Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXLV (John Brunner, Marta Randall, Brian Herbert, Amanda Hemingway)

1. A complete unknown! As is frequently the case, I discovered it during a lengthy Internet Speculative Fiction Database browse a few weeks back. I’m not sure what to expect. Although the back cover is problematic –“In danger of losing her sanity, her virginity, and even her life”–is her sanity less important than her virginity? Who knows.

2. John Brunner short stories! He’s a favorite and I buy his collections on site.

A few John Brunner short fictions I’ve particularly enjoyed:

3. In my late teens I read every Dune novel I could get my hands on—including those written by Frank Herbert’s son Brian (I don’t remember being impressed). And yes, I’ve decided to read some of Brian Herbert’s non-Dune related SF.

4. I’ve enjoyed the two Marta Randall novels I’ve reviewed.

Might as well grab the last one I didn’t own? Right? It’s the sequel to Journey (1978).

Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Pzyche, Amanda Hemingway (aka Jan Siegel) (1982)

(Uncredited cover for the 1982 edition)

From the back cover: “On a desolate planet at the furthest rim of galaxy lived Pzyche, brought up quite alone by her eccentric father Professor Corzin. Who preferred to carry on his lifelong research into the working of the human mind quite unhindered by the disturbing presence of actual people.

Pzyche had learned much: history and legend, theory and practice. Her tutor and her sole companion—father apart—was a computer. Which had taught her well, completely and correctly. She was happy and full of knowledge.

Until the day when, quite unexpectedly, her younger sister arrived and Pzyche began to realize that, most disturbingly, knowledge is not the same as understanding. Until the day that she and her newly discovered sister realized that their quiet planet was now the target of a motley collection of cosmic adventurers, prospectors and villainous entrepreneur.

In danger of losing her sanity, her virginity, and even her life, Pzyche had to come to terms with the strange, oddly changeable, teasingly unpredictable habits and natures of humankind.”

2. From This Day Forward, John Brunner (1972)

(Peter Rauch’s cover for the 1st edition)

From the inside flap: “It behooves us all to be interested in the future, writes John Brunner, because that’s where we’re going to spend the rest of our lives. And in this intriguing collection of twelve short stories and poem he offers some truly provocative speculations about the shape that mysterious realm may take.

All of the pieces are about people—individuals or groups–to whom, very suddenly, the future happens.  The future that closes like the jaws of a trap… or the one which lies down a path which it is no longer possible to avoid…. or which merely maps a life colored by hopeless resignation. Together they provide a fascinating blend of accurate analysis and sometimes devastating insights on the human condition.”

Contents: “The Biggest Game” (1956), “The Trouble I See” (1959), “An Elixir for the Emperor” (1964), “Wasted on the Young” (1965), “Even Chance” (1965), “Planetfall” (1965), “Judas” (1967), “The Vitanuls” (1967), “Factsheet Six” (1968), “Fifth Commandment” (1970), “Fairy Tale” (1970), “The Inception of the Epoch of Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid” (1971)

3. Sudanna, Sudanna, Brian Herbert (1985)

(Uncredited cover for the 1986 edition)

From the inside cover: “The #1 hit across the universe.

On the peanut-shaped planetoid of Ut, a 15-million-year-old computer named Mamacita rules with dictatorial control. Her every whim is a steadfast rule, and no command is stronger than her ban of Sudanna, the wind that sweeps across Ut spreading the liberating sounds of music.

Hiley OIV is one of Ut’s most sonscientious inhabitants, a man so afraid of losing his head (Ut-people have very precarious necks) t hat a Bad Thought almost never enters his mind. But now his teenage daughter has fallen in love with Prussirian BBD—Ut’s most notorious outlaw—and Hiley is sure that his luck has run out. For Prussirian has broken Mamacita’s cardinal rule: he makes music…”

4. Dangerous Games, Marta Randall (1980)

(Uncredited cover for the 1st edition)


The opponents are the proud and peaceful Kennerin clan… Parallax, a headless economic monolith that feeds it way across the galaxies… and the beautiful catlike Tatha, who travels through Federation and Parallax circles and all of tauspace as easily as an alley cat picks its way along a back fence.

Figuring out which side she’s on is just the first in a winner-take-all series of…. DANGEROUS GAMES.”

For book reviews consult the INDEX

For cover art posts consult the INDEX

23 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXLV (John Brunner, Marta Randall, Brian Herbert, Amanda Hemingway)

  1. That comment about the future that the dust jacket credits to Brunner … It’s the first line of Criswell’s introductory segment in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

  2. The Randall is pretty good. I think the series was meant to be longer, sadly. The Brian Herbert is pretty bad. I think I’ve read it – I certainly know that everything I’ve read by him has been pretty bad. The Hemingway I read back in the 1980s, but I remember nothing of the story.

    • Yeah, the Hemingway is an unknown. The back cover reminds me of an episode of Star Trek: The Original series — one “professor” and his daughter live on an empty planet!

      We shall see!

        • I’m also convinced that the vast majority of authors have little concept what a professor actually does. As an academic (sort of, long story, mostly teaching) myself, it certainly isn’t hiding out without a classroom, no students, and no participation in a scholarly community.

  3. Ah, Dangerous Games. When my second novel came out with a pitiful cover, I comforted myself by knowing Marta had drawn an even worst hand. Your version doesn’t do it (in)justice. It’s a wraparound and those babies in gallon jars also go all the way across the back.

  4. I like the cover for “2. From This Day Forward, John Brunner (1972)” – Hard-Boiled Calendar Guy. (“This is how it was, see? On a Friday – Friday the 13th, as it happens – I got a doozy of a case…”).

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