Prepare for a glut of “Recent Science Fiction Acquisition” posts!
From my recent travels and a gift from a friend (@SFPotpourri)….
Michael G. Coney is an odd bird. If you’re curious what I might mean, check out my reviews of Friends Come in Boxes (1973) and Hello Summer, Goodbye (variant title: Rax) (1975). In short, I had to procure a short story collection!
Chad Oliver, an early proponent of anthropological SF, intrigues yet frustrates—I need to read more than The Shores of Another Sea (1971) to come to a firm conclusion about his fiction.
And Kate Wilhelm, my views are firmly established — in the spring of last year I put together a Kate Wilhelm guest post series. Check it out! I’ve posted reviews for the following: her early collection (for fans of 50s SF only) The Mile-Long Spaceship (1963), her spectacular collection with numerous award-winning stories (for fans of experimental SF) The Downstairs Room and Other Speculative Fiction (1968), her solid SF + psychological horror novel Margaret and I (1971), and her even better novel Juniper Time (1979).
And New Dimensions IV (1974), an anthology edited by Silverberg—with a story from one of the unsung SF greats, David R. Bunch. I have discussed but not reviewed his collection Moderan (1972). I placed it on my top 10 SF works (pre-1980) for inclusion in the Gollancz Masterwork series list. And, has anyone read Felix C. Gotschalk? It contains two stories by this unknown (at least to me) author. An overall fantastic lineup (Malzberg, Lafferty, Dozois, Bunch, etc.)….
[does anyone know the artist for the Silverberg edited anthology?]
1. Monitor Found in Orbit, Michael G. Coney (1974)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1974 edition)
From the back cover: “The brilliantly innovational mind of Michael G. Coney has rapidly gained him high standing among the big new names in science fiction. His novels FRIENDS COME IN BOXES, MIRROR IMAGE, and THE HERO OF DOWNWAYS have demonstrated his power and have gained him award nominations.
Equally skilled in the field of the short story, many of Coney’s unusual tales have been reprinted in special anthologies. In this new book, Coney presents his own selection of his best. Of his work he stated: “I was aiming at a different type of SF, a type of story where science and characterization went together in such a way that the denouement was a result of the characters of the people concerned and their reaction to the scientific (generally sociological) premise rather than a gimmick ending based on the premise itself.”
MONITOR FOUND IN ORBIT will prove to be a reliable beacon for searchers after fine science fiction.”
2. Children of the Wind: Five Novellas, Kate Wilhelm (1989)
(Morgan Pickard’s cover for the 1989 edition)
No synopsis included. Contains: “Children of the Wind” (), “The Gorgon Field” (), “A Brother to Dragons, a Companion to Owls” (), “The Blue Ladies” (), and “The Girl Who Fell into the Sky” ().
3. Unearthly Neighbors, Chad Oliver (1960)
(Uncredited (Richard Powers?) cover for the 1960 edition)
From the back cover: “The anthropologist’s dream…
Monte Stewart was an extremely intelligent, somewhat contentious anthropologist, with a sense of humor and a non-conformist approach to life. As an expert in his field, he was chosen to approach the first apparently human-like form of life ever to be encountered on another planet.
Here was the chance he had been waiting for all his life—an opportunity to make contact, to investigate, to ascertain the facts about an altogether new man-like species—with the added knowledge that the peace of the worlds depended upon the establishment of friendly relations.
But Steward and his party of experts couldn’t get to first base. They tried for weeks—and then vicious unreasoned tragedy struck their camp.
What had gone wrong?
Who were these ‘people’?
Why had they attacked the humans?
Stewart had failed in his mission, but for his own peace of mind he had to discover the answers—and this he could now only do alone.”
4. New Dimensions IV, ed. Robert Silverberg (1974)
(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition)
From the back cover: “TEN TALES OF INVASION, EXPLORATION, AND THE UNKNOWN—
THE EXAMINATION by Felix C. Gotschalk: A little “girl,” a doctor, and a test—but who is doing the testing?
THE COLORS OF FEAR by Terry Carr. They came from the stars to bring Earth light. Were they angels from heaven or harbingers of hell?
AMONG THE METAL-AND-PEOPLE PEOPLE by David R. Bunch. They lived to fight and fought to win, but the only price was war.
ANIMAL FAIR by R.A. Lafferty. When man comes to his judgement, will a rhinoceros sit on the jury?
STRANGERS by Gardner R. Dozois. If you take an alien rife, will she or you be an alien for life?
NEW DIMENSIONS IV—a journey beyond space and time to the worlds of imagination.”
16 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLI (Wilhelm + Oliver + Coney + Anthology)”
if that Chad Oliver book is Ballantine serial number 365, then it is a Powers cover, according to my copy of a biography of Powers.
Chad Oliver’s story collection “Another Kind” is worthwhile too. A bit uneven but there’s some interesting ideas for Sci-Fi with an emphasis on Anthropology.
And that’s a good Kelly Freas cover!
On the spine it says 365K. So, Powers? it definitely looks like the style he was experimenting with in the early 60s.
I am actually more tempted by the short story collection than this novel — he might be better in the short form.
The figures on the Powers cover look odd to me – makes me wonder if its some kind of collaboration with another artist.
The Coney collection contains early stories which are not his best short work. That said, I liked the experimental title story.
As to ND#4, the Dozois was/is a major novella/short novel. We lost a major writer’s output when he went off to become an editor for decades.
A while back I reviewed Dozois’ short story “Horse of Air” (1970) in Orbit 9 (1970) and thought it was a masterpiece.
Unfortunately it appears to be Coney’s only collection stories!
Several of Coney’s ‘Peninsula’ stories were fixed up into ‘The Girl with the Symphony in her Fingers’ (different US title). The novel turns them into something darker than the series was generally, though, and I’d recommend the individual pieces. You need to start buying magazines (several were in F&SF and Galaxy)….
The setting is similar to Vermillion Sands but the stories are tonally different. The stories centre on a slithe-farmer called Joe Sagar and an ammoral, narcissistic ex-holo star called Carioca Jones. Add organ-transplants, sling-gliding and mousetrap plots for some of his best work.
I don’t have room for collecting magazines at this point in my life 😉
Darker sounds good…. all his work has a unsettling undercurrent.
The original story “The Hook, the Eye and the Whip” (1974) that was expanded into The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch (1975) (variant title The Girl with a Symphony in her Fingers) appeared in this intriguing collection: The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction (1980). Maybe I’ll track that collection down!
Nice haul. I know what you mean about Chad Oliver, I’ve read several of his shorts and found them interesting, but lacking in their execution… still, hard to beat another Powers cover.
That Wilhelm looks good; I still need to read Coney; New Dimensions is a series I’d like to start collecting once I acquire some more shelf space (and finish reading all the Universes and Orbits I already have).
‘The Hook…’ isn’t one of the stronger ones, and it was more than that one story that made up the novel.
If it has to be a book I’d suggest ‘Bartholomew & Son (and the Fish Girl)’ in New Writings in SF #27, but you would be better off with ‘The Girl with the Symphony in her Fingers’ from Galaxy or ‘The Cinderella Machine’ from F&SF. I’m quite surprised that none of these (apart from ‘Those Good Old Days of Liquid Fuel’ which is slightly different from the other series stories) made it into any of the ‘Best Of….’ collections.
Now that this subject has come up I think I’m going to go back and reread them all.
What confused me is that The Internet Speculative Fiction Database only indicates that one story was rewritten for the novel — it is clearly incomplete!
@Chris: I need more Orbits, Universes, New Dimensions, Continuums — haha! It never ends. As for Oliver, I found his 70s novel felt like a 50s novel. Perhaps I’ll have a different view of him if I read some of his 50s work.
Yeah, ISFDB is incomplete in series story identification.
The series consists of: THE GIRL WITH A SYMPHONY IN HER FINGERS; THE HOOK, THE EYE AND THE WHIP (GALAXY, January & March 1974); BARTHOLOMEW & SON (AND THE FISH GIRL) (NEW WRITINGS IN SF #27,1975); THOSE GOOD OLD DAYS OF LIQUID FUEL; THE CINDERELLA MACHINE; CATAPULT TO THE STARS; SPARKLEBUGS, HOLLY AND LOVE (F&SF, January & August 1976, April & December 1977); PENNY ON A SKYHORSE (GALILEO #11/12, 1979), DIE, LORELEI (F&SF, May 1993); POPPY DAY and MEHITABEL’S MEMORIES (Spectrum SF #5 & 6, 2001).
Not all of these are fixed up into the novel. There is one other unpublished story (although that was available on his website shortly after her passed away).
Thanks for the info!
My guess for the Chad Oliver cover artist is Ralph Brillhart. Brillhart worked in a wide variety of styles – pulp, graphical, realism, and surrealism. In other words, whatever an art director wanted. Some of his covers clearly show the influence of Richard Powers (see J. Hunter Holly, “The Running Man,” Monarch Books, 1963 http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?264700 ). The uncredited cover for Frederik Pohl’s “A Plague of Pythons” (Ballantine Books, 1965), which is stylistically similar to the Chad Oliver cover, has been wrongly credited in the past to Powers. The original painting has Brillhart’s signature. (Both SFE and ISFDB have entries on Brillhart.)
I’ve looked through Brillhart’s catalogue in the past but he never came to mind… A Plague of Pythons cover is easily his best as well.