Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXXXIV (Anne McCaffrey, Lester del Rey, Poul Anderson, and Philip Wylie)

1. In my youth Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels received a privileged place on my shelf. I have yet to explore her other SF in any great detail. The Ship Who Sang (1969) is a fix-up novel of six earlier short fictions from the 60s. I’ve put this one near the top of my to-read list!

2. Another epic series of tales of space exploration from Poul Anderson! I hope it’s better than Tau Zero (1970).

3. A post-apocalyptical novel from Philip Wylie—14 survivors in the bomb shelter of a millionaire. Thoughts on this one?

4. I’ve never cared for Lester del Rey, The only work of his I’ve somewhat enjoyed was The Eleventh Commandment (1962, rev. 1970) as I’m a sucker for overpopulation-themed SF.

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


1. The Ship Who Sang, Anne McCaffrey (1969) (MY REVIEW)

(Greg and Tim Hildebrandt’s cover for the 1976 edition)

From the back cover: “HELVA HAD BEEN BORN HUMAN …but only her brain had been saved—saved to be schooled, programmed and implanted in the sleep, titanium body of an intergalactic scout ship. But first she had to choose a human partner—male or female–to share her exhilarating escapades in space!

Her life was to be rich and rewarding… resplendent with daring adventures and endless excitement, beyond the wildest dreams of mere mortals.

Gifted with the voice of an angel and being virtually indestructible, Helva XH-834 anticipated a sublime immortality.

Then one day she fell in love!”

2. Tales of the Flying Mountains, Poul Anderson (1970)

(Anthony Sini’s cover for the 1971 edition)

From the back cover: “‘We, the people of the spaceship ASTRA, in order to accomplish man’s first venture beyond the Solar System…’

Brave words, pondered by the Advisory Council of the ASTRA as they hurtle through space, but words judged inadequate to the task they have set themselves—to take the most perilous journey of all, far beyond the Milky Way, to worlds unexplored, perhaps unexplorable. These pioneer spacemen and women have chosen a strange, uncertain future for themselves and their children, which they only begin to understand as they spin the fascinating tales of the space age past—repression, rebellion, and anarchy—of man’s fate—to accept the challenge of the stars or annihilate himself on earth.

Tales of the Flying Mountains, the thrilling story of a speculative world where man is finally forced to think before he acts.”

Contents: “Nothing Succeeds Like Failures” (1970), “The Rogue” (1963), “Say It with Flowers” (1965), “Que Donn’rez Vous?” (1963), “Sunjammer” (1964), “Recruiting Nation” (1970).

This collection also contains new interludes (1-6) and a prologue and epilogue.

3. Triumph, Philip Wylie (1962)

(Uncredited cover for the 1964 edition)


But most Americans never knew it.

On the entire continent of North America only 14 humans survived…. only 14 heard the news that…

‘The United States of America has been obliterated and burned to death… There is no USA!’

Now deep in the earth, in the fantastic shelter of a Connecticut millionaire, the survivors face the beginning of an underground nightmare that threatens what is left of their sanity.”

4. Pstalemate, Lester del Rey (1971)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “A master of science fiction creates his most ingenious and exciting adventure. A young man finds he has extrasensory talents. Then he discovers others have them, too—though few as powerful as his. And then comes an appalling discovery: he finds that if he cannot master these psi powers he will certainly go mad. And no one ever has mastered them.

His desperate battle to find the secret of the power leads him to a source utterly alien—and awesome in its implications for Earth’s fate…”

For more book reviews consult the INDEX

8 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXXXIV (Anne McCaffrey, Lester del Rey, Poul Anderson, and Philip Wylie)

  1. I read Triumph, but the back blurb (if that is what you are quoting) doesn’t sound familiar at all. All I really remember is that I liked it, but I liked Tomorrow better. Still that was 55 years ago, so I guess I’ll just have to wait for your full review.

    • Yeah, I indicate that the blurb is from the back cover. Not sure when I’ll get to it. Somewhat out of the post-apocalyptic mood that spurned the purchase and back into the decades I enjoy the most — strange 70s visions.

      Who knows, my reading whims take me in all directions (I never create a reading schedule)– perhaps I’ll tackle it soon!

  2. I THOUGHT I’d recognized the McCaffrey novel, then went digging through my anthology section – kicking up a dust-storm in the process (cough, cough) – and found the story version of “The Ship Who Sang,” in the Pamela Sargent anthology Women of Wonder (which I recall discussing with you at some point in the past four or five years on this site). I remember LIKING that story, though it’s been oh about six years since I read it.

    Hmm. So she combined that original story with some others, huh?

    • Yeah, it’s a fix-up for sure. It contains the following previously published short fictions: “The Ship Who Sang” (1961), “The Ship Who Mourned” (1966), “The Ship Who Killed” (1966), “Dramatic Mission” (1969). “The Ship Who Dissembled” (1969) (a variant of “The Ship Who Disappeared”), and “The Partnered Ship” (1969).

Comment! Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.