An eclectic collection of 70s SF…. Two virtually unknown authors (Gawron + Pfeil) and two authors slightly better known by SF fans (Platt + Cowper).
I’ve not been impressed with Platt in the past—for example, maybe you all remember my review for Garbage World (1966) or Planet of the Voles (1971)? But, nothing peeks my interest more than future urbanization gone amok… [2theD’s review: here].
Richard Cowper’s work intrigues but I often find it on the slight side. See my reviews of The Custodian and Other Stories (1976) and Profundus (1979). The book I procured below is considered his most famous although the premise does little to inspire….
Donald J. Pfeil wrote three novels (SF encyclopedia is somewhat dismissive of all three) and remains best known for editing the short-lived Vertex magazine: according to SF encyclopedia, “in quality [Vertex] was the strongest of the new sf magazines from the first half of the 1970s.” Unfortunately, it ran into financial problems and folded after only a few years…. Might be worth collecting!
1. An Apology for Rain, Jean Mark Gawron (1974)
(Margo Herr’s cover for the 1974 edition)
From the inside flap: “We interrupt this program to bring you… We have just confirmed a report from a trusted aide of the General that the Nanya is dead.
Civil war rages in America of the future. But a war without cause, of few battles, and one terrible bomb. Bonnie Wolfe, young different, gifted with an undefined, untested power, sets out to probe the nature of this strange war. Her quest takes her in search of her brother Philip, its legendary leader. She is surrounded by the enemy; yet the question she must ask of her brother is, “Who is the enemy?”
AN APOLOGY FOR RAIN is a bizarre and provocative fantasy which uses the parameters of science fiction to explore the moral and political myths of today.”
2. The City Dwellers, Charles Platt (1970)
(Uncredited cover for the 1971 edition)
From the back cover: “In the 21st Century, when urbanization is reaching its limits, the population suddenly slumps…. The city is killing man—strangling and crushing humanity as effectively as the jungle destroyed the civilizations of the past.
—zombies, slum-dwellers, a pop star, and an architect—move like tiny insects through the vast empty steel and concrete landscape of the city.
decide to opt out of civilization…
dare not venture beyond the city limits…
which will survive?
3. Voyage to a Forgotten Sun, Donald J. Pfeil (1975)
(Bob Pepper’s cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “‘MAY YOU ROT FOREVER IN YOUR SEVENTH HELL!’
Trader Zim heard the sentence, but he didn’t believe it—20 years in isolation on some god-forsaken Class-IV planet. Hadn’t he been warned about the strict laws on Standra? Didn’t he know that an underground smuggling operation was sure to be discovered? Now he was doomed to rot in jail… unless he agreed to accompany the President of Earth back to his home planet. The mission was fraught with unknown dangers, but a wily Trader could always think of something…”
4. The Twilight of Briareus, Richard Cowper (1974)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “It took the light of the supernova Briareus Delta one hundred and thirty-two years to cross space to the Solar System. But the night it exploded in our sky was a night that would never be forgotten in the history of the world
For in that bath of cosmic particles, all things changed. Not only the weather and the flora and fauna, but humanity itself received what seemed to be its death sentence. Sterility signalled [sic] the end of man, until the strange children known as the Zeta-mutants began to appear.
Richard Cowper, author of CLONE and other sf novels, has produced in this new novel a gripping story of how one man coped with the terrible dilemma of his world—how he attempted to solve the problem of the girls with amber eyes and what he did when he found out what he himself had become during THE TWILIGHT OF BRIAREUS.