Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXLI (Ben Bova, Margaret Elphinstone, Christopher Evans, Lee Hoffman)

1. New author to me. Unknown book. Fascinating Peter Gudynas city-scape cover. Let the act of exploration carry me through!

2. My The Women’s Press collection of SF/F novels grows. This is probably one of the least known volumes.

But so was Elizabeth Baines’ The Birth Machine (1983) and it was fantastic!

3. I love the concept of an epic near-future space thriller involving weather manipulation! But me and Ben Bova never see eye-to-eye….

4. An unknown Doubleday SF edition. I have yet to read any of Lee Hoffman’s SF — she wrote a handful.

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

1. Capella’s Golden Eyes, Christopher Evans (1980)

(Peter Gudynas’ cover for the 1982 edition)

From the back cover: “For over a century, the human colonists on the planet Gaia have prospered under the guidance of the M’threnni. But when David arrives in the capital Helixport and makes contact with the aliens, he begins to learn the terrifying truth about them. From that moment on he is in mortal danger,, for the M’threnni, far from being silent benefactors, may turn out to be the deadliest of cruel dictators…”

2. The Incomer, Margaret Elphinstone (1987)

(Jane Furst’s cover for the 1987 edition)

From the back cover: An original publication from The Women’s Press.

“It is midwinter when the Incomer arrives in Clachanpluck, a tiny hamlet deep in the forest in a once devastated landscape. She is a wandering fiddle player whose coming heralds the return of music and festivity. But Clachanpluck is no ordinary village, for it holds a secret from the time before the world changes. And Naomi’s presence disturbs the precarious balance within the community and threatens to awake a violence long forgotten…”

3. The Weathermakers, Ben Bova (1967)

(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1979 edition)

From the back cover: “The weather—everyone complains about it but no one does anything about it. Until Ben Bova’s THE WEATHERMAKERS.

Ted Marrett knows how to do things with the weather, important things such as bringing rain to drought-stricken agricultural areas. And as soon as he does, the Pentagon decides that weather control should be a classified military project. The scientific and political infighting surrounding the project comes to a head as Marrett and his staff embark on Project Thunder—in the eye of a gigantic hurricane!

4. Change Song, Lee Hoffman (1972)

(Pat Steir’s cover for the 1972 edition)

Note: The dust jacket of my copy was destroyed beyond recognition. I can only find the small image online above. Alas.

From the inside flap: “An intriguing fantasy about another world in which the elements control the actions of the people and are, in turn, controlled by the governing Council of Twelve Nightmen. It’s a strange, eerie world, one of wraiths, familiars and magic powers, where the weather is running wild and the spells of the Nightmen have suddenly become ineffective.

Only Ryik, one of the twelve, recognizes the full implications of the disturbances in nature, and when he calls for new methods to control them he is condemned as a traitor and forced to flee. Ryik’s journey leads him to Dorey, a young man with strange powers of his own, and together the two travel from present to past to future searching for an answer to the changes in the elements—changes which they slowly realize offer their only hope for survival.”

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For cover art posts consult the INDEX

6 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXLI (Ben Bova, Margaret Elphinstone, Christopher Evans, Lee Hoffman)”

  1. The cover of the Charter Books edition of THE WEATHERMAKERS made me chuckle, with the redundant spear on the front (which would fail catastrophically in re-entry!) and that huge satellite with velocipede wheels stuck on.
    Never heard of the Elphinstone or Hoffman books! When you decide to read them I’ll be eager to know if they’re worthy of being hunted down.
    I’m pretty much Over xenophobia in fiction, and even moreso in SF, so Evans gets a pass.

    Thank you for helping to keep me sane (“clinging to the ribbons of such sanity as is unshredded” if I’m honest) with the reminders of reads past, and discoveries of treats unknown.

    1. I’m hoping Evans’ novel surprises — I often take risks.

      But yes, I agree with you completely on the xenophobia in SF—demonizing the alien “other” as entirely foreign and unapproachable and evil…. one reason I could never tolerate Ender’s Game. The alien invasion trope is one that seldom interests for similar reasons.

      I do enjoy novels that don’t provide easy answers about the true nature of the alien “other” — for example Silverberg’s underrated The Man in the Maze (1969). Alien contact yields a transformation of the human, into something hated by other humans… but it’s not entirely clear (as humans can’t communicate with the alien) the purpose of such an ability. The aliens might simple be THAT alien.

      https://sciencefictionruminations.com/2012/02/05/book-review-the-man-in-the-maze-robert-silverberg-1969/

      No worries! Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Some of Evans’ works seem intriguing — for example, The Insider (1981), “set in a Near-Future UK, depicts the plight of an Alien symbiont (see Parasitism and Symbiosis) forced to transform its new human host into an “alienated” outcast from society.”

  2. Christopher Evans is an excellent writer, although he hasn’t produced anything new for a long time. I seem to remember Capella’s Golden Eyes was a very good example of mid-1970s UK sf. I have the Elphinstone, but it went into storage before I got the chance to read it. The Bova… why? He makes Asimov look like a prose stylist.

    1. Do you have a favorite Evans novel? He’s a new one to me! I was browsing the publication lists of the Panther imprint and looking up the authors I didn’t recognize. Does he fall into the xenophobic all aliens are evil in this book? (I get the impression from the blurb — I hope it is more complex than its advertising).

      As for Bova, I do not know… there’s something in me that wants to find some epic space exploration sequence that resonates. They never do. Bova never does. Is nothing he wrote worthwhile? What about Millennium? (I have that one as well).

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