New books! At one point in time I had a copy of Frank Herbert’s great Destination: Void (1966). However, it wasn’t the original 1966 version but a rewrite from the late 70s. Generally I prefer reading the first published versions (unless they were serialized in magazines) so I was desperate to get my hands on a copy.
More Sladek! The Müller-Fokker Effect (1970) is his best known novel. SF aficionados of the 60s/70s often describe Saldek as one of the unsung comedic/satirical greats. I’ve read his first novel a while back, The Reproductive System (variant title: Mechasm) (1968) and had a lukewarm reaction. I will definitely pick up The Müller-Fokker Effect before the year is out.
Margaret St. Clair’s Sign of the Labrys (1963) has proved to be one of the worst books I’ve read this year. But, I will give her short stories, the the collection Change the Sky and Other Stories (1974). another chance.
2theD at PotPourri of Science Fiction Literature send me Douglas R. Mason’s The Resurrection of Roger Diment (1972) a while back. Mason’s The Eight Against Utopia (1966) was downright dismal so I’m not sure when I’ll get to this one.
1. Destination: Void, Frank Herbert (1966)
(Uncredited—looks somewhat like Di Fate?—cover for the 1970 edition)
From the back cover: “Four scientists and a human cargo of thousands. They were headed toward a planet circling the far distant Tau Ceti—a ripe Eden world waiting to be plucked for the future of the human race. But three-fourths of the way through the Solar System, their ship failed: its propelling engines, three all-powerful human brains had suddenly, quite inexplicably gone mad.
They were trapped in space, at the mercy of the ship, and there was only one possible solution for survival—to create a “conscious” mechanical brain able to guide them to their destination.
But would there be enough time before they plunged into oblivion—for they were working with limited resources, under unbearable pressure… and against impossible odds.
2. Change the Sky and Other Stories, Margaret St. Clair (1974)
(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition)
From the back cover: “Change the Sky is a fascinating blend of science fiction, fantasy, and the special kind of sorcery that only Margaret St. Clair can summon.
Change the Sky is a collection in which you will find:
—a man who spent his life searching for the world of his dreams and got exactly what he wanted
—a woman who found the people around her so boring she changed them.
—a righteous minister who preached an old-fashioned Christmas and started an energy crisis—2000 years in the future.
Change the Sky is a collection of the best stories from a renowned author’s long and distinguished career in the science fiction field.”
3. The Müller-Fokker Effect, John Sladek (1970)
(Gene Szafran’s cover for the 1973 edition )
From the back cover: “Can a human being be reconstituted like orange juice? To find out, the Army backs a futuristic research project that transfers a man’s personality onto computer tapes. Guinea pig for the experiment is technical writers and dreamer Bob Shairp. But the project barely gets off the ground when a computer accident wipes out Shairp’s mortal body and only his tapes remain. Is Shairp doomed to this encoded state forever? Or can the bizarre process be reversed?
4. The Resurrection of Roger Diment, Douglas R. Mason (1972)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1972 edition)
From the back cover: “Urania was a happy city. And Uranians were a happy people. Why Not? from the moment of birth they had the best of everything. All their sensual pleasures were gratified, while the finest medical care kept them healthy and beautiful. Living was one long round of gaiety, excitement, no joys denied, no needs to extreme to be completely fulfilled. From the moment of birth to the moment of beautiful death. For no one every grew old and ugly.”