1. I seldom buy duplicate editions. I originally read Sturgeon’s masterpiece as a teen and I’m unsure where my original 70s edition with a Bob Pepper cover ran off to…. And this perfect condition 1960 edition has glorious Richard Powers art!
2. George Turner—an author I know next to nothing about. I’ve already read 75 pages of his first novel and am absolutely entranced.
3. Hilbert Schenck—another author who is new to me. He published primarily in the early 80s and snagged a few Nebula nominations for his short fiction. His second novel proved to be a dud (I’ll have a review up soon).
4. Why are you buying another Donald A. Wollheim Best Of collection when you’re firmly in the Terry Carr camp of Best Of anthologies? Good question.
That said, I recently reviewed The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF (1972) and it was solid.
Note 1: All images are hi-res scans of my personal copies — click to expand.
Note 2: A diligent Twitter follower indicated that the 1984 edition cover of the Turner novel is Tony Roberts’ work.
Thoughts? Comments? Tangents? All are welcome.
1. More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (1953)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1960 edition)
From the back cover: “SOMEWHERE IN THIS WORLD there are six people who–together–can do anything. Some day, perhaps tomorrow, they will put their power to work and the world will be transformed. In the meantime they are waiting quietly. They look–and often behave–like people you know. But with a difference: they think of themselves as “I”–not “we”–because in a curious way they are One. That is the source of their strength. This is the story of how they met, and what they became…
…and what they intend to do.”
2. Beloved Son, George Turner (1978)
(Tony Roberts’ cover for the 1984 edition)
From the back cover: RETURN TO A RAVAGED EARTH. 2032, England has gone. The proud industrial nations have destroyed themselves. In a post-cataclysmic Australia humanity survives by ruthless genetic engineering and a cult of youth. Then, out of the stars, come strangers from the past–a space-ship [?] crew who left before the Holocaust and have lived in a slowed-down time-suspended state for over four decades.
Shattered by the bizarre civilization they find, can they–or the new world–survive the encounter…?”
3. A Rose for Armageddon, Hilbert Schenck (1982) (MY REVIEW)
(Don Maitz’s cover for the 1982 edition)
From the back cover: “THE STUNNING NOVEL OF LOVE AND SCIENCE AT THE WORLD’S END. While fuel shortages, hunger and random violence brings chaos and anarchy, scientists struggle to perfect Archmorph, a computer program so vast it may solve the entire riddle of human history. The focus of their study is Hawkins Island, once a paradise in a hostile world. But Dr. Elsa Adams is looking for more than a scientific answer there. Hawkins Island holds a mystery of her own past: a love that may never have happened, one golden afternoon that only she remembers–a love trapped somewhere in the folds of time and space. Now Elsa will risk her friends, her career and her life–a discovery that may strand between humanity and total annihilation.”
4. The 1973 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1973)
(William F. Shields’ cover for the 1st hardback edition)
From the inside flap: “It is a known fact that the prominent sci-fi editor-writer-fan, Donald A. Wollheim, produced the first fantasy journal as far back as 1935, then followed it up with the first professional SF anthology in 1940.
Today, with THE 1973 ANNUAL WORLD’S BEST SF, Donald Wollheim continues the tradition of quality with which he has been identified for over a quarter of a century. Here is a sampling of what you’ll discover–
In Poul Anderson’s “Goat Song”, an all-power computer, SUM, rule a future Earth from deep within an ancient castle. Relying totally on machines to govern their lives, people have all but forgotten their emotions. Just one man, Harper, an inhabitant of the barbaric “outside” world, is left to stem the tide of mental decay that eventually will enslave mankind. Armed only with his wits and a spear, Harper takes on the system in the strangest “man vs. machine” confrontation ever devised!
Apart from being a science fiction writer, Robert J. Tilley is also a fine musician–a factor that makes “Willie’s Blues” a totally absorbing account of a time-travelling jazz buff. Coming back to the past to study the life of a famous trumpeter, the time traveler inadvertently discovers the paradoxes and hazards of trying to change history.
“The Gold at the Starbow’s End” by Hugo Award winner Frederik Pohl puts eight young men and women against the loneliness of a ten-year voyage to Alpha Centauri, their special laser drives taking their spaceship up to speeds approaching light. But a diabolical scientist has sent the unwitting group on a suicide mission to a nightmare region where travelers in strange ways… change them so radically that it might mean the end of human life as we know it.
In “Thus Love Betrays Us,” newcomer Phyllis MacLennon brings us a superb “off-planet” tale about a strange, sad and terrifying world called Deirdre–a nightmarish jungle planet where dense fog threatens to choke all that walk on its surface. Into this shadowy twilight zone comes stranded astronaut Alex Bathold, who must single-handedly survive until rescue comes from beyond the stars. His fight against loneliness and death brings him to the brink of insanity until an alien horror “befriends” him.
These and six other excellent stories by such authors as Clifford Simak, James Tiptree, Jr., and Michael G. Coney will prove conclusively that this truly is the world’s best science fiction.”
Authors in the collection: Poul Anderson, James Tiptree, Jr., Michael G. Coney, Frederik Pohl, Clifford D. Simak, T. J. Bass, W. Macfarlane, Robert J. Tilley, Vernor Vinge, Phyllis MacLennon.