Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 1 (Philip K. Dick + Ward Moore + Michael Moorcock + and others)

For my readers who do not have twitter I’ve decided to post every few weeks links to articles/reviews/and other resources that particularly interested me. Predominately vintage SF/F related, a few might dally in more diverse directions—German avant-garde art for example.

It’s always worth supporting fellow bloggers!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the books/articles.

(New Worlds, #197 January 1970, ed. Charles Platt)

1) A fascinating article: SF New Worlds and Savoy Books: Michael Butterworth via Andrew Darlington on his indispensable site Eight Miles Higher.

“Michael Butterworth was an integral part of the ‘New Worlds’  SF New Wave, just as he was perpetrator of the sensationally iconoclastic ‘Savoy Books’ revolution in Manchester, and his fiction is never less than challenging. Andrew Darlington charts his evolution as a literary activist…”
2) Andrew Darlington reviews The Twilight Man, Michael Moorcock (1966).

“There’s no such thing as a ‘regular’ Michael Moorcock novel. Even so, ‘The Twilight Man’ is untypical of what we think of as a Michael Moorcock novel. There are spaceships, strange alien species, and the Bleak Worlds of space.”

(Uncredited cover for the 1966 edition)

3) MPorcius over at MPorcius Fiction Log reviewed a libertarian wet dream of a novel: Raymond F. Jones’ The Cybernetic Brains (1962). You know, the “we are plunging towards an evil welfare state” type dalliance. Not something I’d would read or a belief I’d espouse but a slice of SF history nevertheless…

They were dead, the cyberneticists said from the beginning. The activation of the neurons was no more than the jerking of a dead frog leg by an electric current…. But they couldn’t know; no one could tell them. The mute prisoners of darkness could never tell.  They could only live–and hope for death.

4) Chris (Admiral.Ironbombs) reviewed Ward Moore’s famous alt-history novel Bring the Jubilee (1953).

Bring the Jubilee is the kind of novel that a non-SF fan could greatly enjoy, and those who read extensively in the genre could do worse than dig out this old gem and give it a go. I found it vaguely comparable to books like Leigh Brackett’s Long Tomorrow, Walter M. Miller’s Canticles of Leibowitz, and Wilson Tucker’s Year of the Quiet Sun and The Lincoln Hunters, which should give you some idea what you’re looking at.

(Chris Moore’s cover for the 2001 edition)

5) [non-SF]  #WOMENSART posted a fascinating article about the work of Hannah Höch (1889-1978).

[She] was a German artist who was part of  the early 20th century European avant-garde art movement known as Dada.  Such artists emphasised the absurd and irrational in their art, aiming at protesting a bourgeois and capitalist society in the aftermath of World War one.

6) Biblioklept shows off two recent Philip K. Dick finds….

7) Jesse over at Speculiction reviews Eric Frank Russell’s The Mindwarpers (variant title: With a Strange Device) (1964).

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1965 edition)

For additional SF blog recommendations, articles, resources, and lists consult the INDEX.

7 thoughts on “Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 1 (Philip K. Dick + Ward Moore + Michael Moorcock + and others)”

  1. Hi

    As always an interesting post, I enjoyed the Dick covers and I have sent the link on Hannah Höch to my wife, I suspect we will both enjoy the article.

    All the best
    Guy

  2. Butterworth spend the majority of his time, I believe, writing romances and porn. But he was involved in the whole Hawkwind/Hawklords movement (which also gave birth to Lemmy Kilmister and Motorhead) and even wrote a novel, with Michael Moorcock, involving Hawkwind, which I always meant to read.

    Read the Mindwarpers as a high-schooler and while it wasn’t very good by Russell’s standards, it was readable however, and it was also, if I recall, very much a cold-war novel gussied up in sf imagery. It might have been the last thing he published before retiring. But that was forty years ago. His stuff is best read in small doses. My favorite fictions are the Jay Score short stories and the non-Campbellian Dear Devil. Good Powers cover though.

    Always wanted to read the Ward Moore novel, read the novella in the sixties, but, to be blunt, I’m weary of the whole “If-the-South-won-the-war” theme, popular down south I’m sure, but, get over it already.

    1. I’ve only read one Butterworth “story,” “Circularisation of Condensed Conventional Straight-Line Word-Image Structures” (1969) — comprised of entirely diagrams. I included the entire thing a while back in my Charts, Diagrams, Forms, and Tables post a while back.

      https://sciencefictionruminations.com/2017/04/25/fragments-charts-diagrams-forms-and-tables-in-science-fiction-john-brunner-larry-niven-christopher-priest-john-sladek-et-al/

      I too am weary of the whole “If-the-South-won-the-war” theme. Even if Moore’s novel seems to be one of the more influential alt-history novels out there… I few concerns were brought up in the comments of Admiral Iron.Bombs’ review which I agree with.

  3. Hello Joachim

    This is my first comment here, although I have been appreciatively lurking for a while.

    I grew up with New Worlds, and Butterworth was always one of the most far-out contributors. I used to own the copy of “Concentrate” which was distributed with New Worlds, and tried to impress a fairly conventional girlfriend by showing her the pretty graphic poem. I’m afraid the relationship didn’t last long after that. She thought I was “sick”. It’s a good thing I didn’t own any of the “Lord Horror” comics at that time.

    It is great that you are keeping interest in the fiction of the sixties alive. There was some great stuff about then, also some that could be termed a bit pretentious, but at least they were trying to be different.

    Allan

    1. Hello Allan,

      Thanks for the comment. I love comments!

      As someone looking back on the New Wave (born late 80s), I can only imagine how radical someone like Butterworth would have been — but then again if I showed someone a copy of Butterworth’s “Circularisation of Condensed Conventional Straight-Line Word-Image Structures” (1969) they too might be rather confused/dismayed!

      I recently read an older article (2005) by Michael Moorcock about the Lord Horror comics: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3644962/If-Hitler-had-won-World-War-Two.html

      Moorcock claims Lord Horror was were the only alt-histories about WWII that managed to embody the horror of Hitler and his legacy “with appropriate originality and passion.” I would add in Spinrad (Moorcock mentions him but I guess the metafictional layers detach it a bit from the intensity of “retelling” history).

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Joachim

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