1. I recently proclaimed my fascination with sports-related SF (despite my general lack of interest in sports) in my review of William Harrison’s “Roller Ball Murder” (1973)… A few of my blog friends have favorably reviewed Gary K. Wolf’s Killerbowl (1975) — couldn’t resist buying a copy online.
I reviewed Wolf’s The Resurrectionist (1979) last year.
2. An anthology edited by Robert Silverberg filled with a veritable horde of great authors–Ursula Le Guin, Terry Carr, R. A. Lafferty, James Triptree, Jr…..
3. A family friend sent me a large box of science fiction paperbacks, which arrived on my doorstep while I was hiking in the Adirondacks—I’ll be posting them slowly. Some I’d purchase if I’d encountered them in a used book stores, others I’d avoid… All greatly appreciated!
And goodness me does this Simak novel have a stunning Richard Powers cover!
4. Part of the gift–Mack Reynolds. Hmm. I am always weirdly excited about opening his books only to discover shoddy plots, half-baked political philosophy, and a few fun ideas hidden in forgotten corners…. At first glance, this fix-up novel reminds me of Rick Raphael’s slice of life novel Code Three (1967).
As always. thoughts and comments are welcome.
Note: Images are hi-res scans of my personal copies.
1. Killerbowl, Gary K. Wolf (1975)
(Steve Marcesi’s cover for the 1975 edition)
From the inside flap: “T. K. Mann, at the age of thirty-four, is the oldest living survivor of organized football. After thirteen years of street football, a twenty-four-hour game with armed players, Mann is sharp, still quick, still eager to play the game. But he’s not bloodthirsty enough to please IBC, the network television conglomerate which profits heavily from the sport. Though ratings are impossibly high, and the nation hangs hungrily on every play, IBC is not satisfied. They want more viewers, higher ratings, more profits. To get it, they need more violence.
Pierce Spencer, ruthless IBC president, dreams up an ingenious scheme: manufacture a confrontation between T. K. Mann and Harv Matision, a young tough-and-coming killer. The network has everything at its disposal. It manipulates government officials, engineers the outcome of matches, turns Mann into a laughingstock–and owns Harv Matision, directing his actions by remote control. And the final setup is to be Superbowl XXI, when the odds are stacked and the game is rigged…”
2. New Dimensions 3, ed. Robert Silverberg (1973)
(Dennis Anderson’s cover for the 1973 edition)
From the inside flap: “Here is the top drawer anthology of science fiction filled with the kind of imagination that beguiles you with plausibility, the kind that makes you think even while it entertains you. Some of the stories are fanciful, others are horrifyingly suspenseful–but all of them are unforgettable.
In Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” you’ll be transported to a distant paradise where pleasure reigns supreme. Anything desired is granted–wealth, beautiful girls, happiness and laughter. Yet hidden deep within the city recesses lies a locked and darkened room. Confined by its walls sits an unmentioned something so weak it hardly manages to exist–yet with a power so fierce it could destroy all of paradise forever.
“The Girl Who Was Plugged In” by science fiction master James Tiptree, Jr. is a strange love story of a deformed woman given a second chance at romance. Put in command of an artificially created female body, the ugly one can only sit at a sterile control panel and live out another life not really her own. Then the unexpected happens–a handsome man falls headlong in love with the robot girl, and the homely controller, 4000 miles away in an electronic labyrinth, must make the age old decision of breaking the man’s heart or breaking her own.
Damon Knight’s “Down There” takes a long, hard look at 21st Century Man. Living in a bustling metropolis with buildings that dwarf even the tallest of today’s skyscrapers, Mr. Average, Bob Norbert, works his four day as a writer of romantic fiction. Bob likes his job, has plenty of friends and is never without money. Yet he’s willing to risk everything to make a hazardous voyage Down There–down below the lowest level of the city…. where only the night people go.
In “How Shall We Conquer?” by W. Macfarlene we meet a group of aliens with an intriguing proposition for the people of Earth: “We invite a family to come live with us to understand our society… you choose the family.” But were the aliens sincere? Do they have an ulterior motive? What if no Earth families want to go? Only one man could have guessed the motives behind this baffling enigma.
In topic and treatment NEW DIMENSIONS 3 ranged from speculative vignettes to the purest form of classical science fiction–11 superb stories that will challenge your imagination.”
Otherstories in the collection: Terry Carr’s “They Live on Levels,” R. A. Lafferty’s “Days of Grass, Days of Straw,” Barry N. Malzberg’s “Notes Leading Down to the Conquest,” Geo Alec Effinger’s
At the Bran Factory”, F. M. Busby’s “Tell Me All About Yourself,” Gordon Eklund’s “Three Comedians,” and Gardner R. Dozois’ “The Last Day of July.”
3. The Werewolf Principle, Clifford D. Simak (1967)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1968 edition)
From the back cover: “BACK FROM THE STARS. Andrew Blake, found frozen in a space capsule after 200 years on a wandering asteroid, is brought back to a strangely different Earth.
In his search for identity he suddenly becomes frighteningly aware of two alien beings that lurk within his body. With this discovery as a clue to his origin, Black gradually unearths the mystery-shrouded “Werewolf Principle”–a scientific theory buried in the past that promises startling consequences for the future…”
4. Police Patrol: 2000 A.D., Mack Reynolds (fix-up: 1977)
(Uncredited cover for the 1977 edition)
From the back cover: “Now, in this new book, Mack Reynolds presents his readers with an imaginative and action-packed look into the everyday life of a twenty-first century policeman.