Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXV (Tiptree, Jr. + Lynn + Carey + Best of SF 1968 Anthology)

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).

22 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXV (Tiptree, Jr. + Lynn + Carey + Best of SF 1968 Anthology)

  1. Not had time to read your post but had to point out that Darkness Falls From the Air was the first thing I read by Tiptree (iirc) and it was a novel, too!

  2. I bought a copy of “Up the Walls of the World” this summer. I also paid $1, I think. I haven’t been able to read it yet, though. I have the same concerns about its less than stellar reputation, but I like her short stories, so we shall see.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      Do you have a favorite short story of hers? I read but never reviewed the stories in her first collection Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home (1973). And various others here and there in anthologies… including “A Momentary Taste of Being” (1975).

      I wish I knew the artist for the edition I included in this post (a scan of my own copy).

      • “The Girl Who was Plugged In” is my favorite by a significant factor. “With Delicate Mad Hands” also made a big impression on me.

        • I love the title — With Delicate Mad Hands….

          I haven’t read either yet. I thought I might have a copy of The Girl Who Was Plugged in but I have New Dimensions IV not III… I’ve been on the look out for her collection Warm Worlds and Otherwise but haven’t found it nor is it the cheapest online. Sometimes it nice knowing that so many stories remain to be read by such a quality author!

  3. “Up the Walls of the World” was the first book I read by her,but found it tedious.I preferred her collection,”Her Smoke Rose Up Forever”,but isn’t very memorable.I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan of her stuff.

    I don’t mean to say she isn’t a fine novelist,but I think she isn’t in my taste range.

    • Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, calling something “tedious” doesn’t tell me that much about the book or her ideas. She certainly isn’t known as a novelist (primarily known as a short story author) — I think she wrote only two…

      • Well,it was probably quite a good concept,an entity made of cosmic matter but sentinent,but it tended to be prolix as I remember.The description of all the characters and events in the novel tended to be like that I think.

        I don’t think she did write more than two novels,her real skills laying with short pieces.I much prefer Ursula LeGuin though,who is probably a better author,although more famous.

  4. Yes, loved the Gaughan cover, alongside his hackwork he always published works of brilliance. Of the stories: I have previously read Driftglass, The Billiard Ball, Hawksbill Station, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, The Sword Swallower, and Full Sun.

    Hawksbill Station and The Sword Swallower were both better than the subsequent novels they were expanded into. Before he became so literary Silverberg was one of my favorite authors. I guess we both went in different ways in our tastes in sf. The Billiard Ball was, if I recall correctly, one of Asimov’s better sf mysteries before he reduced himself to churning out a never ending series of five-finger exercises, while Driftglass is the only Delany story that I’ve read that I’ve liked.

    Sadly, I’ve only really liked two stories by Tiptree, and they were both originally published in Analog. On the other hand, I stopped reading her fiction after reading Houston, Houston, Do You Read? which was so bad that Marion Zimmer Bradley opined that it was the equivalent of the Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda. A bit strong as far as criticism goes I think, but I was still offended by that story. Like the cover also for her novel.

    • I’ll have a review of Aldiss’ “Full Sun” up soon — recently read it in Orbit 2 (1968). Although it’s not my favorite Aldiss ever it’s quite good. Can you point me towards where Bradley talks about Houston, Houston, Do You Read?. After some cursory searching, I’m not finding articles that address the anti-Jewish elements of the story.

  5. Hi

    I read Different Light many years ago I think it was okay. I had read a number of Lynn;’s fantasy novels as well but nothing recently. I have the same Tiptree but have not read it. I find a lot of interesting stories in the Terry Carr and Donald A. Wollheim anthologies. If you haven’t read Silverberg’s novella version I would be interested in your thoughts I thought it was much better that the novel.

    Happy Reading

  6. Always liked the 4 Tiptree short stories collected as Tales of the Quintana Roo, published by Arkham House. All set on the Caribbean coast of Mexico.

  7. I guess I didn’t make myself clear. I didn’t say that Houston, Houston, Do You Read was anti Jewish, I said that Bradley, in some fanzine in the eighties, I believe, (SF Review/The Alien Critic?) was the EQUIVALENT of Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda. I also said that the criticism was a bit strong, but the story was anti-male (as was John Norman’s “Gor” books anti-female). I don’t like heavy-handed hate filled propaganda no matter who writes it. Still, others have claimed that the story was just satire, and if so, I may be totally wrong and I’ll apologize for my closed-mindedness.

  8. By the way, I’m looking forward to your review of Peter Carey’s collection. I have never heard of him before, and I would like to know more about his fiction. You would give me another brick to build my wall against the encroaching ignorance of reality. And how’s that for a tortured metaphor?

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