A more disparate series of SF novels would be hard to come by…. John Crowley has long impressed—The Deep (1975) and Beasts (1976) are highly recommended works of literary SF. And finally, I have the last one of his 70s novels!
A new author in Somtow Sucharitkul (sometimes known by S. P. Somtow)…
Vance’s most famous work and one of only a handful of supposedly top-tier “classics” I have yet to read…
Pournelle anyone? First work by him as well… Baen book picked up a number of his novels so I don’t have high hopes.
1. Engine Summer, John Crowley (1979)
(Gary Friedman’s cover for the 1979 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition: “RUSH THAT SPEAKS. Born into the community of Truthful Speakers one thousand years after the Storm, he was raised on stories of the old days—a world filled with saints, a world in which all things were possible, a world which finally destroyed itself. In love with a beautiful woman, Rush journeys far and learns much. Taken into the society of Dr. Boots’s List, attached to the old mysteries, Rush grows closer to a sainthood he could never have imagined.”
2. Starship & Haiku, Somtow Sucharitkul (sometimes as S. P. Somtow) (1981) (MY REVIEW)
(Gerry Daly’s cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover: “A millennial war left a sullen void where Civilization once stood… But then the whales began their song—a mysterious song that resounded throughout the polluted tale that moved the survivors to revive an honored ritual… And at the vanguard stood Takahashi, self-appointed Death Lord—a man gone mad in the wake of the chaos. He saw himself an artist whose greatest creation was a living haiku, with a last line as exquisite as it was final—the end of all human life. Only once chance remained for Josh Nakamura, for his younger brother Didi, and for Ryoko, the beautiful daughter of a high minister of Japan. They must take the whale’s legacy and leave the planet before they too became part of Takahashi’s terrible poetic vision…”
3. Birth of Fire, Jerry Pournelle (1976)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition: “The Project—an insane plot perpetrated by a few foolhardy maniacs? Or the only hope for freedom for Mars? This was the decision Garrett had to face when he arrived on Mars, a convicted murderer who had chosen slavery to Earth’s Federation of corporations on the alien planet over life imprisonment on Earth. The Project wanted Garrett. He had the skills they needed. The skills of a brutal street-fighter combined with a knowledge of electronics, surpassed only by that of the beautiful Martian-born Erica. And if the Federation got Erica, there was Garrett’s sinister pact with her. A pact which, much as he loved her, he was pledged to fulfill… and a Marsman always keeps his word.”
4. The Dying World, Jack Vance (1950)
(Uncredited cover for the 1979 edition)
From the back cover: “They wait… on a dying world of mystical spells, wondrous curses and demonic creatures of the night… They are Turjan, the scientist who struggles to create life… T’sais, the enchantress from Embelyon, who journeys to faraway Earth, seeking beauty and love midst the dim forests and misty crevices of that magical land… Guyal of Sfere, born with an ache for knowledge that carried him to Museum of Man and the wisdom of the universe.”