1. While browsing through various New Dimension anthologies I’ve procured recently (stay tuned for an all New Dimension post), I found a few names that I hadn’t heard of… I impulsively purchased A. A. Attanasio’s first novel–nominated for the 1982 Nebula Award.
2. I’ve read and reviewed a few short stories and novels by Robert Holdstock over the years. Eye Among the Blind (1976) had promise. And before I jump into his most famous works, I thought I’d explore more of his short stories first.
3. More Japanese SF in translation! This novel takes place in a vast underground hospital complex. COUNT ME IN!
4. Not sure what possessed me to grab this Curtis Books edition of an author those stories were rarely anthologized… oh wait, it included the words “overpopulation.” If you haven’t yet, check out my list of overpopulation-themed SF.
All the images are hi-res scans of my personal copies.
As always, thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.
Enjoy (and happy book buying)!
1. Radix, A. A. Attanasio (1981)
(Fred Marcellino’s cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover: “Thirteen centuries in the future, the Earth is people by telepathic voors whose lives originated in a far-off galaxy; by tribes of distorts desperately trying to breed themselves back to human normality; and by the Masseboth, tyrannical normals whose attempt to preserve a pure gene pool has become a weapon of worldwide oppression. One man is destined to stand in the way of disaster. We watch as Sumner Kagan wages a guerilla war against outlaw distorts, survives the brutal police camps, and is trained as an elite killer in the service of the Masseboth.
Haunted from within by his voor-son Corby, and stalked from without by Nefandi, an artificial killer sent by the mysterious intelligence who threatens destruction, Sumner is read for his destiny. From the yawp Bonescrolls he learns of his alter ego, the Delph, a godmind containing the crystallization of human experience which has existed for eons in the mind of one man. From the distorts Ardent Fang and Drift he learns friendship and humanity, and with them sets out to wake the godmind from its dreaming.
As he approaches the center of the godmind’s power, he must elude Defandi and the troops sent by the Masseboth. And he must use the voorish powers within him to battle the telepathic forces that seek to cloud his mind and his visions of the truth. On the success of Sumner’s quest hands whatever future humankind will have.
Radix is a complete world, brilliantly realized by the most talented new writer since Frank Herbert.”
2. In the Valley of the Statues, Robert Holdstock (1982)
(Chris Brown’s cover for the 1988 edition)
From the back cover: “Featuring the original story for the bestselling Mythago Wood.
From the landscapes of prehistory to the 40th millennium AD, from post-war England to the full canvas of the inhabited galaxy, Robert Holdstock’s haunting mythic imagination weaves eight stories of arresting power and ingenuity.”
Contents: “Earth and Stone” (1980), ” A Small Event” (1977), “Ashes” (variant title “Ash, Ash”) (1974), “Travellers” (1976), “The Touch of a vanished Hand” (1977), “The Graveyard Cross” (1976), “Mythago Wood” (1981)
3. Secret Rendezvous, Kobo Abe (1977, trans. 1979)
(Tadanori Yokoo’s cover for the 1979 edition)
From the inside flap: “One summer morning an ambulance–no one remembers having sent for one–suddenly drives up to the salesman’s house and carries his wife away.
In this brilliant, nightmarish, savagely funny novel by one of Japan’s greatest living writers, we follow the bereft and astonished husband in his desperate search for the vanished woman, as he pursues the mysterious ambulance to a vast underground hospital, as he struggles to find his bearings in a system so complex that patients have to hire agents to help them deal with it–a maze of information-gathering technology from which no information can be extracted. Here every room and hallway is electronically bugged (tapes of patients’ “secret” trysts are collected to further the advance of science, and sold by mail order as erotic accessories). Here patients are cured only to the extent that they remain alive to be cured again…
In the wake of the salesman we wander the endless corridors, encountering patients and staff–a weird, deformed, absurdly logical crew: the secretary who was a test-tube baby and, lacking human parents, also lacks a sense of human relationships… the truth expert who determined to perfect her marriage by subjecting every conversation to a lie detector…her husband, the assistant director, whose surgical solution to his problem of impotence has made him into a kind of centaur… And we meet the thirteen year-old nymphomaniac whose bones are gradually liquefying and who has become for the assistant director an obsession, and ideal–the forever incurable patient. It is she whose deadly fascination exerts itself on the salesman, eclipsing the importance of his original quest; dulling for him–though not for us–the impact of the grotesque pageant in which he at last discovers his wife. Lost with him in the labyrinth, we come to sense with him the seductiveness of the hospital and of its philosophy: that to be truly civilized is to embrace disease.”
4. The Da Vinci Machine, Earl Conrad (1968)
(Uncredited cover for the 1970 edition)
From the back cover: “A trip to the tomorrow world of obsolete man.
Cross the time dimension and enter an era of fantastic population explosion–an era where men such as Drinkwater are indulgently allowed to practice cannibalism. A world which rock-and-roll star Ook Ook Ook is enlisted to unite a nation gone mad, mad, mad…
Cross the time dimension, if you dare, and into the world of tomorrow–and come face-to-face with obsolete man…”