1. Julian May’s The Many-Colored Land (1981), winner of the 1982 Locus Award for Best SF novel (Nebula-nominee and third in Hugo voting), does not have a premise that grabs me (time-travel to the Pliocene Era of Earth). But count me intrigued! And her novel is graced with a fun map that I’ll post in a future Monday Maps and Diagrams post.
2. Kirby’s cover has serious problems… check it out. It’s an alien worm? Neal Barrett Jr.’s Stress Pattern (1974) seems to blend Dune with a more anthropological mystery take on SF à la Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s The World Menders (1971)?
3. More early C. J. Cherryh! My recent review of Port Eternity (1982).
4. I’ll confess, I’m a fan of stranded on alien planet survival tales… don’t have high hopes for this one but I adore the James Gurney (of Dinotopia fame) cover.
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. The Many-Colored Land, Julian May (1981)
(Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1983 edition)
From the back cover: “FLIGHT INTO THE UNKNOWN.
An orderly and peaceful interstellar society, the twenty-first century’ Galactic Milieu had little place for the incurable adventurer, the secret psychotic, or the ruthless con man.
So, when a one-way time tunnel to Earth six million B.C., was discovered, every misfit for light-years around hurried to pass through it, hungry for adventure, the romance of the unknown, and a life free of the Milieu’s stuffy rules.
Each sought his own brand of happiness. But none could have guessed what awaited them. Not even in a million years…”
2. Stress Pattern, Neal Barrett Jr. (1974)
(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1st edition)
From the back cover: “RIDE THE WORMWAY TO NO-WONDERLAND.
The essence of a truly null-Earth logic may never be as clearly defined as in this novel-length package of interplanetary surprises.
Consider this marooned astronaut. His spaceship and supplies are swallowed in one gulp by something from beneath the featureless plain of an unknown world.
The natives are not hostile but they seem incurious. He is welcome to use their free railroad system–the ‘almentary express’ of a world-girdling WORMWAY. Those he regards as sane are considered to be crazy. The culture techniques he is sure are crazy turn out to be quite rational–by that world’s standards.
He fathers a child without ever touching the mother. It’s when he does physically create his true offspring that he gets his most startling surprise.
STRESS PATTERN is a deceptively easy novel. Delightful reading, it will turn out to be something you will not forget in a hurry.”
3. The Faded Sun: Kesrith, C. J. Cherryh (1978)
(Gino D’Achille’s cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover: “This is the story of three people: Sten Duncan, a soldier of humanity; Niun, the last warrior of the mri, humanity’s enemies; Melein, priestess-queen of the final fallen mri stronghold.
This is the stor of two mighty species fighting for a galaxy: humanity diriving out from Earth, and the enigmatic regul struggling to hold their stars with mri mercenaries.
This is a story of diplomacy and warfare, of conspiracy and betrayal, and of three flesh-and-blood people who found themselves thrown together in a life-and-death alliance.
This latest novel from the author of BROTHERS OF EARTH and HUNTER OF WORLDS is top-flight science fiction worth of the winner of the John W. Campbell Award.”
4. The Tartarus Incident, William Greenleaf (1983)
(James Gurney’s cover for the 1983 edition)
From the back cover: “‘SOMEBODY GET US THE HELL OUT OF…’
This was the last transmission received from Oliver McElroy’s audit team. What could never happen… was now a terrifying fact. The five-person crew of the UNSA audit ship jack-a-dandy had simply disappeared during a routine materialization from Graywand station to the planet Sierra.
It was the end of their comfortable routine, and the beginnning of the interstellar nightmare known as…
THE TARTARUS INCIDENT.”
For book reviews consult the INDEX
For cover art posts consult the INDEX