1. I’ve acquired quite a few vintage SF novels and short story collections in translation over the last few weeks–here’s one from Paul Van Herck, a Belgian author who wrote in Dutch. Not the cheapest DAW books edition I’ve encountered….
2. I always want more Le Guin…. Here, a series of linked short stories set in a fantasy world.
3. This Analog Annual anthology contains the only publication of P. J. Plauger’s novel Fighting Madness. Plauger won the John Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer before fading from the scene.
4. I love vintage SF. I do not love Ace Doubles. Yes, they published a few PKD novels that are worth reading, but, on the whole, I find their quality quite low. This was a gift from a family friend and one of the very few Ace Doubles I’ve been looking for — mostly due to Philip E. High’s city-themed novel.
As always, enjoy the covers! (they are hi-res scans of my personal copies — click for larger image)
Are any other the works worth reading? Let me know in the comments!
EDIT: I was too harsh on my Ace Doubles comment. I realized, and mentioned in the post and comments below, that they also published early PKD, Samuel Delany, and Barry N. Malzberg novels and short story collections, etc. Due to my low tolerance of pulp, I still find the vast majority of them uninteresting.
1. Where Were You Last Pluterday?, Paul Van Herck (1968, trans. 1973)
(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1973 edition)
From the back cover: “THE DAY THEY BANNED SCIENCE FICTION was the day that Sam, sf writer, encountered the enigma of Pluterday. Looking for a new way of making a living, he had met the daughter of a millionaire and made a date with her. She said, ‘Meet me next Pluterday.’
But when was Pluterday? Sam’s efforts to find out became a quest that turned his world upside down several times over. For it took him back and forth in time, it took him through several incarnations, it made him the biggest laughingstock of the little green Martians that infested the Earth.
WHERE WERE YOU LAST PLUTERDAY? by Paul Van Herck is a wildly satirical novel, different from any science fiction you have ever read, yet sure to delight every science fiction reader. It’s no wonder that it won the Europa Award in 1972 for the best sf novel from its part of the world.”
2. Orsinian Tales, Ursula K. Le Guin (1976)
(Pauline Ellison’s cover for the 1977 edition)
From the back cover: “Dr. Keth loses his freedom, finds his soul…
Galven Ileskar commits a pardonable crime…
The Lady of Moge dies through her living….
The place is Orsinia, a land of medieval keeps standing guard above walled cities, and of railways stretching across karst to vanish in mountains where the old gods still live. A country of harsh realities and gentle dreams whose people feel torn apart by massive forces and fight courageously to remain whole.”
3. Analog Annual, ed. Ben Bova (1976)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover: “THIS YEAR’S MOST EXCITING SCIENCE FICTION. For readers of the popular Analog magazine, hailed for many years as the leading science-fiction monthly, as well as far new audiences, this exciting annual introduces original works by the freshest, most-applauded talents of the year. Included are a complete novel, three masterful short stories, and a illustrated science-fact article, chosen for their excellence by the editor of Analog magazine to be published first in ANALOG ANNUAL:
FIGHTING MADNESS, by P.J. Plauger, winner of the 1975 John W. Campbell Award.
MALF, by Dean Ing, one of Analog’s leading contributors.
THIS TOWER OF ASHES, by George R.R. Martin, winner of the 1975 Hugo Award.
HALF AN OAF, by Spider Robinson, winner of the 1974 John W. Campbell.
THE CLIMACTIC THREAT, by John Gribbin, co-author of the best-selling book, THE JUPITER EFFECT.
ANALOG ANNUAL will be published each year to bring readers the best of the new science fiction…”
4. The Mad Metropolis, Philip E. High and Space Captain, Murray Leinster (1966)
(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1966 edition))
From the inside page: “Given: Earth 400 years from now–a rotten society in which mankind is doomed to die out. A solution to the problem–an ultra-intelligent computer to govern humanity. One man of seemingly average intelligence, but with an incredible I.Q. potential.
And you have: A corrupt society turned into a world where there is no corruption, because Mother Machine knows what’s best for her human children and does it. Where that same all-powerful computer is rapidly turning men into zombies.
And where the world’s only hope turns out to be one outlawed not-average man.
Result: An unusual science-fiction thriller.”
(Gray Morrow’s cover for the 1966 edition)
From the inside page: “BOMMERANG SPACESHIP. Trent, captain of space freighter Yarrow, came of a long line of spaceship commanders… and all of them had been troubled by pirates. Due to the nature of the space drive, which permitted flight to the stars past the speed of light, ships in flight were in more danger to each other than from anything else. It was this ability of one ship’s drive to blow out any drive near it that made space pirates so difficult to eradicate.
But this time Trent went into overdrive with a special device aboard—one that would turn the tables and make space permanently barred to pirates.
Trent was skeptical himself–and his skepticism stood him in good stead when he found himself more pirate bait than pirate baiter–and his secret weapon a space-warping double-edged boomerang.”