1. My friend Mike sent this to me…. of dubious quality to say the least. But, O my, the cover!
2. Tell me again why I continue to buy Robert Heinlein paperbacks? Why in the world did I read SO MANY OF HIS BOOKS as a kid? Some of life’s persistent questions….
3. John Wyndham short fiction—or rather, a fix-up novel of sorts–with a co-writer. Did not realize any of his work was co-written…. Has anyone read it?
4. William Tenn’s short fiction collection is by far the most appealing of the bunch—his stories always have me chortling with laughter. For example, The Human Angle (1956) and Of Men and Monsters (1968)…
1. Gone To Be Snakes Now, Neal Bell (1974)
(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition)
From back cover: A TREACHEROUS ODYSSEY ACROSS THE NIGHTMARE TERRAIN OF NEW EARTH.
The survivors of Old Earth’s holocaust had lived in the Valley as long as they could remember. How they had got there no one knew. They only knew that it was forbidden by the Elders to leave. For beyond the valley lay the dread Outside–uncharted deserts swarming with vipers, ruined cities inhabited by ghastly mutants, and the Great Bird, who devoured human flesh.
This is the story of one who ventured Outside. What he found was the solution to an ancient riddle–and the mystery of Death itself.”
2. 6 x H (variant title: The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag), Robert Heinlein (1959)
(Bill Skurski’s cover for the 1971 edition)
From the back cover: “SIX STRANGE SOULDS IN SEARCH OF SALVATION!
Why woul dirty fingernails drive a man half-mad with feat?
There was this traveling salesman, get it? What was his line? Why–elephants, of course///
She was too much–or rather, too many…
The psychiatrist who was something else…
It’s a good wind that blows no ill….
He built a house that wasn’t there, but then again–where was there?
Six striking stories of logical fantasy, fantastic science, and uncommon imagination by America’s most powerful science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein.”
3. The Outward Urge, John Wyndham and Lucas Parkes (1959)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1959 edition)
From the back cover: CENTURIES have passed since man first set out across the uncharted seas of his own world. But the same urgent sprit that drove men on journeys from which they knew they might never return is still tugging and pushing. And now the restless questing of mankind has sent him out across the unknown seas of space.
Nobody knows for certain what will be found out there. That is why they go. To some men the unknown calls like a magnet, the siren call of adventure and exploration, needing the ever present drive to discover things that no man has ever seen before.
The Troon family have bred explorers as far bas as they can trace. Somewhere in every generation, some one male feels that urge to get away from all things known, to uncover new ground. This is a story of four generations in the Troon family, of four men of high courage, and of the wonders and mysteries they discovered beyond the horizon of the sky.”
4. Of All Possible Worlds, William Tenn (1955)
(Blanchard’s cover for the 1960 edition)
From the inside cover: “SUPPOSE… a man who was blasted into our time from the future arrived without any clothes?
SUPPOSE… a man who craved the love of beautiful women got too much of it?
SUPPOSE… a conscientious young realtor refused to rent a floor in an office building because it didn’t exist?
On such faintly horrifying, delightfully absurd speculations are some of these stories founded. With a keen satirical touch William Tenn uses his insight into contemporary life as a springboard into an absolutely believable, if slightly wacky, future.
Not all the stories are humorous. Some of them make deeply thoughtful comments on life (as does the unusual preface); but whether they tuck the funny bone, or stimulate the brain cells, they are all intensely fascinating reading.
William Tenn has been building a constantly increasing group of admirers through his many magazine appearances. This collection demonstrates clearly that he belongs in the forefront of our best science-fiction writers.”