1) Barry N. Malzberg’s back cover blurb for Jody Scott’s 1977 novel suggests a worthwhile, or at least intriguing (and satirical), read: “What Paganini did to four strings and three-and-a-half octaves, Jody Scott does for our dear, undead genre.”
My first The Women’s Press edition!
2) My Christopher Priest collection nears completion. Has anyone read his early novel Fugue for A Darkening Island (1972)? Although I adore the short fiction and novels of his I’ve read so far, this premise has the potential to be deeply problematic (racist, etc). That said, I discovered my copy is signed! Purchased it for $4 with shipping off of Abebooks — it’s a $50+ book with signature.
3) A collection of Avram Davidson stories. The title story “Or All the Seas with Oysters” won the 1958 Hugo for Best Short Story. The two works of his I’ve read so far disappointed: The Enemy of My Enemy (1966) and “Rife of Spring” (1970).
4) Peter Tate’s stories mostly appeared in various New Worlds publications. Although hailing from the UK, his novels were almost entirely published by Doubleday Press in the US. In the past I read “The Post-Mortem People” (1966) and found it a functional New Wave experiment. As is my wont, I tracked down a collection of his short fictions.
As on all posts, thoughts and comments are welcome!
1. Passing for Human, Jody Scott (1977)
(Miss Moss’ cover for the 1986 edition)
From the back cover: “Introducing Benaroya, a well-meaning hedonist from Interstellar Station 8, who visits Earth, as Emma Peel, Virginia Woolf, Brenda Starr. Her mission: to sow wild oats, save Earth from alien invasion, sort out the human race and generally have a good time. With an all-star cast including Abraham Lincoln, Heidi’s Grandfather, General George S. Patton, The Prince of Darkness, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and several hundred Richard Nixons.”
2. Fugue For a Darkening Island, Christopher Priest (1972)
(Mike Ploog’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover: “‘Set in a Britain in the near future. In power is a strong Right-wing Government struggling in vain against rising prices and unemployment. Then the African refugees begin to arrive… Africa has been devastated by a brief atomic war. Its people are fleeing all over the world. Within a year two million of them have landed in Britain. Before long the situation is completely out of hand. Desperation gives way to violence, violence to anarchy, anarchy to civil war… Stark, provocative and disturbing.’ SUNDAY EXPRESS.
‘In the Wyndham tradition; but Wyndham’s mellow sunsets have faded and the dark night of the soul is coming down…’ BRIAN ALDISS/GUARDIAN.
‘Highly Recommended… a book like this hits hard.’ TIME OUT.”
3. Or All the Seas with Oysters, Avram Davidson (1962)
(Ed Soyka’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover: “Fantastic creations, out of time, space, and mind! Past and present intermingle in these spellbinding stories; reality and illusion rub shoulders and the results are terrifyingly logical and utterly incredible!”
“Or All the Seas with Oysters” (1958), “Up the Close and Doun the Stair” (1958), “Now Let Us Sleep” (1957), “The Grantha Sighting”(1958), “Help! I Am Dr. Morris Goldpepper” (1957), “The Sixth Season” (1960), “Negra Sum” (1957), “Or the Grasses Grow” (1958), “My Boy Friend’s Name Is Jello” (1954, “The Golem” (1955), “Summerland ” (1957), “King’s Evil” (1956), “Great is Diana” (1958), “I Do Not Hear You, Sir” (1958), “Author, Author” (1959), “Dagon” (1959), “The Montavarde Camera” (1959), “The Woman Who Thought She Could Read” (1959)
4. Seagulls Under Glass and other Stories, Peter Tate (1975)
(Richard Mantel’s cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “‘…laughter and fancies, outlandish people and breath-taking schemes’ are all to be found in this collection of fantastical tales by Peter Tate. Take for example:
About an “omnipotent” computer housed in a shining steel tower that bears the curious resemblance to a structure once raised in Babylon…
Daylength Talking Blues
About the secret life of falling leaves…
About the meeting between a U.S. agent and a Russian agent in Venice, where they discuss a certain world-wide lightning epidemic…
Dear Witch Hazel
About a little girl who makes a rather disquieting observation about the new migration pattern of swifts…
Same Autumn in a Different Park
About two paradise infants in a transmutable Eden, whose parents are waiting outside the gates…
Seagulls Under Glass
About a hotel for aging folk, and a traveler whose nightmare premonition about the place is only slightly less frightening than the reality…
There are twelve bizarre visions in all—twelve tales of fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, and various dark speculations about the future present…”
Contents: “Mainchance” (1970), “Daylength Talking Blues” (1975), “Skyhammer” (1975), “Mars Pastorale” (variant title: “Mars Pastorale or I’m Fertile, Said Felix”) (1967), “The Gloom Pattern” (1966), “Welcome to the Land of Smiles” (1973), “The Post-Mortem People” (1966), “Seagulls Under Glass” (1975), “The Day the Wind Died” (1969), “Same Autumn in a Different Park” (1967), “Dear Witch Hazel, My Birds Won’t Fly” (1974), “Crumbling Hollywood Mansion, Crumbling Hollywood Man” (variant title: “Protest” (!974).