1) Can’t resist a beautiful Richard Powers cover even on a rather standard 60s anthology of short stories—includes Ray Bradbury, Fredric Brown, Theodore Sturgeon, Wyman Guin, Algis Budrys, etc.
2) A SF novel by Angela Carter — enough said…
3) One of the great (and lesser read) Soviet dystopias! Can’t wait!
4) Another bargain bin find by John Boyd… with some incredibly hyperbolic cover blurbs on the back about his earlier (and lackluster) novel The Last Starship from Earth (1968).
As always, thoughts/comments are welcome!
1. Beyond, ed. Thomas A. Dardis (1963)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1963 edition)
From the back cover: “A few of the high spots in…
‘The Watchful Poker Chip’–Ray Bradbury tells the story of a man who had one of his eyes replaced with the most beautiful poker chip in the world…
‘The Real People’–A startling story which shows that most of us are only puppets–and Algis Budrys proves it…
‘The Ghost Maker’—Frederik Pohl demonstrates that if you track real magic to its lair, you may be very, very sorry…”
Contains: Ray Bradbury’s”The Watchful Poker Chip” (variant title: “The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse”) (1954), Frederik Pohl’s “The Ghost Maker” (1954), Jerome Bixby’s Can Such Beauty Be?” (1953), Algis Budrys’ “The Real People” (1953), James E. Gunn’s “The Beautiful Brew” (1954), Winston K. Marks’ “I’d Give a Dollar” (1954), Wyman Guin’s “The Root and the Ring” (1954), Frederic Brown’s “Double Whammy” (1954), Theodore Sturgeon’s “Talent” (1953).
2. The Passion of New Eve, Angela Carter (1977)
(Irene von Treskow’s cover for the 1992 edition)
From the back cover: “New York has become the City of Dreadful Night where dissolute Leila performs a dance of chaos for Evelyn. But this young Englishman’s fate lies in the arid desert where a many-breasted fertility goddess will wield her scalpel to transform him into the new Eve. This is the story of how Evelyn learn to be a woman–first in the hands of Zero, the one-eyed, one-legged monomaniac poet then through the gentle touch of the ancient Triestessa, the beautiful ghost of Hollywood past; and, finally in a deserted California cave by the sea.
The Passion of New Eve is an extraordinary journey into the dazzling imagination and apocalyptical vision of one of Britain’s most brilliant writers.”
3. The Foundation Pit, Andrei Platanov (1930)
(Ginger Giles’ cover for the 1975 edition)
From inside flap: “Much as Herman Melville’s greatness was discovered long after his death, Andrey Platonov’s reputation has been growing since the posthumous publication of a great collection of his stories in 1958. Despite the Soviet authorities’ refusal to publish his more experimental and critical works, the extensive underground circulation of his manuscripts has established is right to be considered one of the foremost writers in Russian of this century. The Foundation Pit is one of these ‘underground’ manuscripts.
Set in a small town in early post-Revolutionary Russia, it describes a group of workmen and low-level bureaucrats engaged in digging the foundation pit for what is to become a grand, central structure to house all the town’s inhabitants. But, asks Voshev, the dreamer, ‘Don’t people decrease in their sense of life when buildings increase? Man will make a building and unmake himself. Who will life in them?’
Mirra Ginsburg writes in the Introduction: ‘(He) creates a surrealist landscape–a landscape of myth or nightmare… Every man becomes Everyman… and the novel assumes a larger than life, almost legendary quality.’ And Professor Victor Erlick of Yale comments: ‘Platonov is an important and remarkable writer. His brand of humanism is unique and moving. His prose is deliberately and effectively incongruous. It takes a translator of Mirra Ginsburg’s skill to render this quality into equally effective English.’
Andrey Platonov was born in Russia in 1899 and died in 1951. His writings were barred from publication for long periods, and while he escaped the purges of the 1930’s, in 1938 his only son, a boy of fiteen, was sent to a concentration camp and died years later. In 1970 Dutton published a collection of his short stories, The Fierce and Beautiful World.’
Mirra Ginsburg is noted for her translations of twentieth-century Russian literature. She has translated several books by Yevegny Zamyatin and Mikhail Bulgakov, including The Master and Margarita. She has also edited several anthologies of contemporary Soviet Writing.”
4. The Rakehells of Heaven, John Boyd (1969)
(Peter Cross’ cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover: “John Adams and Kevin O’Hara are graduates of North Dakota’s great Mandan Space Academy. Both trained to be conquistadors of space, explorers in an age of interstellar imperialism, Adams and O’Hara are as different as any two space scouts could possibly be. Now, together, they are sent to explore a distant world called Harlech. The Harlechians are unclassified aliens; relations with their women are strictly forbidden by the Interplanetary Colonial Authority. Adams is willing to play by the rules–but whoever made those rules hadn’t counted on the lusty Red O’hara, rakehell of heaven… From the Adams-O’Hara probe, only John Adams returns.
Of John Boyd’s earlier science-fiction novel The Last Starship from Earth, Robert A. Heinlein said, ‘It belongs on the same shelf with 1984 and Brave New World,” and the Los Angeles Times noted, ‘In the literate tradition of Huxley, Orwell, and Bradbury, it is a work of extraordinary impact.'”