1. I adore the SF Rediscovery series published by Avon (full listing with covers here): the large size, the font and formatting, the framing of the art, and the general feel of the volume in my hand. If there’s a downside it’s the so-so quality of the art itself. I own and have reviewed two in the series previously: Barry N. Malzberg’s brilliant Revelations (1972) and E. C. Tubb’s generation ship novel The Space-Born (1955).
I have yet to read any of Eric Frank Russell’s SF—The Great Explosion (1962) seems to fit the satirical anti-Imperialism mode… we shall see!
2. A book an author whom I know little about…. Tony Roberts’ cover and the back-cover blurb intrigue!
3. Tim Powers’ first two novels were science fiction for the Laser Books imprint. I do not have high hopes (the imprint was notoriously low quality) but always enjoy exploring the early visions of authors. Miserable cover aside, it has a fun (if silly) premise!
4. A generation ship novel! (with a few unusual twists?)
Let me know what you think of the books and covers in the comments!
1. The Great Explosion, Eric Frank Russell (1962)
(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “THE BOONDOCKS OF SPACE. The giant Terran battle cruiser had plenty of guns and military personnel. Enough, surely, to subjugate any backwater planet. But it was one embarrassment after another as the Earthmen sped from planet to planet spreading the gospel of ‘civilization.’
One planet had developed from a million colonists, each of them a criminal… another was an insane world where clothing (especially uniforms like the Earthmen’s) was strictly forbidden… another planet was a planet where the only weapon was passive resistance—enough to disable Earth’s fighting power completely. And the mighty Earthling soldiers with dreams of Empire found themselves in real trouble at the hands of the “barbarians”…
In THE GREAT EXPLOSION, sf master Eric Frank Russell has produced a deliciously imaginative, fast-paces novel rich in entertainment and originality.”
2. Second Nature, Cherry Wilder (1982)
(Tony Robers’ cover for the 1986 edition)
From the back cover: “Strange reports of sightings of fiery fragments streaking across the night skies over Rhomary—distant outpost of the galaxy inhabited by descendants of a crew from the planet Earth, shipwrecked nearly two hundreds years before—-have reached the ears of the Dator of Rhomary, Maxim Bro, collector of information about past worlds and lives.
Now watching over the Vail—the wise, senteint beings who inhabit the great Western Sea—Maxim Bro leads a band of explorers in search of their ancient pasts, and to find the answer to a dream prophecy—that men from Earth will some day come again in a rain of fire!”
3. Epitaph in Rust, Timothy Powers (1976)
(Kelly Freas’ atrocious cover for the 1st edition)
From the back cover: “When Brother Thomas tries sky-fishing from the monastery roof he knows he is breaking the law, but the few risks seem a small price to escape the stifling boredom of his cloistered life. What he doesn’t understand is why his insignificant brush with the law makes him the object of a massive manhunt and triggers off such a dramatic chain of events. Certainly he achieves his aim and finds the excitement he craves—but in the process the lives of everyone around him change as well.”
4. Mayflies, Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. (1979)
(Vincent di Fate’s cover for the 1st edition)
From the back cover: “THE BRAIN PLANT. You are an ordinary man, with an ordinary future, when the accident happens. When you awaken twenty years later you are the computer braincore of a world-sized ship shepherding 25,000 humans on a thousand-year journey to the stars. First you are confused. Then angry. Then finally bored. That’s when you decide to play god..”
For book reviews consult the INDEX
For cover art posts consult the INDEX