1. Keith Laumer is an author I’ve only dabbled in—a few short stories in an anthology here and there. Another (one of twenty?) Laumer volume joins my collection. With a solid Richard Powers’ cover!
2. I finally picked up a copy of Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven (1971)—one of her few early works lacking from my collection. I recently read and enjoyed The Word for World is Forest (1972).
3. According to a goodreads review, Justin Leiber’s novel “a hard sci-fi take on gender dysphoria.” SF Encyclopedia emphasizes how Justin Leiber, Fritz Leiber’s son, “used sf as a medium for speculation in his field of interest, the philosophy of the mind.” Call me intrigued about Beyond Rejection (1980)….. and suspicious.
4. The unknown quantity of this post. Have you read any of his work? Or heard of his most “famous” novel Time-Slip (1986)? Joachim Boaz, taking risks since the birth of this abomination (website).
1. Nine by Laumer, Keith Laumer (1967)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1969 edition)
From the back cover: “Enter the enthralling future world of Keith Laumer, one of the most creative and compelling minds in science fiction today…
Does the System threaten to punch-card you? Watch Mart Malden, forced school dropout, try to bean an infallible system on his “Placement Test.”
Anxious to get away from small-town living? Take “A Trip to the City” with Bret hale, but beware of the frightening world that awaits you at the end of an all too short train ride.
Feel like prisoners in your own home? Flora Trimple has been inside “The walls” for so long that she doesn’t even know if there is a world existing beyond her front door.
THERE’S A WORLD BEYOND YOURS… and it’s all here.”
2. The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula Le Guin (1971)
(Uncredited cover for the 1995 edition)
From the back cover: “IF DREAMS COULD CHANGE THE WORLD…A DREAMER COULD DESTROY IT.
George Orr’s dreams do change the world. He is the only one who knows it… he and the power-mad psychiatrist who is forcing George to dream a new reality, a better reality, free from war, disease, overpopulation, and all human misery.
But for every man-made dream of utopia, there is a terrifying, unforeseeable consequence, and George must dream seeking a perfect future. Until the very essence of cosmic reality begins to disintegrate.
THE LATHE OF HEAVEN is perhaps the finest, most eerily provocative renowned for the dramatic force of her vision.”
3. Beyond Rejection, Justin Leiber (1980)
(Ron Miller’s inept cover for the 1981 edition)
From the inside flap: “Someone has taken the body of Ismael Forth. But thanks to modern medicine, his prerecorded personality tapes have been implanted in a new body…
The body of a woman, formerly Sally Cadmus. An attractive female body with an elegant, bioprosthetic, prehensile tail.
As a compromise with the body’s former occupant, Ismael becomes Patricia Forth, and learns—with the help of Candy Darling, a Federation agent with an 11-year-old body and an 80-year-old mind–that Ismael’s body had disappeared on a space trip.
Yet the real Ismael, Patricia knew, would never have taken such a trip. That knowledge, coupled with the mysterious disappearance of other bodies, takes Candy and Patricia to the planet Rime, on a fast-paced, breathtaking adventure—in search of Ismael’s old body and hard on the tracks of a ruthless and illegal group of body-snatchers.
And all the while Patricia, née Ismael/Sally, is the solitary actor in an even more gripping drama: the reconciliation of her two former roles into one, and the creation of a new self.”
4. The Dream Wall, Graham Dunstan Martin (1987)
(Peter Gudynas’ cover for the 1st edition)
From the inside flap: “In the nightmare worlds of the 22nd century, Britain has become a Communist state after the Glorious Revolution of 2009.
People’s Friends line the streets, cradling their machine guns; the dead of night is shattered by cries, and in the morning another apartment lies empty.
Yet Our Beloved Leader still strives towards a perfect world in which all citizens conform. For still men are neither equal nor happy!
Our Beloved Leader has the solution. To eliminate that last inner refuge of the individual—his dreams.
Sue and John Mathieson dream of a world very different from their own. But soon it becomes impossible to tell the two worlds apart. The jackboots begin to approach the dream wall…”
For book reviews consult the INDEX
28 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXVI (Le Guin + Leiber + Laumer + Martin)”
“In the nightmare worlds of the 22nd century, Britain has become a Communist state after the Glorious Revolution of 2009.”
That is the most unfunny hilarious thing I’ve read in 2019.
Yeah, a lot of the late 80s Communist paranoia novels, retrospectively, seems hilarious…. Even as a historian it can be hard to realize that the fall of Communism wasn’t inevitable.
#4 is extremely the kind of book I’d find in the used-book store, snatch up no matter what the price, and half finish on the bus ride home.
As I read Greenland’s Daybreak on Another Mountain recently, I browsed the Unwin editions — and found this one! I purchased his novel Time-Slip (far before this one) but apparently it has slipped through time, stuck somewhere between the UK and here…
I don’t like Keith Laumer at all.I can’t even remember what his piece in Harlan Ellison’s “Dangerous Visions” was about,and that was supposed to be radical.
I think “The Lathe of Heaven” is very good,but I didn’t like it as much as “The Left Hand of Darkness” and “The Dispossessed”,probably because it didn’t have the same common background as the other two,I don’t know.This is really a personal choice though.
Have you read any of Laumer’s work other than the Dangerous Vision short story? i.e. “Test to Destruction: (1967)
Did you see my review of Le Guin’s The Word for World is Forest?
Yes, “A Plague of Demons and other stories”,before the “Dangerous Visions” one.
I tried to read “The Word for World is Forest” before I see your review,but could only get a short way into it.
What made you quit?
Lathe of Heaven is a favourite, my take on it is here.
I have read a bit of Laumer I enjoyed A Plague of Demons and my take is here.
I really liked the David Meltzer cover with the skull for A Plague of Demons. But I started the Retief series and did not finish the first book. I guess you can say I am divided on him, Some of his Bolo stories are okay but not outstanding in any way.
I have a ton of his books so I will try another. I like the Powers cover on your copy.
I couldn’t get into it.I didn’t think it had the power,clarity and grace of her other stuff.
Perhaps you were just put off by the subject matter. It definitely had power and clarity. And gorgeously wrought moments of death and destruction….
I think perhaps you’re right Joachim.I based my comments on what I said about it,on Admiral Ironbomb’s review of it,though.
Read any interesting SF in the last few months?
I read J.G. Ballard’s “Kingdom Come”.I don’t think it’s nearly as good as his earlier fiction though,even those of the 1990s,such as “Cocaine Nights”.
Ah, I don’t own that one yet.
I bought Martin’s The Dream Wall for the cover and found it very good read. It took me most of the book to figure out what was going on, but I won’t spoil it for others. The Leiber book is unappealing to me. I know I’ve read something with that theme, but just don’t recall the title. I’ve read and enjoyed most of Laumer’s fiction up to when he had a stroke in 1971. After that the few I finished were repetitive and tedious so I stopped buying them. Although I know it’s not great my favorite Laumer is still Dinosaur Beach. I don’t know how I haven’t bought The Lathe of Heaven, but it’s still on my list to acquire. One of these days I’ll find it…
Glad someone has read it! So many of these novels have a handful of idiotic goodreads reviews–two lines—and votes. It’s incredibly difficult to see what people think of it…. And I am a compulsive review reader!
I suspect that Leiber’s novel is a far more delicately told story than the one which pops into my mind — Heinlein’s miserable I will Fear No Evil (1970) which I quit half way through…. and gave my copy away.
As for Le Guin, I’m confused why I didn’t read it either. I did not own a copy as kid, but my sister did (and loved it).. and I tended, on some weird childish principle, not to read her books. Although she read all of mine!
I went to the remaining local used book store around here and found they had two copies of The Lathe so I bought one, as well as a couple of very good condition Laser books by Pournelle and the Disch collection One Hundred and Two H-Bombs. Right now I’m finishing up Wylie’s Tomorrow. It’s somewhat preachy, but a good example of the 50s paranoia about WWIII, such as the recently finished Pat Frank’s Forbidden Area.
Tell me more about Frank’s Forbidden Area — I put it on my too acquire list recently.
The Forbidden Area was a thriller of sorts, not as good as Alas, Bablyon, although that’s one of my favorites from the 50s along with Shute’s On the Beach. As I’ve stated before, I usually don’t read books to be critical, but Frank was a damned good author in my humble opinion. I also enjoyed his Mr. Adam. Forbidden is available as a free ebook, by the way, through Gutenberg Canada. I can attach the .pdf and email it to you – just let me know?
I finished Wylie’s Tomorrow and thought it was his best work that I’ve read. More upbeat than The End of the Dream. The former is slow to get going and rather brutal for the last 80 pages or so. It is mostly about a limited amount of characters and ratchets up the tension as it proceeds. Reminded me of Charles Eric Maine’s The Tide Went Out and Christopher’s No Blade of Grass. Neither was a what you’d call a cosy catastrophe.
Thank you for the offer regarding The Forbidden Area. I’m not a PDF reader, or ebooks… It’s just a few bucks online, I’ll probably buy it when I’m in the mood!
I’ve yet to read anything by Wylie.
…wait, I thought Christopher’s No Blade of Grass was considered THE typical cosy catastrophe?
I thought the brutality of Pirrie and end of the book were pretty violent. Year of the Cloud by Wilhelm and Thomas is a cozy catastrophe.
“Cosy catastrophe” seems have a very loose definition — according to this author few books adhere to Aldiss’ original definition. This was the article and list I was thinking of — and it includes Christopher’s novel.
Honestly, I think that Laumer is best discovered when the reader is young. I liked his short fiction and novels when I was in high school, although, just as honestly, I don’t remember ever liking any of the Retief stories. Rather an uneven author.
Yeah, I have to admit it. Ron Miller’s cover is awful. Does the Amazon even have a right breast? Can’t tell. She also looks like a football player. Haven’t read the novel though, wonder how he stacks up to his father.
Yeah, that cover is cringe inducing. I sort of like the rocks on the bottom third — but the figures are atrocious!
I agree with your Laumer comment — unfortunately, I didn’t read a single of his stories or novels when I was a kid. I get the sense I would have loved the Retief stories!
Coincidentally I picked up a copy of Nine By Laumer a few weeks back. So far I’ve enjoyed Hybrid, End As Hero The Walls, and (with some reservations) A Trip to the City. Additionally, I found End As Hero, while good, a bit patchy in its world building. The stuff “in space” was well realized, but in the sections set on Earth I felt that Laumer just gave up on the world building and wrote as if the story took place in a contemporaneous setting. For me it undermined the futuristic conceit of the work.
MPorcius reviewed all the stories in Nine by Laumer. Check out his thoughts: http://mporcius.blogspot.com/2019/09/the-long-remembered-thunder-cocoon-and.html