It’s been too long since I’ve read anything by Delany. I polished off Triton (1976), Nova (1968), The Einstein Intersection (1967), and Babel-17 (1966) long before I started my site. For a SF reading group I reread Nova a few years back but never wrote a review. One of the few SF novels I’ve reread. And yes, I do not own a copy nor have I tackled the behemoth that is Dhalgren (1975).
As a teen I was obsessed with Delany’s first collection Driftglass (1971), although I probably did not understand the important of the stories. It is hard to forget the images in “Aye, and Gomorrah…” (1967) or “We, in Some Strange Power’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line” (1968) even if the message was lost on my younger self. Now I have an excuse to reread one of Delany’s best known stories, originally collected in Driftglass (1971) — “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (1968) — in a fascinating anthology with other luminaries of the field, Disch, Sladek, and Zelazny.
I confess, I was seduced by Powers’ gorgeous cover for G. C. Edmondson’s novel despite the terrifying back cover blurb: “Good, Old-fashioned Science Fiction Adventure at its best!”
A few months ago I read and reviewed Somtow Sucharitkul’s Starship and Haiku (1981). Although I did not care for the novel, I need more strikes against before I give up on an author completely. And, why not a fix-up comprised of his best known stories?
Same thing with Edward Bryant… His attempts at channeling extreme decadence, fascinating cityscapes, and odd hybrids come off as inarticulate and forced. Albeit I have only read “Jade Blue” (1971) and “The Human Side of the Village Monster” (1971). As with Somtow Sucharitkul, I need to read more of his stories to come to a firm stance on his abilities.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.
- The Shores Beneath, ed. James Sallis (1971)
(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1971 edition)
From the back cover: “TRIPS TO THE WILDERNESS WITHIN.
Here are four trips to four uncharted lands, led by the most brilliant new names in science fiction.
TIME CONSIDERED AS A HELIX OF SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES is the Hugo-winning revelation of the other side of déjà-vu….
THE GRAVEYARD HEART leads a man into immortality, for better and for worse….
MASTERSON AND THE CLERKS considers a man’s absorption into a comfortable, orderly society which doesn’t like him much when it’s got him….
THE ASIAN SHORE is a man’s harrowing journey through a decadent world of counterfeit selves–where his own identity undergoes an insidious change.”
2. The Aluminum Man, G. C. Edmondson (1975)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “Good, Old-fashioned Science Fiction Adventure at its best! An alien stranded in the north woods gives Rudolf and Flaherty a strain of bacteria which produces aluminum, allowing them to challenge the business establishment by becoming the world’s leading aluminum producers (in their back yard).
A more improbably duo of heroes has never challenged your imagination. Rudolf is an Icy-League Indian, a respected scholar, disaffected by the American society that has seduced him. Flaherty is a scientist, an Irishman, and an extremely disorderly alcoholic.
Action builds upon action until Rudolf destroys civilization–and a good thing, too!”
3. Mallworld, Somtow Sucharitkul (S. P. Somtow) (1981)
(Karl Kofoed’s cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover of the 1984 edition: “So what if the rest of the galaxy doesn’t want us? So what if the Selespridar have locked us up in a force field and towed our solar system to an uninhabited parallel universe? So what if we’re always trying to get out? We’ve still got
The shopping center the size of a planet!
–Spend a week at the Gaza Plaza, carved out of the great pyramid of Khufu.
–Dine on the delicacies of a thousand worlds at the Galaxy Restaurant, from Denebian Whiteworms to softshell Malaprops.
–Enjoy the psionically amplified performances of the greatest clavichrome player of all time, Julian Barjulian CIII, the wealthiest man in the solar system.
–Play human pinball at the arcades.
–Order a custom-designed baby at Storkways, Inc.–But don’t miss a payment or the bogeyman will get you!
–Experience the ultimate at the way out suicide parlors: death by vampire is just one of 300 ways to go.
Hang on to your megacreditcard!
You’re about to embark on the wildest shipping spree in the universe!”
4. Among the Dead and Other Events Leading Up to the Apocalypse, Edward Bryant (1973)
(Gray Morrow’s cover for the 1973 edition)
My Collier Books edition (1974) has the same cover at but no back cover blurb. Instead, here’s an image of what various critics and Bryant himself had to say: