1. I’ve scoured my online sources and finally found an affordable copy of George R. R. Martin’s Songs of Stars and Shadows (1977). It includes the first Martin short story I’ve read—“This Tower of Ashes” (1976) (I haven’t reviewed it).
2. More SF in translation! As it’s an 80s anthology it hadn’t been on my radar until recently… Terra SF (1981), the first in the series, remains prohibitively expensive. Rarely do I encounter an anthology where ALL the authors are unknown to me.
3. Another early Sheri S. Tepper novel…
4. And finally, what appears to be a radical departure from the standard Robinson Crusoe survival on an alien world novel (I’ve read a few reviews and fans of SF where man’s ingenuity wins the day might not be pleased). I adore Bergen’s cover art.
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Songs of Stars and Shadow, George R.R. Martin (1977)
(Uncredited cover for the 1st edition)
From the back cover: “A FEAST OF LEGENDS TO SAVOR—SOME WITH A SHUDDER, SOME WITH A SMILE—Deadly spiders big as pumpkins consume victims who scream with joy…
The saga of a man who lives alone of his own planet…
Adrian Colmer, Master Probe, takes on a client who claims to be the subject of telepathic torment…
An all-too-possible revolution in the Untied States, post-1984…
How Jupiter got its thirteenth moon…
And other astonishing tales, including ‘And Seven Times Never Kill Man,’ nominates for the Hugo Award.”
Contents: “This Tower of Ashes” (1976), “Patrick Henry, Jupiter, and the Little Red Brick Spaceships” (1976), “Men of Greywater Station” (1976), “The Lonely Sons of Laren Door” (1976), “Night of the Vampyres,” (1975), “The Runners” (1975), “Night Shift” (1973), “…For a Single Yesterday” (1975), “And Seven Times Never Kill Man” (1975).
2. Terra SF II: The Year’s Best European SF, ed. Richard D. Nolane (1983)
(Oliviero Berni’s cover for the 1st edition)
From the back cover: “‘The most contemporary selection to date of European science fiction, with outstanding stories…’ Such was the comment of Fantasy & Science Fiction on the first volume of TERRA SF. ‘This book should start a trend,’ was the opinion of The Twilight Zone magazine, while the Library Journal simply stated, ‘Excellent.’
Now again Richard D. Nolane, himself an [sic] SF writer and science fiction authority, brings you the latest selection of the best of Western European science fiction writing. Here in this volume is represented surprisingly imaginative concepts from France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Italy, Spain and even Finland. The names of the authors may be unfamiliar to the English-speaking world but they are the SF greats of the Old World.
TERRA SF II rounds out the DAW anthologies of the best.”
Contents: Karl Michael Armer’s “Shoobeedoowah Across the Universe” (1986), Daniel Walther’s “The Hospital, a Cynical Fable” (1982), Bob van Laerhoven’s “El Pape” (1983), Øyvind Myhre’s “John Henry” (1983), Weikko Rekunen’s “The Biological Truth” (1982), Tais Teng’s “Disslish the Aquamancer,” Francis Carsac’s “The Last Atlantean,” Merete Kruuse’s “Mikey Turns Three” (1983), Carlos Saiz Cidoncha’s “The Emerald-Studded Scepter” (1983), Gianluigi Zuddas’ “In Search of Aurade” (1981), Richard D. Nolane’s “The Ogre’s Head” (1983), Wolfgang Jeschke’s “Haike the Heretic’s Writings” (1983).
3. After Long Silence, Sheri S. Tepper (1987)
(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1988 edition)
From the back cover: “When humans first laid claim to the planet Jubal, they found it to be a world of huge mountains and vast oceans, of scattered deserts and safe areas of deepsoil—and of peculiar, seemingly natural formations previously unknown to man: mysterious, crystalline Presences…
Unique, almost hypnotic in their magnificence, the Presences were potentially deadly. In order to more freely across Jubal’s surface, Explorers had been forced to find and chart pathways around the majestic mineral growths. Through lethal trial and error, they had discovered musical sequences that would enable Tripsingers to serenade traders and travelers past the strange, often mountain-sized growths of crystal. But any Explorer or Tripsinger who hit a wrong note—a note of discord to a particular Presence—would set off an avalanche of knife-sharp crystal shards—an explosion that would destroy all life within the danger zone.
Despite the risks, humans had managed to not only carve out their cities and towns, but also to find and cultivate the brou-pods—a commodity which they shipped off-planet for processing into both medicine and that finest of drinks, broudy.
But there wer some who, motivated by greed, chafed at the limitations of Jubal’s “protected world” status. Powerful forces on- and off- world were moving to alter the official designation to one that would leave the planet open for total exploitation—beginning with the indiscriminate destruction of the Presences.
Yet it was not just the possible loss of their livelihood that prompted Tripsingers like Tasmin Ferrence and his acolytes, Jamieson and Clarin, to take action. The Presences belonged… for all the colonists knew, they were alive. Neither the offworlders nor the ruthless opportunists at the hear to Jubal’s own government had the right to rape this world—and Tasmin intended to marshal whatever forces he could to save his planet.
Explorer Donatella Furz was willing to help, but for another more personal reason. She had stumbled upon the key to the secret behind Jubal’s Presences—a key which, if turned in the proper lock, would prove the planet’s true importance. Pursued by unidentified enemies, unable to trust even those comrades she had work with for years, Donatella’s one hope was that, allied with the Tripsingers, she could find the truth about the Presences in time to prevent the destruction of the world’s delicate ecological balance.
As self-serving government officials raced to seize Jubal’s wealth, Tasmin, Donatella and their small band of allies began to mobilize their fellow Tripsingers and Explorers, as well as the hidden forces of the planet itself—a desperate, final defense that would lead them all the the brink of catastrophe… and beyond.”
4. Shipwreck, Charles Logan (1975)
(David Bergen’s cover for the 1977 edition)
From the back cover: “GALACTIC CRUSOE. When an atomic explosion destroys a huge expedition ship, Tansis becomes the sole survivor of the human race. A skilled space pilot he manages to land his scout craft on the nearest planet. The alien world in which he finds himself is not hostile but has no means of supporting human life. Desperate for intelligent contact, Tansis establishes a telepathic relationship with the extraordinary seal-like creatures who live in the planet’s oceans. But just as things seem to be going smoothly, the craft computer warns Tansis that the energy is running out and he is forced to take drastic measures to safeguard his own survival….”
For book reviews consult the INDEX
For cover art posts consult the INDEX