Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCVIII “Christmas Edition” (An Atlas of Fantasy + Sturgeon + Jeter + Berriault)

1. One of two SF/F gifts (not specifically for Christmas — but let’s pretend!) I’ve included in this post…. Due to my recent series on Maps and Diagrams in Science Fiction, a reader and fan of the site sent me his extra copy of J.B. Post’s An Atlas of Fantasy (1973)–which includes some SF maps as well. Thank you!

2. The second gift—I’ve been spacing a giant pile of vintage SF I received from a family friend out over many months! Sturgeon sometimes intrigues, and sometimes infuriates—hopefully there will be more of the former in this collection. No stories in the vein of “The Hurkle Is a Happy Beast” (1949) please.

3. Dr. Adder, K. W. Jeter’s infamous “couldn’t be published when it was written” novel that might have defined “cyberpunk” long before Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984). I have the Bluejay Books 1st edition with lots of evocative (and disturbing) interior art.

4. And finally, a completely unknown quantity from an author I’d never heard of–Gina Berriault. Promises to be a Cold War satire of impending nuclear destruction. And it has a History professor as a main character! (i.e. maybe a 1960s version of me? we shall see).


Happy Holidays!

And let me know in the comments if you receive any SF/fantasy Christmas gifts.


1. An Atlas of Fantasy, J. B. Post (1973)

(Uncredited cover for the 1979 edition)


Over 100 marvelous maps to the Never-Never Lands of fiction and folklore! From the Garden of Eden to Middle-earth, this entrancing collection includes class and “cult” charts, whimsical amateur sketches, and author-drawn blueprints of their own fabulous dominions.

An Atlas of Fantasy leads you on a journey to phantasmagoria–where the most enchanting non-people and non-places are waiting to be discovered…”

2. The Worlds of Theodore Sturgeon, Theodore Sturgeon (1972)

(Davis Meltzer’s cover for the 1972 1st edition)

From the back cover: “Theodore Sturgeon, winner of the International Fantasy Award, favorite of anthologists, bestselling author of fabulous science fiction novels and much sought-after collections, is here presented in a new collection of stories.

Representative of all the periods of his career, ranging from great science fiction to the weird and startling, here are thrilling tales, most of which have never been reprinted in any book.

Here are rare novelettes like THE SKILLS OF XANDU, THERE IS NO DEFENSE, THE OTHER MAN, and THE PERFECT HOST. Here, too, are some of Sturgeon classics like MATURITY and SHOTTLE BOB, and some that are of classic-status like THE SKY WAS FULL OF SHIPS. In short, here are…


3. Dr. Adder, K.W. Jeter (1984)

(Barclay Shaw’s cover  for the 1984 1st edition)



A Los Angeles populated by freaks and goons and down-and-outers–and by John Mox’s Moral Forcers. While Mox broadcasts sermons to tranquilize the mind, Dr. Adder rules the city–with his bod-sculpting scalpels and soul-searing hallucinogens. Drugs. Power. Money. Sex. Whatever your habit, Dr. Adder is your friend. And that’s why Mox wants him dead.”

4. The Descent, Gina Berriault (1960)

(Cover designed by David Bullen for the 1986 edition)

From the back cover: “Gina Berriault’s THE DESCENT, first published in 1960, is a prophetic tale of an escalating nuclear arms race and of the hypocrisy, duplicity, and ignorance that feed it. A satire both timely and timeless, it tells the story of Arnold Elkins, an Associate Professor of History, who is singled out for the high-sounding cabinet post of Secretary of Humanity, but who soon fins himself the target of powerful forces intent on his destruction.”

For book reviews consult the INDEX

For cover art posts consult the INDEX

26 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCVIII “Christmas Edition” (An Atlas of Fantasy + Sturgeon + Jeter + Berriault)

    • Do you have the 1st edition? Or a later one? The later ones might not….

      Didn’t Bluejay Books go under soon after Dr. Adder was published?

      (I’m remembering little bits of an article I read about the book — I should find it again.)

      • I’ll have to go in the stacks and look at my edition. I don’t remember what the timing of Bluejay’s lapse is compared to Dr. Adder. Bluejay’s closing had to be post 1985 since they published the second of Robert Anton Wilson’s Historical Illuminatus trilogy but not the third. ISFDB would seem to indicate 1986 as their last year.

  1. I thought Gina Berriault’s short story “The Stone Boy” was quite well known. I read it twice in junior and high school, but maybe it depends upon the age/provenance of one’s textbooks. I remember it being quite good in subjectively/impressionistically sketching the the cruel judgments a grieving family makes about the awkward behaviour of brother of a boy who was accidentally killed, so denying him the support he requires
    and turning him into the emotionally crippled person they think he already he is.

  2. I loved the Jeter when I read it 30 odd years ago. The two, loose “sequels” are worth checking out too–The Glass Hammer and Death Arms. Not sure how I’d feel about them now. Yet more books to return to? Which reminds me, have you read Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider? A great “proto” cyber punk. Also, not sure what to make of Sturgeon. I liked Hurkle, mostly for its grim ending over the whimsy. But yeah, the whimsy can be a killer. Microcosmic God is a great early Sturgeon short.

    • I have read The Shockwave Rider — but before I started this site (I must confess, I don’t remember that much about the novel). Of course, Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar is my favorite SF novel.

        • Definitely! Not better than Zanzibar — 😉 (I am all for Zanzibar’s information overload structural and experimental choices — charts, quotations, advertising jingles, etc.)

          Both are unmissable for anyone interested in 60s/70s SF.

          • It’s a tough one. Sheep has more narrative coherence. But it also plays like a Zanzibar light, which helps with its drive. But Zanzibar’s information overload is simply wonderful and more than compensation for the thin plot. It really depends on which one I’ve read most recently!

            • Don’t get me wrong, I adored Sheep — and yes, it demonstrated his ability to make a more narratively driven masterpiece which wasn’t one of his paycheck books (what I call the substandard dreck he wrote and published while writing Stand on Zanzibar). And the theme, although common now, ushered in a movement of ecological fiction (perhaps a somewhat hyperbolic statement — but it was influential).

  3. Aside from an anthology that happened to include a Sturgeon work (probably “More Than Human”), I believe that “The Worlds of Theodore Sturgeon” was the first Sturgeon book I purchased – ca. 2006, I think. Probably got it for about 90 cents at a second-hand store that sold all of their SF for, yep, 90 cents. I must have bought several boxes worth from that store over about a five-year period.

    • What did you think of the collection?

      I still occasionally find a SF title for a $1 in used stores. Especially ones where the SF has been sitting around with no buyers for years! hah. As I’ve suggested elsewhere, most SF fans are more interested in the aesthetic of vintage SF than reading it….

      • I liked most of the stories, though “The Skills of Xanadu,” “The Perfect Host,” and “Maturity” are the strongest ones – and reflect Sturgeon at his best. Sturgeon has a thing for symbiotes, doesn’t he?

        Yeah, there’s a used book room I visit about once a month (though a little less than that in recent months) that has SF books for about $0.50. My plan – once I ca justify it, i.e., read more of the SF I have – is to draw up a list of authors/series, and see what I can find there.

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