Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXVII (Piercy + Gotschalk + Bax + anthology edited by Haldeman)

1) Futuristic city? Yes! Is more needed? Okay, okay, I concede, more is needed. I hope Gotschalk’s novel with its fantastic Dean Ellis cover delivers. Among the least known of the Ace Science Fiction Special series…

Check out my older reviews of J. G. Ballard’s “Billennium” (1961)Future City, ed. Roger Elwood (1973), and The World Inside, Robert Silverberg (1971) for more SF on this theme of futuristic cities. If you delve through the archives you’ll find many more examples.

2) Ballard blurbs Martin Bax’s novel as “…the most exciting, stimulating and brilliantly conceived book I have read since Burroughs’ novels.” Hyperbole aside, the two reviews (here and here) I’ve read of Bax’s sole novel puts this at the top of my “to read” pile.

I have cheated a bit by including the cover for the first New Directions edition rather than the later Picador edition I own due to the cover quality.

3) Three acquisitions posts ago (here) I mentioned that the premise of Marge Piercy’s Dance the Eagle to Sleep (1970) did not inspire me to read it anytime soon. Thankfully I found a copy of what many consider her masterpiece Woman at the Edge of Time (1976) cheap at the local used book store.

4) I am not sure why I picked this collection up—I’ve heard good things about Joe Haldeman’s introduction which draws on his experience in the Vietnam War. As Isaac Asimov, Mack Reynolds, etc are not normally authors who intrigue me, I might do something I rarely do and read and review Effinger’s story only (and maybe Poul Anderson’s as he’s better in short form)…

As always thoughts and comments are welcome.


1. Growing up in Tier 3000, Felix C. Gotschalk (1976)

(Dean Ellis’ gorgeous cover for the 1976 edition)

From the back cover: “Tier 3000 is the perfect community of the future, complete with all the exotic—and erotic—luxuries, amenities and technology that man’s imagination could desire. But it is a suicidal and malignant paradise, one that threatens to eat away at the very basics of humanity… and eventually humanity itself.

Written by a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for new writers, GROWING UP IN TIER 3000 is an incredible vision you will never forget.”

2. The Hospital Ship, Martin Bax (1976) (MY REVIEW)

(Uncredited cover for the 1976 edition)

From the back cover of the Picador edition (1977): “Out of Martin Bax’s astonishing vision of contemporary civilization in collapse is The Hospital Ship… an atomic powered ark attempting to salvage a ‘remnant’ from a world whose recent wars have resulted in the total loss of both social and individual stability.

The ship picks up victims of what increasingly appears to be a world-wide disaster. Psychiatrist, Sir Maximov Flint, joins the ship and introduces his own extraordinary solution — love therapy. On the shore the holocaust spreads. The hospital ship sails on… a tiny heroic vestige of surviving humanity.

Savage violence, searing black comedy and a powerful vein of triumphant eroticism make this first novel an extraordinary, indeed a transforming, experience.”

3. Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy (1976)

(Jerome Podwil’s cover for the 1977 edition)

From the back cover: “Once a college girl, now a pickpocket. Once a loving mother, no a “child abuser.” Once beautiful, now warn and discarded. Connie Ramos. A heroically sane woman, now labeled insane.

Held against her will in a mental hospital, Connie is just another faceless patient–until she is chosen as a subject for a terrifying new neuro-shock experiment.

Now Connie is a woman at war, trying to fight her way out of her hospital prison and into a future that holds more promise than anything she could ever imagine. A future that is in as much danger as Connie herself…”

4. Study War No More, ed. Joe Haldeman (1977)

(Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1978 edition)

From the back cover: “OUT OF MAN’S MOST DEADLY GAME COMES: Peace and freedom through cybernetic regimentation, surrogate warfare via machine-induced illusion, peace as the ultimate venereal disease, war by formalized political assassination, plus six more stories of rare brilliance and intellect.

War has been one of science fiction’s most often explored realms and in STUDY WAR NO MORE, Joe Haldeman, Nebula Award winning author of THE FOREVER WAR and MINDBRIDGE, has brought together ten powerful and original tales of man’s future—worlds at war and worlds beyond war.”

Contents: “Basilisk” by Harlan Ellison, “The Dueling Machine” by Ben Bova, “A Man to My Wounding” by Poul Anderson, “Commando Raid” by Harry Harrison, “Curtains” by George Alec Effinger, “Mercenary” by Mack Reynolds, “Rule Golden” by Damon Knight, “The State of Ultimate Peace” by William Nabors, “By the Numbers” by Isaac Asimov, “To Howard Hughes: A Modest Proposal” by Joe Haldeman.

17 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXVII (Piercy + Gotschalk + Bax + anthology edited by Haldeman)

  1. “The Book of Skulls” is excellent,but different in tone and emphasis to the more intensely parabolic “Dying Inside”.The two aren’t really comparable,but are just as good in their own ways I think.Both succeed well as SF though,for being set in the present.

  2. Hi

    I always enjoy your recent acquisitions posts. I think this is the first one where I liked all four covers despite the great stylistic differences. The Ellis is my favorite, the BAX the most striking, Podwell’s I liked because we see a nicely dressed adult woman without a big gun, werewolf lover or scanty outfit for a change. At a friend’s urging I just reread Foundation for the first time in 40+ years, I enjoyed it and will continue with the other early volumes, I might even try some of his later additions. I was so taken by the 1950’s vibe I then opened Iceworld by Clement. I was at a used book store today but had to bale before I could buy, I suspect I would have come home with Asimov, a biography of Burroughs, Edgar not Williams and some of his Mars books.

    I may be making a bit of a retreat in time in my reading for awhile.

    Happy reading

    • Thanks Guy! Unfortunately my edition of The Hospital Ship isn’t as nice…. It’s the Picador 1977 edition. For the first time in a while I’ve substituted the much more striking cover! (which also seems to match the feel of the book — as I’m reading it now).

      I am unable to read any of the early 40s stuff (Burroughs included) — unless it’s written by non-genre SF authors (like Nabokov’s Bend Sinister). I read some as a kid but have never been able to get back into it… As you know already! hah

      As for Iceworld, one of the first books I reviewed on the site. Not sure I would be able to read it now.

      Have fun reading!

  3. I have Hospital Ship – it is quite a rare book, I think. (Unread by me, as yet, though). I look forward to your review of it! It does sound pretty bizarre and very New Wave-esque.

    I love the Joe Haldeman cover; though it is entirely ridiculous, in terms of physics, because they have built the top of the huge figure, which obviously weighs thousands or millions of tons, but are still constructing his right leg and foot, with no obvious support – the thing would have fallen down by then! (Unless it’s made of a futuristic, heavy duty, super-lightweight polymer, or something.)

    I almost picked it up a few years ago for next to nothing, and wish I had, though it is probably a much inferior version of the English SF anti-war collection ‘The War Book’, edited by James Sallis and printed by Panther in 1971 (with a fabulously psychedelic cover, too!). If you haven’t already got it, it is going quite cheap, online :


    • The Hospital Ship is probably hard to find in used stores but it’s thankfully not that expensive online. My copy definitely was shipped across the Atlantic….

      I am most of the way finished the book and enjoy it immensely. It’s certainly challenging — elements I’ll explore in a review proper.

      Sallis’ The War Book is on my shortlist to acquire. I’ve been eyeing it for a while!

      As for the Haldeman cover, visually striking — let’s just chalk the lack of awareness of physics up to futuristic pseudo-wood, shall we? haha

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