A very odd selection today… Some Christmas gift card holdovers and one volume I purchased online. Including Edgar Pangborn’s most famous novel, a bizarre anthology of future artistic visions (with stories by Ellison, Clarke, Effinger, Zelazny, Dickson, Kornbluth, et al.), a collection of Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s SF stories on music, and a most likely horrible pulp slave planet rebellion type novel by Laurence M. Janifer.
1. Davy, Edgar Pangborn (1964)
(Robert Foster’s cover for the 1965 edition)
From the back cover: “MEET DAVY, A YOUNG MAN YOU’RE NOT LIKELY TO FORGET.”
John Clute’s description via SF Encyclopedia: “By the time of Davy’s birth, 250 years later, the land has long been balkanized into Ruined-Earth feudal enclaves, rather romantically conceived, and Davy’s picaresque adventures (which he recounts in retirement) generate what might be called a kind of nostalgia for a livable future, though at the same time it is clear that Davy, and those he inspires, will necessarily begin to rebuild a more complex world.”
2. The Metallic Muse, Lloyd Biggle, Jr. (1972)
(Ed Nuckroll’s cover for the 1972 edition)
From the inside flap: “Lloyd Biggle, Jr. is not only a writer, but also a musician. In The Metal Muse he has included seven science fiction stories, written over several years, all of which in some way relate to the arts. Thoroughly entertaining and provocative, many of the stories explore the intricate relationship between life and art, and all of them contain very pertinent ideas about present and future experience. Superbly demonstrating their author’s depth of insight to the human condition, they offer to all who read them an intriguing blend of accurate analysis and sometimes devastating speculation.”
3. Slave Planet, Laurence M. Janifer (1963)
(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1963 edition)
From the back cover: “THE MASTERS. Johnny Dodd: he had everything a man could want on Fruyling’s world—except freedom from the horror of being there. Dr. Haenlingen: icy, reserved, the architect of the system that kept men on top and aliens enslaved. Norma: warm and human, she was Dodd’s one hope for salvation. THE SLAVES. Cadnan: he did what he was told… until the Masters told him to die. Marvor: the first of his race to have an independent idea—an idea that was dangerous and deadly. Dara: green and reptilian, but beautiful enough to inspire Cadman to the slave world’s worst crime.
As the space fleets of an outraged Terran Confederation close in on the outlaw planet of Fruyling’s World, the destinies of slave and master meet explosively, and from the shock of battle and its aftermath come an unexpected and awesome conclusion.”
4. The Arts & Beyond: Visions of Man’s Aesthetic Future, ed. Thomas F. Monteleone (1977)
(Jonathan Weld’s cover for the 1977 edition)
From the inside flap: “This unusual illustrated anthology contains twelve stories that explore the concept of art as it has been envisioned in recent science fiction. Some of the stories reprinted in this collection are acknowledged classics: they have been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. Four stories have been especially written for this volume: “The Masterpiece,” by J. J. Russ;”Eldorado,” by Charles L. Grant; “Camera Obscura,” by Thomas F. Monteleone; and “Shoppe Keeper,” by Harlan Ellison. Together they comprise haunting, sometimes amusing visions of what man’s aesthetic future may be like: a museum curator discovers a crude work of art fashioned by an alien otter; an artist puts his dying energies into the greatest telepathic sculpture known; a new artform is developed that crosses 3-D pictures with human emotions; the Ultimate Artist works in a medium that is the very time of the Universe itself. Wonderfully speculative fantasies about the future of creativity in which artists are touched by some most unusual muses… With sketches by some up-and-coming artists that bring equally unique visions to science fiction.”