Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLVII (Sturgeon + Sheckley + Scortia + Mannes)

I can’t pass up a Sheckley collection!

Nor can I pass up a rather unknown “discovered manuscript” type 1960s feminist dystopia by Marya Mannes.  She wrote for Vogue and The New Yorker over her career….

Nor can I pass up a Sturgeon collection (perhaps I will appreciate his more radical SF short stories?)….

And finally, a best of collection by an author who might not be worth exploring, but, sometimes short stories give a better impression of an author’s capabilities than a novel-length work.

As always, thoughts/observations/comments are welcome!

1. They, Marya Mannes (1968)


(Stanley Zuckerberg’s cover for the 1970 edition)

From the back cover: “THEY were young and had built a new world that worshipped only youth…

THEY were free and heedless of all form, all order…

THEY believed that logic and reason were meaningless—and that only psychic and bodily sensation counted…

THEY were about to destroy their past—and five brave defenders of that past.”

2. Can You Feel Anything When I do This?, Robert Sheckley (1971)


(Hans Arnold’s cover for the 1974 edition)

From the back cover: “SHECKLEY! In this, his latest collection of short stories, Robert Sheckley offers sixteen bizarre glimpses into the future–sixteen tales to delight, amaze and intrigue those who know as well as those not yet familiar with his work.

Witty and thought-provoking, each is centered around the foibles, eccentricities and desires of some very normal people, people like your neighbors, your friends, perhaps even like yourself.

The difference?

The time is the future, rules of logic have been thrown to the wind, and Robert Sheckley’s grasp of the human condition often leaves his readers more than a little disconcerted, amused and finally lost in thought.

CAN YOU FEEL ANYTHING WHEN I DO THIS? is Robert Sheckley at his most astonishing, entertaining and spine-tingling best.”

3. The Best of Thomas N. Scortia, ed. George Zebrowski (1981)


(Robert Aulicino’s cover for the 1981 edition)

From the inside flap: “These exciting stories present a dozen memorable moments from the career of one of America’s most popular authors.  Even while his work in aerospace helped send probes into the outer solar system, Thomas N. Scortia has been a provocative, thoughtful writer of science fiction, and the co-author (with SF veteran Frank M. Robinson) of several cautionary near-future best-sellers.

Here are the stories of people working to realize their dreams while struggling against the limits of the physical universe and their shortcomings.  “The Shores of Night,” a sweeping short novel, projects a vision of humanity’s heroic breakout into the galaxy.  “When You Hear the Tone” links past and future with a phone line.  “The Prodigy” details a violence conflict with a paranormal child and reaches one of the few unguessable resolutions of the mindpowers theme.”

4. Case and the Dreamer, Theodore Sturgeon (1974)


(Stanislaw Fernandes’ (?) cover for the 1974 edition)


ON VEXVELT: When Charie Bux found his garden of Eden and its perfect people, he wanted to share it with the whole universe.  If was then he learned why mankind had turned its back on Heaven…

ON EARTH: When the world is yours, anything is possible.  WHEN YOU CARE, WHEN YOU LOVE, and when you have enough money, even death can be the mother of life!

IN SPACE: Case had been dead for centuries when they woke him again to love.  For mankind was in need of its last explorer of space.  Yes, mankind had a desire that only case could fulfill.  But Case and his computer had a desire that was greater still!


14 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLVII (Sturgeon + Sheckley + Scortia + Mannes)

    • Haha, I have no idea if Mannes’ novel is worth reading! I took a chance, but a $1.99 chance. It’s worth it even if the novel is poor!

      I do get the impression is it is much more of a dialogue/polemic than a plot-driven novel. But then again, there’s plenty of political polemic in 1984, Brave New World, Heinlein and many classics. So, I’ve learned to not trust most reviewers…

  1. I’ve neglected Sheckley’s short fiction,although I’ve read four of his novels.The only collection of his I’ve read,is “The Wonderful World of Robert Sheckley”,the Bantam edition.

    I read the Pan version of “Case and the Dreamer” during my early science ficton reading days.I think I quite enjoyed it at the time,although it’s effects were not lasting.I no longer own a copy,but have read “If All men were Brothers,would You let one marry your Sister?” again in “Dangerous Visions”.I think I found it’s treatment of a risque theme,had lost it’s potency.

  2. HI

    Wow what great books. I am interested in how the Mannes and Scortia turn out and if they merit reviews. And I may have to track down the Sturgeon story to learn what this entails ” Case and his computer had a desire that was greater still!”. Also some great covers.

    Happy Reading

    • These and many previous acquisition posts are all books from this person with the initials “KWG”. They either died or decided to liquidate their entire SF collection… Had to create an entire “Vintage SF” series of shelves in the local used book store to fit them. I have gone through it a few times and other than a few esoteric volumes, I’ve grabbed most of the goodies I didn’t already own.

  3. “Case and the Dreamer”, the collection, is an odd beast, since two of its three novellas are in fact Sturgeon attempting to redeem material from botched longer works.

    “Case and the Dreamer” is Sturgeon novelising a pilot he wrote for an unpurchased sf series in the early 1970s. If I remember correctly there comes a point when the reader will wonder how will everything be resolved only to realise that it’s more of a set-up for a longer story that will never happen.

    Available to read online at:

    Similarly, “When You Care, when you Love” was the first section of a novel from the early 1960s which Sturgeon never completed.

    • Thanks for the comment! Sometimes I wonder how often short stories are planned as a way to make another sale before novel expansion… Or, if authors considered them a sort of exploration of ideas that could potentially become novels (Malzberg for example). I do wish that the story stands on its own EVEN if it was later meant to be a novel…

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