard Powers and Paul Lehr.  Again, Dangerous Visions Vol. 2 (1972) (did not realize it was in two volumes, but alas) and another Malzberg novel, The Last Transaction (1977) to add to my nearly complete collection of his solo written novels.

Thoughts?

1. The Eternal Frontiers, James H. Schmitz (1973)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “The celebrated author of THE WITCHES OF KARRES has outdone himself in this non-stop adventure on a deepspace world at war with itself.  The descendants of earth, now two distinct cultures—almost two separate species—struggle for control even as factions within factions fight their own battles.   Crowell, born a Swimmer but a Walker by choice, is caught in the middle.  But when an utterly alien force of incalculable power begins to wreak destruction on all sides, it is Crowell and his beautiful fighting companion to whom the planet looks for deliverance.”

2. Again Dangerous Visions Vol. 2, ed. Harlan Ellison (1972)

(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1973 edition)

Contains no substantial back cover blurb.  Stories by Lee Hoffman, Gahan Wilson, Joan Bernott, Gregory Benford, Evelyn Lief, James Sallis, Josephine Saxton, Ken McCullough, David Kerr, Burt K. Filer, Richard Hill, Leonard Tushet, Ben Bova, Dean R. Koontz, James Blish, A. Parra (Y Figueredo), Thomas M. Disch, Richard A. Lupoff, M. John Harrison, Robin Scott, Andrew Weiner, Terry Carr, James Tiptree, Jr.

3. Orbit 8, ed. Damon Knight (1970)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition)

From the back cover: “Orbit 8 is the latest in this unique series of anthologies of the best new SF.  Fourteen stories written especially for this collection b some of the top names in the field.

Harlan Ellison in “One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty” tells a moving story of a man who goes back in time to help his youthful self.

Avram Davidson finds a new and sinister significance in the first robin of Spring.

R. A. Lafferty reveals a monstrous microfilm record of the past.

Kate Wilhelm finds real horror in a story of boy-meets-girl.

And ten other tales by some of the most original minds now writing in this most exciting area of today’s fiction are calculated to blow the mind.”

4. The Last Transaction, Barry N. Malzberg (1977)

(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1977 edition)

From the back cover: “His newest work, The Last Transaction, is a deep and fascinating look at memories, inner compulsions, torments, triumphs, and events in the life of a President of the United States in a world gone mad, from 1980 to 1984.  Even more, it is a perceptive vision of the major issues our society will face tomorrow.  Sure to be controversial, possibly prophetic, like anything Barry Malzberg writes, this novel is an experience you will not forget.”

36 Replies to “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXVIII (Anthologies: Again Dangerous Visions, Vol. 2, Orbit 8; Schmitz, Malzberg)”

  1. Haven’t read the sequel to “Dangerous Visions”.The faces on the Malzberg one are excellent……..brilliantly done.

    1. It looks like there’s some great stuff in there. And a LOT of authors whose works I have not read. I’m not sure how I’m going to review it — perhaps in segments (else the review would be too long and impossible to get through).

      1. There’s some really fine pieces in there,but to my mind at least,Dick’s “Faith of Our Fathers” is the best one by several paces,and if you think I’m being invidious to the other authors,I’d say it was also better than most of his proceeding short stories.In the introduction to it,Ellison says,”if the book was to approach new concepts and taboo subjects,stories that would be difficult to sell to mass market magazines or the insulated specialist magazines of the sf field,i had to get the writers who were not afraid to walk in the dark.” Perhaps none could have been braver,and that says it all I think.

        If it hadn’t of been for DV though,it would never have been published and probably never conceived.Such is the history of speculative fiction I’d say.

            1. Yeah, I’ve not read anything by Grahan Wilson, or Lee Hoffman, or Joan Bernott, or Evelyn Lief, or James Sallis or Ken McCullough or Robin Scott, or Andrew Weiner, etc. So, this volume of “Again” should be fun. Do need vol. 1 of “Again” though!

            2. Yes it takes time to get through,and some of the stories are of rather less quality than others,which can make it take longer.

              Regarding FOOF again,considering it was written nearly 50 years years ago during more conservative times,it’s not surprising that some of it’s shock factor has worn off.I’m reminded of Philip J.Farmer’s “The Lovers” in this respect,but this one also contains political and theological themes,that makes it stand up today.I hope that’s true of most of the others in the anthology,otherwise why would it be reprinted ?

              I’m interested in the second volume though.

  2. “Dangerous Visions” was published in numerous editions. I believe that I have read all of the stories in the two volume hardback set, but I can’t be sure. This collection really launched Ellison’s “800 pound gorilla” phase where he leveraged his popularity into a tool for terrorizing publishers into giving him creative control over his works.

    Amusingly enough his fan base and well known willingness to engage in temper tantrums with editors managed to secure him about the same level of control that any self-publisher on Amazon enjoys today.

    1. It isn’t “Dangerous Visions” — I own that one already and have read the majority of the stories in it. This one is “Again, Dangerous Visions” — the second anthology he released in that series. It’s a few years later.

    2. There was too much interference by pernicious editors in the past.”Dangerous Visions” was meant to break the mold,by publishing maverick short stories that “they” wouldn’t get near to.It did,and was exponential in changing what was a more staid genre.

      1. I still wish he’d relinquish his copyright control of the unpublished stories in the planned but unpublished The Last Dangerous Visions… He seems to have allowed some to be published (but not sure how the copyright works exactly).

  3. That cover on the Malzberg is absolutely awful! Horrible, with hardly any skill in delineating the faces, or the whole composition, for that matter – none of it works at all. The whole thing is utterly ridiculous, too, with the woman sticking out of the missile silo, etc, and the mushroom cloud is SO badly done – it looks like some spilt ketchup! Poor old Malzberg – he must have flinched when they told him this cruddy ‘art’ would be the cover for his novel…

    1. I’m rather ambivalent. But as Tom Hering pointed out below Walotsky was perpetually underachieving.

      Malzberg almost always got horrid covers! Those Charles Moll ones for example *cringe*

      For example:

  4. Love the schmitz cover (of course) plus the Ellison & Lehr artwork are pretty damn tasty too. Just picked a copy of that Malzberg title up recently for a few quid – well, you have to really don’t you? Enjoy the books Joachim.

  5. The Lehr and Powers covers are gorgeous, though the typography is overdone on the Powers – obscuring too much of Powers’ composition. Walotsky again proves himself one of the worst cover artists of the period. I can’t imagine what art directors ever saw in him. He must have worked cheap.

  6. I did a Complete Reread on Again, Dangerous Visions a couple years ago in rec.arts.sf.written. It’s a pretty good grab-bag of stories, some of which still feel dangerous, some of which feel just embarrassing, some of which feel like they could run in any old magazine these days without drawing attention. In part, then, one would have to say the attempt at smashing the status quo succeeded brilliantly, then.

    I am curious whether a similar status-quo-breaking anthology could succeed today; are there artistic or topical boundaries serious enough that they’re hard to overcome? I’m skeptical that there are, although collecting a bunch of “dangerous” stories into a large enough mass has got rather some power.

    1. What were your favorite stories in the collection? Any by authors who aren’t that well known?

      But yes, just looking at the author list I can see it’s grab-bag approach. But why not bring some lesser names to the table! 🙂

  7. Joachim Boaz, That Malzberg cover is my least-favorite cover, for any book, ever–for months after my last move it sat on a stack of books and for some masochistic reason I left it there so I’d see it every day. (Why, I don’t know.) The book itself ain’t great, but I eagerly look forward to reading all of his SF. I’m not sure I give Dangerous Visions as much credit as some; it seems it was riding a wave, not creating one. Yet it was the book that introduced the young me to so many of those writers. With the perspective of decades, A,DV seems to me to have more truly weird, truly out-there stories, imagery from which has nagged at me for ages. DV’s best story, to me, is The Malley System by Miriam Allen DeFord, and the best of A,DV would be the one by Bernard Wolfe, author of LIMBO.

      1. I’m not sure I’d agree with you here. For my money the “New Wave” began in the early 60’s , probably with J.G. Ballard’s stories and the stuff Moorcock was publishing in New Worlds. It had definitely been around for at least a couple years when DV came out. (For instance, Ellison’s story “Repent Harlequin…” came out in 1965. Surely that counts as New Wave.)

        BTW, you could do worse than to collect all of the volumes of the Orbit series. Not only do they all have Paul Lehr covers, but they also have a pretty consistent amount of quality stories.

  8. The British and the American New Wave movements,I think coincided at the same time,with Ballard and Moorcock in Britain and Zelazny,Delany and Ellison in the USA.With the increasing changes within the genre,the Nebula awards were instituted in 1965,to nominate and recognize works ignored by the rulers of the Hugos,and Zelazny,Ellison and Herbert[he was new wave?]won the first ones.The so called “New Wave”,doesn’t include other writers who didn’t belong to this group or any movement,who nevertheless were contributing new and vital stuff,such as Dick and Vonnegut.

    In 1967,Micheal Moorcock who a nebula for a novella published in “New Worlds”,which had been written at least a year earlier,and the pieces published in DV,had been composed between one to two years earlier.It included American and British authors,so the composite time of composition,was relative.A sort of international,literary hedonism I think,was in the air at the time.

    I’ve said before,that much of the shock factor of the first DV has worn off after so many years,but the fact that it’s still reprinted,shows that there’s deeper currents to be found in each individual piece.It’s just that with such a large volume of short stories,the quality will vary,and to be honest,some of them weren’t so shocking at the time.The best ones will contain theological,political,sociological themes that will last.

  9. I agree with pscamp01, in that the New Wave had already kind of started, in spits and spurts, by the early 60’s. Some would even say that writers like Alfred Bester and Pohl/Kornbluth, and of course, Dick, were the earliest progenitor’s of a type of proto-New Wave, as early as the mid-50’s. And that Charles Moll cover is bloody revolting, Joachim – well done for finding something even worse that the Walotsky, ha ha!

    1. New Wave I think refers to a movement of authors,in which their books resemble each other,something like an art movement.This was true of Zelazny and Delany,who seemed vastly different in their ideas,but were linked by a progression in style and a common interest in themes such as mythology.

      The ones you mention above,belonged to no movement or school in authorship,but rather were unique individuals,and I think that’s what made them great.I’ve already mentioned Dick,Ballard,Sheckley and Vonnegut as penning novels in the early sixties,that changed the inner genre,who worked independently of each other,and the fact that so many seminal books appeared at the same time,is probably a case of parallel development.

      I think they had a later influence on the authors I mentioned above.

      1. Well, we should realize that SF authors working independently from one another can still be grouped — in that, they are obviously inspired by trends occurring in Literature i.e. the postmodernists such as Borges (Well, we can argue about that) and Burroughs, etc.

    2. Almost all of his covers elicit that reaction. I get why they’re paired with Malzberg in that they are in your face, somewhat radical, and have some Black Comedy elements — but I prefer all of those things in prose rather than art (haha).

  10. They were still doing important,exponential stuff though,that was just as important.The New Wave didn’t stop in the mid-sixties though,and included late comers such as Disch,Silverberg and LeGuin near the end of the decade,all of which have been called as such.

  11. I go with Clute’s entry for the New Wave in his SF Encyclopedia, which is earlier than just about every other mentioned above: He charts the “official” beginning in 1963 in New Worlds, but says the stories that led to the recognition of such actually began as early as 1961. So, yeah, Dangerous Visions was, for me, riding a wave that had been cresting for quite a few years in publishing terms for “cutting edge” stuff.

    1. Yes,but as I’ve said before,the New Wave seemed to take account of individual groups,such as Moorcock,Ballard and Aldiss of “New Worlds” and the fraternity of Zelazny,Delaney and Ellison,not individuals who were following their own particular direction in creating new and radical stuff.The fact that it was all happening at the same time though,shows that there was a current of change occurring in the genre,and seems to point at parallel development.It has already been said though,that it reflected changes outside of genre sf too,and the same powerful influences were being exerted on those following their own course within it.

      “Dangerous Vision” took it a step further,and brought them all together.It created a family of new age authors of speculative fiction,with a common vision allowing them to step over the edge.

  12. You have some good reading ahead, especially the Ellison anthology and the Malzberg novel. Orbit 8, like the rest of the series, is packed with good early SF.
    Also a good read as well as fun are accounts of Ellison vs. the publisher to get the anthology out on time. There was supposed to be a volume three but Ellison being Ellison it never happened. A number of people in the SF biz couldn’t stand his attitude but the world needs more rebels like Harlan. Recommended reading of his work…everythi9ng no matter the genre.

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