Recently reminded of Fritz Leiber’s beautiful story “A Pail of Air” (1951) which I reviewed a few years ago in the eponymous collection, I was delighted to come across another one of his short story collections. Thankfully, no Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories are in sight. And of course, another Richard Powers cover…
On twitter I mentioned my ignorance regarding the work of Isidore Haiblum, the author of the “the first Yiddish SF novel” according to the blurb on The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders (1971). I have not come across a copy of that particular novel yet, but, another even lesser known quantity joins the books arrayed in piles across my library.
My dalliance with the 1980s continues in fits and starts: I wrote a short review of Christopher Priest’s masterpiece The Affirmation (1981) and recently reviewed Terry Carr’s edited volume Universe 10 (1980)… As Carter Scholz’s short story “The Johann Sebastian Bach Memorial Barbecue and Nervous Breakdown” (1980) made such a positive impression on me, I decided to find a copy of his collaborative novel.
As always, thoughts/comments are welcome!
1. Fritz Leiber, The Night of the Wolf (1966)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1966 edition)
From the back cover: “FRITZ LEIBER–twice winner of the Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year Award (Hugo: THE BIG TIME, 1958; THE WANDERER, 1964) has been quietly winnowing away at militarism for a number of years.
The four novellas which comprise THE NIGHT OF THE WOLF are an ironic encouragement to the pease of the world And being by Leiber, they are also witty, gripping, entertaining and other adjectives too numerous to mention.
If you want to feel a little saner, read Leiber.”
Contents: “The Lone Wolf” (1962) (variant of The Creature from Cleveland Depths); “The Wolf Pair” (1960) (variant of The Night of the Long Knives); “Crazy Wolf” (1944) (variant of Sanity); “The Wolf Pack” (1950) (variant of Let Freedom Ring).
2. Transfer to Yesterday, Isidore Hailblum (1973)
(Bob Abbett’s cover for the 1973 edition)
From the back cover: “The world was a kaleidescope of warring factions—even the colored towers of the magnificent city reflected the internecine warfare—League Gold, Federation Blue, Alliance Green, Coalition Brown, Corporation Silver, and a dozen more.
In his sane moments James N. Norton knew he was an ex-Professor of League History and had a long since given up all affiliations. This made him a Heretic. Which meant that everybody felt free to hate him. Even to hunt him…
Yet he knew that he had a mission, and in this world, and that he couldn’t quit. No more could he sort out who, or really what, he might be. Or when.”
3. Palimpsests, Carter Scholz and Gelnn Harcourt (1984)
(Attila Hejja’s cover for the 1984 edition)
From the back cover: “Palimpsests: Traces of ancient writing that can be seen underneath the latest overwriting on old parchments.
Palimpsests enable humankind to see the past through the present. What if they could also predict the future?”
Barry N. Malzberg’s blurb about the book: “Carter Scholz’s short stories, which have been appearing since 1977, have convinced me that he is the best writer ever to do a body of work within genre science fiction; and his first novel, collaborative or otherwise, has to be a significant event.”
4. Orbit 2, ed. Damon Knight (1967)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1967 edition)
From the back cover: “In this second volume of the ORBIT series, Damon Knight has again put together a brilliant collection of new SF writing, never before published in paperback, by the very best of today’s SF writers.
Prize-winning author Richard McKenna tells the story of eight men who, dying of thirst in an open boat, find a way to break through into another world; Kate Wilhelm writes of a most unusual sex queen of the future; and R. A. Lafferty contributes a zany story about a man who an duplicate himself, much to the confusion and delight of his wife.
Also included are stories by Brian W. Aldiss, Philip Katham, Gene Wolfe, Joanna Russ, and Kit Reed.”
Contents: “The Doctor” (1967), Theodore L. Thomas; “Baby, You Were Great!” (1967), Kate Wilhelm; “Fiddler’s Green” (1967), Richard McKenna; “Trip, Trap” (1967), Gene Wolfe; “The Dimple in Draco” (1967), R. S. Richardson [as by Philip Latham]; “I Gave Her Sack and Sherry” (1967), Joanna Russ; “The Adventuress” (1967), Joanna Russ; “The Hole on the Corner” (1967), R. A. Lafferty; “The Food Farm” (1967), Kit Reed; “Full Sun” (1967), Brian W. Aldiss.