I have yet to read anything by the Nobel Prize for Literature-winning author Doris Lessing… And she wrote numerous SF novels—I’m very excited that I found one in a clearance section for 2$. I also found one of the very few 1970s works by Silverberg not in my collection. Dickson’s supposedly most mature novel (which I doubt is very good) also joins my collection. So far the only Dickson I can tolerate are a handful of his short stories. And finally, my last acquisition is one of Robert Sheckley’s best-loved novels.
1. The Memoirs of a Survivor, Doris Lessing (1974)
(Brad Holland’s cover for the 1988 edition)
From the back cover: “In a beleaguered city where rats and roving gangs terrorize the streets, where government has broken down and meaningless violence holds sway, a woman—middle-aged and middle-class—is brought a twelve-year-old girl and told that it is her responsibility to save the child. This book, which the author has called “an attempt at autobiography,” is that woman’s journal—a glimpse of a future only slightly more horrendous than our present, and of the forces that alone can save us from total destruction.”
2. Born with the Dead, Robert Silverberg (1974)
(Jim Burns’ cover for the 1984 edition)
From the back cover: “For Sybille Klein, death was a chance to leave life’s pain and be rekindled to a strange half-life among others of her kind. For her husband Jorge, it was the beginning of an obsessive quest to bring her back, to defy the boundaries of mortality itself. BORN WITH THE DEAD, Rober Silverberg’s Nebula Award-winning novella, has been hailed as one of his finest works, a shattering clash between love and oblivion. It is included here with two other powerful novellas of the human spirit—THOMAS THE PROCLAIMER and GOING—both nominated for the Nebula Award.
3. The Far Call, Gordon R. Dickson (serialized: 1973)
(Robert Adragna’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition with the same art: “ON THE THRESHOLD OF A COSMIC FUTURE. Along with a very few among the Earthbound billions of the 1990s, Jens Wylie dreamed of a future for Man among the stars. He seized the chance to become US. Undersecretary for the Development of Space and to help plan the first manned Mars voyage. But political compromise and corner-cutting built disaster into the expedition from the start.
And when disaster struck, threatening the lives of the marsnauts and the whole destiny of the human race in space, only Jens saw what had to be done—and to do it, he had to risk his own life, face the loss of the woman he loved, and defy the awesome power of the President of the United States.
Vivid in action and rich in character, The Far Call, by the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Timestorm, is a soaring epic of our own near future and of the dreamers and does who will make it come to pass.”
4. Mindswap, Robert Sheckley (1966)
(Howard Darden’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover: “It all started with a perfectly ordinary classified ad:
Gentleman from Mars, age 43, quiet, studious, cultured, wishes to exchange bodies with similarly inclined Earth gentleman; August 1-September 1. References exchanged. Brokers. Protected.”
At 31, Marvin Flynn was practically an adult; was it merely the visages of adolescent foolishness that sent him to the body-brokerage firm of Otis, Blanders and Klent? Or was it extraterrestrial fervor? Whatever it was, Marvin knew he must see the Burrows of Mars, the Talking Ocean, the Disappearing Desert and—above all—Mud Heaven.
What he didn’t know was that more than one person had claims on the body of Ze Kraggash, and that before he was finished he would see more strange sights—through even stranger eyes—than he had ever imagined; that in his desperate struggle for continued corporeal existence he would fall prey to Metaphoric Deformation, the limitations of the Set-Expansion Factor, and at last descended/ascend/extend to the strange and unexplainable reached of the Twisted World—for the ultimate MINDSWAP.”