Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXII (Martin + Jeter + Lee + Gerrold)

I told you I had a glut of SF acquisitions! My reading hasn’t slowed although reviewing, I’ll confess, has taken a back seat. However, my summer holiday begins today–I have multiple book reviews partially finished and scheduled.

In the meantime–> new books.

1. I have not read a single Tanith Lee short story or novel. I bought three to rectify that gaping hole in my knowledge. MPorcius, over at MPorcius’ Fiction Log (one of the few vintage SF review sites still publishing out reviews at a delightful pace), regularly celebrates her work. Check out his review of Don’t Bite The Sun (1976).

2. The surprising Half Price find of the last few years of browsing was the near complete publication series of Laser Books (see photo below). They are notorious for being mostly low quality (even the better authors in the series such as Gordon Eklund). However, K.W. Jeter–of Dr. Adder (written 1972, published 1984) fame–published his first novel in the series — I snagged it.

Note: if there are ANY other lesser known gems in the Laser books publication series PLEASE let me know. I suspect that vast majority of books will still be on the shelf if I were to return.

3. I finally have my hands on two early George R. R. Martin SF novels. Dying of the Light (1977) seems to have a fantastic premise. I look forward to it.

4. David Gerrold’s Moonstar Odyssey (1977) was nominated for the 1978 Nebula Award and then promptly forgotten…. online reviews indicate the challenging subject material (child sexuality) and the lack of a distinct plot. Some reviews made comparisons to Ursula Le Guin… Gerrold’s fiction has not satisfied me in the past. My knowledge, however, is limited to the following two books I reviewed on my site:

The Space Skimmer (1972)

Yesterday’s Children (variant title: The Space Hunt) (1972)

Tangent: Moonstar Odyssey contains a fantastic map. I’ll feature it on Monday in my soon-to-be-revived Monday Maps and Diagrams series.

Let me know what you think of the books/covers in the comments!


1. Don’t Bite the Sun, Tanith Lee (1976) (MY REVIEW)

(Brain Froud’s cover for the 1st edition)

From the back cover: “It’s jang to be wild and sexy and reckless and teen-age.

It’s jang to do daredevil tricks and even get kileld a few times… you could always come alive again.

It’s jang to change your body, to switch your sex, to do anything you want to keep up with the crowd.

But there comes a time when you think you begin to think about serious things, to want to do something valid. And that’s when you find out there are rules beyond the rules and that the world is something else than all they’d taught you.

It’s the brilliant author of THE BIRTHGRAVE in a strikingly different style and a startlingly different sf novel.”

2. Seeklight, K.W. Jeter (1975) (MY REVIEW)

(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1975 edition)

From the back cover: “Barry Malzberg calls Seeklight one of the three or four best science fiction novels he has every read by an author new the the field. The world Seeklight creates is extraordinary.”

From SF encyclopedia: “Nevertheless, his first published novel, Seeklight (1975), fascinatingly combines tried-and-true narrative conventions (its protagonist is the scion of an ex-leader, whose rivals need to kill the lad) with exorbitant reality twists (a sociologist intermittently uses advanced technology to intervene and to make queries about the action).”

3. Dying of the Light, George R. R. Martin (1977)

(Haruo Miyauchi’s cover for the 1977 edition)

From the inside flap: “For centuries the planet Worlorn has drifted, dark and desolate, among the stars. Suddenly, it was swept into the path of a brilliant constellation called the Wheel of Fire. Worlorn would pass around these stars after an eternity of darkest night.

As the sunlight came, wonderful cities arose. Strange forests sprang up, created by alien animals from all over the galaxy. A great Festival of Worlds was held in the streets of Worlorn and people came from all over, building monuments to their cultures and setting up tourist services. But they abandoned everything once Worlorn began to sink into twilight. Only a few lost stragglers, memories and relics remained from a wonderful festival.

It is into this dying world that Dirk t’Larien ships. He has come to Worlorn in answer to the call of a whisperjewel, token of a pledge made many years before to his then-lover, Gwen. Gwen, now older and wiser, lives on Worlorn and studies its ecology. She, he learns, is “bound by jade a silver,” or love sworn, to Jaan, a noble, handsome man from High Kavalaan, a horribly violent planet.

Slowly, Dirk learns why Jaan has been banished to Worlorn. He discovers that “mockmen,” or stragglers, are brutally hunted for sport by Jaan’s few fellow worlders. Dirk ‘Larien, a man who never cared about anything but his own idea of love, discovers loyalty, bravery, sacrifice and adventure as he confronts death in the very real yet fantastic world of Worlorn.”

4. Moonstar Odyssey, David Gerrold (1977) (MY REVIEW)

(Gene Szafran’s cover for the 1977 edition)

From the back cover: “SHE WAS BORN IN THE MOONSTAR’S SHADOW when the storms of Satlik raged their worst. Because of this Jobe was different. The Family never spoke of it but everyone knew Jobe was special. So Jobe came to know of it too. She had a destiny beyond that of Choice, beyond that moment when she must finally decide for Reethe, Mother of the World, or for Dakka, Father, Son, and Lover. For the others it was easy, but not for her, not for Jobe. So she was sent to Option, the island of learning, to make her choice and become who she must be. And slowly, ever so slowly, Jobe retreated from the world, from the time of decision. Then the ultimate cataclysm wracked the planet, threatening all her people had struggled so hard to create, and Jobe came forth at last to fulfill her destiny and begin the quest that the moonstar had set for her so many years ago…”

29 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXII (Martin + Jeter + Lee + Gerrold)

      • I got into the Song of Ice and Fire series in the early 2000s, when he had three books published and said the fourth would end it. And then the fourth turned into two books. And then he stopped writing for a while. And then he went back to writing but focusing on prequels, side stories, boardgames, card games, a video game, and eventually the TV show. And I realized along the way that I was never going to read any more of these books until he either finished the series or died.

        • Ah, well, he’s an old man who only achieved real financial success late in his life! I don’t blame him…. at all…. for his slow rate of completion.

          He wrote so much BEFORE that series, you can’t let it cloud your view of him….

  1. “Dying of the Light” wasn’t bad for his first novel.You might like it more than me though,as your tastes tend to be rather different to mine.I think his later “Ferve Dream” is a clearer,more sustained novel though.

  2. Whatever you think of them, those Laser’s sure look good on a shelf. I too don’t blame Martin for his recent successes. I remember always looking forward to his short stories. He is also involved in a long running superhero saga (Wild Cards) in which the stories and novels are written by a diverse group of big name writers. I have to admit that I’ve never read a Tanith (R.I.P.) Lee novel, but I’ve read plenty of short stories by her, and I don’t remember ever reading a bad one.

  3. Yes,it was dark and gloomy,but I don’t remember much about the pIot.It has a dark,brooding,devolved,medieval atmosphere,and I think it has some good writing,but I’d say it was flawed by it’s opacity and rambling prose.As I say,you might like it better than me though.

  4. I enjoyed GRRM’s science fiction very much back in the day. Too bad the Thousand Worlds didn’t find the same success as Thrones. But Dying of the Light is one of the worst in my opinion, overlong and suffering from an ambiguous ending.

  5. I liked Windhaven when I read it in its original serial form in Analog, yes, it’s been THAT long ago! I have a LOT of Tanith Lee’s novels, I just haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. So many books and so little time left in my life. It has struck me that those Lasers would probably work best as juveniles. I would have loved them when I was fourteen or fifteen. I will forever have a soft spot for these guilty pleasures.

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