Updates: Additions to My Incomplete List of Worthwhile Classic Science Fiction Blogs/Resources

TRVLNGS1978 WPNGMT1978

(José Cruz’s cover for The Traveling Soul (1978), Hugh C. Rae; Carl Lundgren’s cover for Weeping May Tarry (1978), Raymond F. Jones and Lester del Rey)

Around three years ago I put together a list of sites and resources that exerted an appealing gravitational pull…. drawing me into their SF depths.  And it is time to add to the list!  If you haven’t seen the original and you like my site I recommend checking it out.

Unfortunately, a few from the original list have gone defunct or are on hiatus.  I will echo (and amend) my earlier call to arms!

“I love the idea of a community of science fiction reviewers–so I’ve put together a list of a handful of book review blogs focused on classic/slightly more esoteric science fiction.  Obviously there are plenty of great sites I’ve omitted that focus on new releases or visit vintage science fiction only occasionally….  Or, blogs that refrain from reviews of vintage science fiction unless participating in certain reading challenges….

Please visit them, comment on their reviews, and browse through their back catalogues.”

1. From Couch to Moon: Megan’s site focuses on classic SF (in addition to worthwhile read-throughs of newer award slates etc).  What perhaps delights me the most, other than her voracious SF passion and intellect that shows through in every review, are her stylistic pastiches—for example, her review of John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar (1968) in his style: “This is sensory overload. Polemics in the form of ADHD. Part oracle, part Anarchist Cookbook. A graduate of The Space Merchants Academy, hold the cheese.”

A sample of her reviews: a mini-flash paragraph that embodies what is so harrowing about J. G. Ballard’s  The Drowned World (1962) and a more traditional analysis of Suzy McKee Charnas’ masterpiece Walk to the End of the World (1974).

If you don’t follow her already, you are missing out!

Her review INDEX.

STNDNZNZBR1968

(S. A. Summit, Inc.’s cover for the 1968 edition)

2. SF Magazines: Paul Fraser’s site reviews SF magazines (and occasionally Horror and Fantasy) from the pulps to the present.  Some notable recent reviews include Science Fiction Monthly, April 1975 (what a disturbing Ray Feibush cover!) and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1951 (the oddly surreal cover by the F&SF stalwart, George Salter).

Here’s his review INDEX.

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3. A Jagged Orbit: Guy’s site showcases a range of genres including SF.  Recently, he is working through some of the authors that “were important to [his] teenage years” starting with Frank Herbert….  A few reviews: Frank Herbert’s Hellstrom’s Hive (1973) and Robert Sheckley’s The Status Civilization (1960).

THSTTSCVLZ1967

(Uncredited cover for the 1967 edition of The Status Civilization)

4. Paul Camp’s SF Amazon reviews: I have unsuccessfully attempted to get Paul to create a SF site to gather together his immense number of insightful SF reviews.  He resists.  Unfortunately, I find Amazon’s interface problematic as one cannot sort the SF reviews from other random reviewed products.  If you are willing to page through his reviews you will be pleasantly surprised.  Perhaps  additional comments from you all will persuade him to create a more accessible site.

Like me, Paul explores lesser known SF authors primarily from the 50s-70s and unlike me, he has a higher tolerance for pulpy SF.

A handful of illuminative recent reviews: The Best of Harry Harrison (1976) (cover by Ed Soyka), Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s collection The Metallic Muse (1972) (cover by Ed Nuckolls), and Philip José Farmer’s collection Strange Relations (1960).

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5. Schlock Value (reading cheap literature so you don’t have to): Thomas Anderson’s almost stream of consciousness reviews are a hoot and a holler!  He reviews SF which we might not want to read, the pulpiest of the pulp, the most non-sensical nightmares of inept prose… And he revels in their horrors and celebrates their few moments of clarity and insight.

Some examples: Hugh C. Rae’s The Traveling Soul (1978) and Raymond F. Jones and Lester del Rey’s Weeping May Tarry (1978).

6. Unsubscribed Blog: This site is not a review site.  Rather, he posts high quality scans of various books from his immense SF collection.  Fodder for the secret (or not so secret) collector desires that exist in all of us….  Unfortunately, he has not posted in a few months and I hope all is well!

Two recent posts that showcase gorgeous covers for Keith Laumer’s novels and a wonderful Ace Double illustration by Ed Valigursky...

Here’s an example of the high quality scans he provides!

the-infinite-cage-by-keith-laumer(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1974 edition of The Infinite Cage (1972), Keith Laumer)

7. Tongues of Speculation (the many tongues of translated speculative fiction): I featured Mike’s main review site (Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature) on my previous list.  He created a new one to showcase foreign SF that exists in English translation… talk about a serious deficiency in my SF knowledge!  He is especially interested in Russian and Japanese SF.  I recommend taking a long and happy browse….

Review INDEX organized by language.

8 thoughts on “Updates: Additions to My Incomplete List of Worthwhile Classic Science Fiction Blogs/Resources”

  1. Thanks for the very flattering review of my reviews! As you know, I love your site and rely on it a lot as a resource and watering hole (at which I mainly lurk). I love Schlock Value for a great laugh every Sunday night, and I’m so glad Mike’s been doing Tongues in Translation– he always turns up interesting stuff. Unsubscribed is always fun to look at and A Jagged Orbit is one I’ve only recently discovered (I’ve enjoyed Guy’s reviews on Goodreads and Worlds Without End, but didn’t realize he had his own dedicated blog until not very long ago). SF Magazines and Paul Camp’s reviews are new to me, so I’ll need to check those out!

      1. No problem! Thank you for your kind words. I really wish that Paul Camp would move his reviews to a site — I still tend to post mine on amazon as well, it’s not all or nothing. And I suspect way more people visit a site than troll through someone’s amazon profile. That said, 70% of the time I want to procure a book (especially from the 60s) Paul has a review on amazon…. the rest of the time Mike does… hah.

  2. Hi Joachim

    I want to thank you for including my site. Hopefully this will be the kick in the pants needed to get me reading and discussing SF a bit more. I want to commend you on mentioning the Unsubscribed Blog, his photos of the wrap around covers of Ian Miller and Chris Yates are truly wonderful. I do think if only fair to mention re earlier comments that I have not posted to Goodreads or Worlds without End, as I would not want to take credit for another’s work.

    Again thanks very much.

    Guy

  3. I will be back from my hiatus soon, I swear 🙂 … reading has taken something of a backseat to, say, fixing plumbing. Or buying plates. Or sleeping.

    Worthy selection of blogs. Megan’s is one of my faves, great combination of analysis, insight, and snark. Schlock-Value is always entertaining, Guy’s is shaping up nicely, and Mike’s second site is a great resource for exploring non-English SF. I’ve seen Paul’s reviews on Amazon, same as you, and wish there was an easier way to read all of them…

    1. Come back!

      I should be on hiatus, but, writing a post is therapeutic. And I like the conversation.

      I really wish Paul would pull all his stuff together on a site. I’ll try again.

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