1. James Tiptree, Jr.’s first novel is not considered one of her better works. But, as my appreciation of her fiction grows, it was hard to pass up (especially at $1). Have you read it?
2. I recently read and reviewed World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (1967), ed. Terry Carr and Donald A. Wollheim and was thoroughly impressed. Enough to track down the following year’s anthology…. And, as an avowed D. G. Compton fan (for example, his underrated/underread 1966 novel Farewell, Earth’s Bliss), I was thrilled to see this volume contains one of his few short stories. It also contains the original novella version of one of my favorite SF novels–Robert Silverberg’s Hawksbill Station (1968).
Love the Jack Gaughan cover!
3. A novel by Elizabeth A. Lynn, an author I’ve never read — I approach it with trepidation… But, as I always say, I love exploring lesser known works.
4. Peter Carey, another author I’ve never read. His stories (the publisher attempts to distance them from SF) seem my cup of tea.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.
1. Up the Walls of the World, James Tiptree, Jr. (1978)
(Uncredited cover for the 1979 edition)
From the back cover: “Part-being, part machine, the Star Destroyer was cutting a “firepath” across the galaxy, consuming whole suns in deadly storms of audible light…
On wind-walled Tyree the fliers were gathering in the Far High, preparing the desperate mind-transfer that was their only hope of survival…
At Norfolk Naval Base, Dr. Dann’s ESP “sensitives” were takin a break from the test-series, relaxing in the messhall, when the mindstorm struck!“
2. World’s Best Science Fiction: 1968 (variant title: World’s Best Science Fiction: Fourth Series), ed. Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr (19
(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1968 edition)
From the back cover: Not in its fourth year, this annual compilation of the WORLD’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION has drawn consistently high praise from critics and fans alike.
1968’s selection features tales of strangely mutated humans, contact with surprising alien races, adventures in the far future and distant past of Earth… including a fascinating complete novella by Robert Silverberg, and four stories published for the first time in this country.
Reading this book you’ll discover one of science fiction’s premier years, encapsulated for your enjoyment.
Contents (all from 1967): Richard Wilson’s “See Me Not,” Samuel R. Delany’s “Driftglass,” Colin Kapp’s “Ambassador to Verdammt,” Isaac Asimov’s “The Billiard Ball,” Robert Silverberg’s “Hawksbill Station,”Thomas M. Disch’s “The Number You Have Reached,” Roger Zelazny’s “The Man Who Loved the Faioli,” Andrew J. Offutt’s “Population Implosion,” Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” Ron Goulart’s “The Sword Swallower,” Keith Roberts’ “Coranda,” R. A. Lafferty’s “Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne,” Larry Niven’s “Handicap,” Brian W. Aldiss’ “Full Sun,” and D. G. Compton’s “It’s Smart to Have an English Address.”
3. A Different Light, Elizabeth A. Lynn (1978)
(Uncredited cover for the 1980 edition)
From the inside flap: “The artist Jimson Alleca has a simple choice: either he can remain restlessly on his home world, receiving constant medical treatment, and live out a comparatively normal life; or he can do what he desires and travel the galaxy, knowing that he will be dead within a year. When he meets Leiko, a starship crewmember, his mind is made up, and he follows her to Nexus, centre of galactic commerce. There he meets again his former lover Russell, now a starship captain, and both Jimson and Leiko are enlisted as crew on a dangerous and illegal voyage. Russell has been hired by a wealthy art collector to travel to the distant world of Demea and to steal one of the fabulous crystal masks which are made there. It is a journey which confronts them with immense problems and perils–and one which turns into a race against time for Jimson.
Elizabeth Lynn is one of America’s most promising new sf authors, a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award as the best young writer of 1977. A Different Light, her first novel, is an absorbing tale of love and high adventure.
4. The Fat Man in History and Other Stories, Peter Carey (1980)
(Roger Zimmerman’s cover for the 1980 edition)
From the inside flap: “Peter Carey’s The Fat Man in History is widely considered one of the key books of recent Australian fiction. Set in an ominous near-future, some of these stories are close to science fiction, but most have the distinct feel of contemporary life—except, as in dreams, that something odd and menacing takes center stage.
Here are societies in which people gamble for new bodies in a genetic lottery, or what apprehensively as first buildings, then parts of the landscape, and eventually their neighbors begin to dematerialize and vanish. Here is what happens when a miniature replica of a small town and its inhabitants assumes a more compelling reality than its original; or when a group of fat men, ostracized by a revolutionary government, plot its overthrow.
Unlike anything in recent fiction, these stories might best be compared to the paintings of Magritte. Beguiling and unnerving, they disrupt familiar vistas and relationships, and challenge our sense of what is real, what we truly can depend on.”
Contents: “The fat Man in History” (1974), “Peeling” (1974), “Do You Love Me?” (1979), “The Puzzling Nature of Blue” (1979), “Exotic Pleasures” (1979), “The Last Days of a Famous Mime” (1979), “A Windmill in the West” (1974), “American Dreams” (1974), “War Crimes” (1979).