1) I made a “resolution” to read more John Sladek — miserable covers aside. Now what is that spaceman doing standing next the elephant? Although Sladek is rather on the surreal/comical end of things, Peter Goodfellow took the surreal title literally. Not his finest artistic moment. Now if only I could convince myself to put together my disperate thoughts on The Müller-Fokker Effect (1970) into something cohesive.
2) Although “New Worlds editor supreme” Michael Moorcock’s novels haven’t not received the warmest reception on my site, I am determined to get a better sense of his fiction by exploring his short work. And this collection seems fantastic! It’s illustrated, there’s a comic strip (image below), and the Savoy Books publication includes tons of fascinating blurbs about other books both speculative and non-genre.
The title page of the Jerry Cornelius comic.
3) A lesser known James White novel… Only printed in the UK.
James White is one of THE finds of the last few years. Best known for simple but earnest (and pacifistic) 50s stories about doctors solving alien medical problems, his novels demonstrate surprising power. A reader and frequent commentator (see I listen!) suggested I procure one of his late 70s novels unknown to me. I cannot wait to read it.
4) I recently discussed Emma Tennant’s work and how she was influenced by the UK SF scene (Ballard et al) here. Yes, I showed my inner academic by citing a few articles — many fans don’t realize that there’s serious and fascinating academic study of the genre. And, as literary historians are wont to do, they provide (often) relevant and erudite analysis of development of genre etc. I would pull more in if time allowed. I am currently reading Tennant’s novel and it’s intriguing so far!
Scans are from my own collection (in order to zoom in on the zany madness, click on the image).
I look forward to your comments/thoughts!
1. Keep the Giraffe Burning, John Sladek (1977)
(Peter Goodfellow’s cover for the 1977 edition)
From the back cover: “IT’S A MAD, MAD, WORLD… Take the case of Drew Blenheim–he’d been spending half a million dollars a year developing glass pancakes before the government forced him to take leave. Or Joe Feeney, who interrupted his work (on the use of holograms) to announce that he was a filing cabinet. And Edna Bessler who believed that she was being pursued by a philosophical proposition. Not to mention Hank LaFarge, the sanest scientist of them all—and he’s convinced that cockroaches are bidding for world domination… Just a bizarre taste of the extraordinary events that take place when pandemonium breaks loose in America’s top priority think tank.”
2. My Experiences in the Third World War, Michael Moorcock (1980)
(Michael Heslop’s cover for the 1980 edition)
No back cover blurb.
Contents: “Going to Canada” (1980), “Leaving Pasadena” (1980), “Crossing into Cambodia” (1979), “The Dodgem Division” (1969), “The Adventures of Jerry Cornelius: The English Assassin” (1980) (with M. John Harrison, art by Mal Dean, Richard Glyn Jones), “Peace on Earth” (1959), “The Lovebeast” (1966), and “The Real Like of Mr. Newman (Adventures of the Dead Astronaut)” (1966).
3. Underkill, James White (1979)
(Colin Hay’s cover for the 1979 edition)
From the back cover: “It began in a hospital — the incredible trail of clues which lead to the discovery of the invasion of Earth…
Normally the socio-political problems of the outside world did not concern Mr. Malcolm and his wife, safely cocooned in their hospital work. But it was their misfortune to be on duty the night the three patients were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit… a small boy, a beautiful girl, and an old man — all close to death, all victims of a diseased society.
Malcolm’s investigations revealed a further link between the three — one which involved the medics with an all-powerful police force and took them to the sub-surface city of Plessat… the centre of an extra-terrestrial conspiracy of super-elite beings dedicated to curing the terminal illness of the planet earth…”
4. The Crack (variant of The Time of the Crack) (1973), Emma Tennant
(Candy Amsden’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover:LOOK! LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED! HAMPSTEAD UPLIFTED HIGH IN THE SKY! Watch the turmoil spread. See the loony psychoanalysts lead their demented flock around the cracked and broken streets. A religious maniac’s at large, she’s promising her female believers a new and Manless life on the ‘other Side’.
And through it all goes Baba; dear sweet, kind, unliberated Baba, leaving a trail of love and destruction in her wake.”