Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXVIII (Malzberg + Robinson + Berk + Ball)

A few more books from Carl V. Anderson‘s gift + two acquisitions of my own.  Including my first Spider Robinson novel, an unknown post-apocalyptical quantity via Howard Beck, and more pulp by Brian N. Ball—not going to lie, Singularity Station (1973) was fun!

I now own a nearly complete Barry N. Malzberg collection of his SF solo works (i.e. no co-written novels with Bill Pronzini).  What I am missing: his first two novels which are more speculative rather than SF, Oracle of a Thousand Hands (1968), Screen (1968), his SF novel Scop (1976), his movie novelization Phase IV (1973) which I have held off buying despite seeing it for cheap in used stores, and his non-SF novel Underlay (1974).  I have all his collections of short fiction pre-1994 other than Final War and Other Fantasies (1969), The Best of Barry N. Malzberg (1976), and Down Here in Dream Quarter (1976).

Thus, I own a grand total of 28 Malzberg novels and collections!


1. Overlay, Barry N. Malzberg (1972)

Screen shot 2015-03-11 at 10.14.49 AM

(Ray Feibush’s cover for the 1975 edition)

From the back cover of an earlier edition: “Loser.  Earth was a planet of incompetents, but Simmons was the greatest loser of all.  It seemed as though the powers of the universe were concentrated on grinding his small soul into the ultimate insignificance… until the aliens came.  To them, Simmons was the most important human on the planet—for only through him could they overcome this world.”

2.  Timepiece, Brian N. Ball (1968)

(Mort Engle’s cover for the 1970 edition)

From the inside page: “‘Jordan Delvaney!’ The call to action: somewhat a disaster, a cataclysmic monkeywrench smashed into the delicate re-creation of reality that was the twenty-ninth century form of leisure activity.

Someone had twisted one of the carefully arranged Plots that were the set-pieces known as The Frames.  But this time, correcting the chaos of riot and murder that could result from such deviations was the only the beginning of Del’s troubles.  This time, cause and effect led inevitably to an ancient intergalactic ship, to the eerie plunge into hyperspace in search of a chunk of writhing time somehow poised in thermodynamic equilibrium in its own strange universe—this time he had to find Time itself.”

3. The Sun Grows Cold, Howard Berk (1971)

(Uncredited cover for the 1972 edition)

From the back cover: “The time: The near future.  The place: America.  Across the devastated landscape of what once was the richest country on earth, a man and woman are running for their lives.  Their enemy: the government of the United States, which has become a monstrously powerful agency for the control of every human body—and every human mind…”

4. Telempath, Spider Robinson (1976)

(Uncredited (any ideas?) cover for the 1977 edition)

From the back cover: “The Windriders.  Spawned in earth’s long childhood of fire and stone, they were older than life itself.  They flourished in the stinking hell man called “civilization”—until that shattered and was gone.  Only then did they try to make contact, searching among the scattered bands of humankind for the telempath.  When they found him, he was missing an arm and had just murdered his father.”

19 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXVIII (Malzberg + Robinson + Berk + Ball)

  1. I had always assumed that the cover for the Malzberg book was by Bruce Pennington! I never owned it but it was fairly common in s/h shops; I suspect people bought it expecting an adventure to match the cover and were sorely disappointed…
    I still own the Howard Berk and, indeed, I re-read it not /that/ long ago.
    I can spoil it for you here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/17270214@N05/8172003602 🙂
    Not read the other two, although I have read books by each of them. Ball I might read more of if the opportunity presented itself, probably not Robinson though.

  2. No, I won’t argue with the isfdb.
    Feibush was most active during three of the years when Pennington was most in demand; maybe he developed a reputation for being like Pennington but cheaper/quicker/less in demand and filled a gap in the market.

  3. Yes, that’s right – it’s not Pennington. I can tell, because it is quite badly drawn in a few minor places and Pennington was a true draughtsman. More of a Pennington lookalike, as you say…

  4. ‘Telempath’ looks like Broeck Steadman. Somewhat of a guess, but the shading on the cliffs looks a lot like his work. He also did a lot of the illustrations for Spider Robinson’s work when it ran in Analog in the late 70’s.

  5. Oh, I do like Brian Ball. He had a couple of novels in this Frames continuity, and they’re all intriguing and odd. I’m sorry that he seems to have published this couple of books and then vanished, as best I can determine.

  6. Once you’re done with Malzberg’s Science Fiction you could start on his mainstream stuff… or his erotic novels… or the 14 volumes of MIke-Hammer style crime novels he wrote as Mike Barry… sometimes I wonder if his oeuvre is not a bottomless pit that keeps on spewing up more and more increasingly bizarre books. 😛

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