1. As I read the vast majority of Philip K. Dick’s novels pre-blog (i.e. pre-2010), many of the details have faded into a general morass of surreal fragments and paranoiac dreams. I know for certain Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) remains one of only a handful of unread works in his vast oeuvre.
This UK edition has a bizarre cover….
2. I thoroughly enjoyed Tanith Lee’s Don’t Bite the Sun (1976) and snatched another one of her early SF works—Day by Night (1980)…. the premise intrigues! A storyteller spins tales on a popular TV network that might not be stories at all…. but true accounts of the denizens from the other side of the planet.
3. A candidate for the worst cover of all time? The book by Gordon Eklund and Poul Anderson might not be much better. Certainly the risk purchase of the batch!
4. And finally, a riff on Brian Aldiss’ Helliconia formula? I can’t wait to read this one.
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, Philip K. Dick (1974)
(Richard Clifton-Dey’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover: “Jason Taverner, idol of thirty million TV viewers, wakes up one morning in a sleazy hotel bedroom and finds himself a complete unknown. And that’s just the start of his nightmare adventures in an American police state of the terrifying near future that makes 1984 look like the Age of Enlightenment…”
2. Day by Night, Tanith Lee (1980)
(Don Maitz’s cover for the 1st edition)
From the back cover: “The planet did not rotate. On one side eternal day, the sun shining down hotly from the center of the heavens. On the opposite side eternal night, the stars glowing cold in the black and airless sky.
Yet the planet had been colonized. In ages past civilization had dug into the rock of the darkside and had thrived. Aristocrats vied with aristocrats, and the poor, as ever, struggled to keep home and body together against the ever-encroaching cold surface.
To keep the lower classes happy, Vitra, the storyteller, spun romantic sagas on the popular network. She imagined a strange world on the sunside, inhabited by men and women enmeshed in crime and love, schemes and intrigues.
Vitra believed she was making this up. But was she? Was there really another civilization on the bright side and could it be that what she related was not fiction—but events which would inevitably send both worlds out of synch [sic] to mutual disaster?”
3. Inheritors of Earth, Godon Eklund and Poul Anderson (1974)
(Uncredited cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover: “To Alec Richmond, Sylvia Mencken seemed a mere mortal, while he was a Superior, one of the Inner Circle who knew things without being told and had conceptual powers that appeared magical to those who didn’t know.
But being a Superior had its own shortcomings. He’d started life as an Orphan and was permanently sterile. And, at any moment, he might lapse into the terrible madness that was the curse of so many Superiors.
Then there was the danger even Alec didn’t know about—the third form of humanity waiting… just waiting… for a chance to strike!”
4. Soldiers of Paradise, Paul Park (1987)
(Peter Elson’s cover for the 1989 edition)
From the back cover: “Enter a world where seasons last for generations, and the hope and curse of the future lies in the coming sugar rain. Where birth brands your flesh, and death leads you through the Nine Hells to paradise. Follow two men, renegades of the elite Starbridge ruling class, as they descend into the horrific lower depths of the phantasmagoric city of Charn. A prince and a doctor, two well-intentioned aristocrats sparking rage and revolution in their wake—sowing the dangerous seeds of a profound and alien concept: freedom!”
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