Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXV (Delany + Wyndham + Budrys + McIntyre)

*preliminary note:  I am on something of a semi-hiatus—PhD writing and the like.  However, I have a Malzberg review of Scop (1976) nearly complete and might do a rundown of the SF I’ve been unable to review over the past few months in a more informal format (one paragraph reviews or something of that ilk)—Phillip Mann’s Wulfsyan (1990), M. John Harrison’s The Machine in Shaft Ten (1975), etc.

In my recent travels, I stopped in Nashville, Tennessee and picked up three of the four novels for under a dollar each.  McIntyre’s novel is the sole Hugo Award Winner for best Novel between the years 1953 to 1990 I’ve not read.  I should remedy that immediately as I’ve enjoyed her other work—for example, the novella “Screwtop” (1976).

Budrys’ novel actually sounds like I’d enjoy it despite my dislike of some of his work (and views)…. It certainly is my type of SF story concept-wise.  The last Delany novel missing from my collection and everyone loves Wyndham and immortality SF, right?

Thoughts?

1. Dreamsnake, Vonda N. McIntyre (1978)

DRMSNKA21978

(Stephen Alexander’s cover for the 1978 edition of Dreamsnake)

From the back cover of a later paperback edition: “The Healing Poison.  They called the healer Snake, and she bore the name proudly, for the medicine she distilled from the venom of the viper she carried with her was a potent cure; and the soothing power of her other companion, the alien dreamsnake, banished fear.  But the primitive ignorance of those she served killed her dreamsnake and wrecked her career—for dreamsnakes were dreadfully rare, and Center would not grant her another.

Snake’s only hope was to find a new dreamsnake—and on her quest, she was pursued by two implacable followers, one driven by love, one by need fear and need.”

2. Trouble with Lichen, John Wyndham (1960)

TRBLWTHLCH1977

(Paul Giovanopoulos’ cover for the 1977 edition)

From the back cover: “You should live so long… It had been an inadvertant discovery for lovely Diana Bracklet as well as for Francis Saxover.  Neither knew the other had perfected the antigerone, but both realized the dangers inherent in such a scientific breakthrough.

There could never be enough of that precious substance for everyone… and that was a secret that had to be kept at any cost.  So Diana Brackley and Francis Saxover—each in his own own way—decided who would live forever.  And they didn’t tell anybody.  That  seemed like a good solution.  But only time will tell…”

3. The Balland of Beta-2 / Empire Star, Samuel R. Delany (1965/1966)

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 8.03.13 AM

(David Meltzer’s cover for the 1975 edition)

From the back cover: “Empire Star and The Ballad of beta-2 are two of the finest short novels by one of the most talented writers in the Science Fiction field, a writer with a well-earned reputation for imagination and style.

In THE BALLAD OF BETA-2, Joneny, a student of galactic anthropology, is given the assignment of finding the meaning behind the ballad of a starship lost centuries before.  In Delany’s hands, Joneny’s routine research project becomes a perilous quest of miraculous knowledge.

EMPIRE STAR is the the story of Comet Jo, the cat-bodied star-wanderer who meets, in his travels: the Lump, a half-alien, half-machine; Ni Ty Lee, the suicidal poet of the starts; the strange multiplex consciousness called Jewel… and the race of beings upon whose salvation rested the fate of civilization.”

4. Michaelmas, Algis J. Budrys (1976)

MCHLMS1978

(Don Grautigam’s cover for the 1978 edition)

From the back cover: “MICHAELMAS BUILT DOMINO.  DOMINO BUILT MICHAELMAS.  TOGETHER THEY BUILT A WORLD.

Domino is not just a computer.  He “is” all the world’s electronic data secretly linked, and through him the TV personality Laurent Michaelmas controls the news he is famous for reporting—until the day he and Domino discover they are not the only ones running the world!”

17 Replies to “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXV (Delany + Wyndham + Budrys + McIntyre)”

  1. I have “Dreamsnake” on my wish list.I think that’s probably the next one I should go after.I’ve only just read “The Ballard of Beta-2”,and it was readable,but was weakly plotted and vague I thought.I also recently read “Nova”,but I think the best one of his,was “The Einstein Intersection”.

    I read Budry’s “Rogue Moon”,which wasn’t bad,but seemed vague.I would hope “Michaelmas” is better.Don’t like the cover at all though.

    1. Not necessarily looking for plot in my SF — I tend to find Delany very evocative in different ways…

      But yes, I loved The Einstein Intersection/Nova/Triton/Dhalgren etc.

      Falling Torch was bland — that is all I know about Budrys’ SF.

      https://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/book-review-the-falling-torch-algis-budrys-1959/

      (All the Michaelmas covers are horrible. I saw the novel on the top of someone’s Best SF of the 70s list many many many many years ago. Can’t remember who)

      1. No I don’t worry about the actual plot either.I think there should be a strong structure to give a novel strength to hold it together.Characterization and original ideas are important.

        “The Einstein Intersection” as I remember,is a strong novel partly because it refers to the crossing point where myth and science intersect,that refers to the title of the book.I shall have to reread it sometime.

  2. That Budrys looks really interesting to me. I hope you’ll let me know if it’s any good.

    I feel like I read a large number of Star Trek tie-ins by Vonda McIntyre and liking them. Danged if I can remember what they were called, though.

  3. I await your reviews of the Budrys (which I read and liked) and the Wyndham (which I have not read).

    I should find my review of Budrys’ Hard Landing from the 1993s and post it. That would involve digging through the paper archives though …

  4. Joachim:

    I just joined your site and glad to see you back. I’m keeping track of things here to stock up my own shelves -AND go find the ones I see on your list. Like the Susie Charnas book: that just moved up on my to-read list.

    Cheers,
    Adam

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I am back momentarily 😉 There is nothing I really do about the absence…. so much on my plate at the moment.

      If you haven’t seen it yet, I have a nice handy list of all the works I’ve reviewed by ranking. It should be noted, as you can probably tell, I like the more unusual/literary/inventive SF from the 60s/70s….

      https://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/science-fiction-book-reviews-by-author/sci-fi-book-review-index-by-rating/

  5. You might be right about all Michaelmas covers being horrible. I have this one:-

    Not read it yet, so if you review it before I get there, I’ll be very interested!

  6. I’m a pretty big Wyndham fan (planning to start “Chocky” in a day or two) but “Trouble With Lichen” is so far the only book of his I didn’t really enjoy. Wasn’t awful, just wasn’t as snappy as his others.

  7. Hi Joachim! I am Nikos, you have one of the greatest blogs! Great analysis and too many book reviews. can i ask you why you dont have Stanislaw Lem books? Thank you keep on

    1. Thanks for the kind words. My site is only a snapshot (I do not review everything I read) from the past few years. I have read a good 10 of his novels/short story collections—and often reference him in reviews of other authors—before I started my site (and The Futurological Congress afterwards but never wrote a review). But, I do not write reviews of books I read multiple years ago — i.e. hundreds and hundreds. I own 17 of his novels/collections etc.

Comment! Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s