1. I’m a sucker for themed anthologies! Especially of original stories… This one is on the top of my list to read!
2. The lengths the cover blurb goes to proclaim Sheila MacLeod’s Circuit-Breaker (1978) not SF is humorous. The blurb writer ends up describing the aim of New Wave science fiction (interior vs. exterior space). So many of these arguments demonstrate a lack of knowledge of genre and depends on dismissive stereotypes. As it my practice, I try to avoid these exclusionary/gate-keeping arguments. I recently picked up a copy of her only other SF novel Xanthe and the Robots (1977).
Curious about this one — and all SF about potentially insane astronauts.
A handful of favorite stories of (possibly) insane astronauts
Gene Wolfe’s “Silhouette” (1975)
3. Another themed anthology! The topic here is the Vietnam War. Huge fan of Vietnam War inspired SF — especially Ursula Le Guin’s The Word for World is Forest (1972) and Kit Reed’s Armed Camps (1969).
What are your favorite Vietnam War-themed SF works? I’m thinking of putting together a resource on the topic.
4. French SF in translation. Here’s Michel Jeury’s bibliography. This appears to be the only one of his MANY SF novels to be translated into English. Alas.
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. The Year 2000, ed. Harry Harrison (1970)
(Pat Steir’s cover for the 1st edition)
From the inside flap: “‘If science fiction has an impact to make upon our society, and I think it does, it is in its attitude towards science, not in any one-to-one description of things to come.’—Harry Harrison.
In compiling this unique anthology, Mr. Harrison asked some of science fiction’s most noted writers to contribute an original story, the only stipulation being that the story be set in the year 2000. The result is thirteen stories highly imaginative in content and characterization, and yet all oddly similar. They concern themselves with existing crises which confront man today—overpopulation, racial difficulties, space exploration, starvation, and man’s most devastating game, War—and many of them picture the twenty-first Century as a time to fear if our present course of events and actions are not drastically altered.
If we continue our existing policies and attitudes then Africa may become much as Chad Oliver views it in “Far From This Earth.” And if our pressing overpopulation problem is not remedied then we may find ourselves being torn apart over the value of human life as experienced in Keith Laumer’s “The Lawgiver.” And unless true action is taken in the United States over racial problems we may find New York much as Robert Silverberg sees it in “Black is Beautiful” and Mr. Harrison pictures the country in “American Dead.” On the other end of the scale, a perfect Utopia is undesirable as Mack Reynold’s “Utopian” clearly illustrates.
This is a small sampling of the contents, and by no means conclusive, as can be evidenced by these other noted contributors—Fritz Leiber, Daniel F. Galouye, Naomi Mitchison, Bertram Chandler, David I. Masson, J. J. Coupling and Thomas N. Scortia.
Will this be our future? Will the fate of starving India be that depicted in Brian W. Aldiss’ “Orgy of the Living and the Dying”? This, and the other stories written for this volume attempt to lift the veil of time to see what the future might be.”
Contents (all stories are originally published in this volume): Fritz Leiber’s “America the Beautiful,” Daniel F. Galouye’s “Prometheus Rebound,” Chad Oliver’s “Far From This Earth,” Naomi Mitchison’s “After the Accident,” Mack Reynolds’ “Utopian,” Brian W. Aldiss’ “Orgy of the Living and the Dying,” A. Bertram Chandler’s “Sea Change, “Robert Silverberg’s “Black is Beautiful,” David I. Masson’s “Take It Or Leave It,” Keith Laumer’s “The Lawgiver,” John R. Pierce’s “To Be a Man,” Thomas N. Scortia’s “Judas Fish,” Harry Harrison’s “American Dead.”
2. Circuit-Breaker, Sheila MacLeod (1978)
(Uncredited cover for the 1st edition)
From the inside flap: “Sheila MacLeod’s new novel, like her last, should not be confused with science fiction; it is fiction which uses a sci-fi platform as a launching-point from which to explore inner rather than outer space — with remarkable results.
Baird, Devitt and Haskins are presented to us as three astronauts in orbit in a capsule. When something goes wrong with their spacecraft, there seems to be only one hope of return for the three of them, by this time not the best of comrades. Baird, an ex-science fiction writer who is blessed with peculiar powers of autokinesis and telepathy, is told by the head of Mission Control, Dr. Lvov, o exert his powers to return to earth and enlist telepathic help to effect the rescue of the other two.
Barid ‘comes down to earth’ in more than one sense. He visits Miriam, his partner in what has become a extremely tenuous marriage; Devitt’s parents, an extremely puzzling couple; and Haskins’ unexpectedly attractive wife, Jolene. During their absence the astronauts have not been forgotten, but their relationships with their nearest, if not always their dearest, prove different from Baird’s expectations, especially in the case of his own wife. His mission turns out to be painfully disturbing—and enlightening.
Within its framework of fantasy Circuit-Breaker deals, with deep, ironic understanding, with the nature of human attachments, particularly the marital one, with pride and the fear of failure, and with the problem of authority, personified by the irritatingly sage and powerful Dr. Lovov.
Circuit-Breaker is highly original, intelligent and readable—an exciting and rare combination.”
3. In the Field of Fire, ed, Jeanne Van Buren Dann and Jack Dann (1987)
(Uncredited cover for the 1987 edition)
From the back cover: “This is a book of dreams, of terrible nightmares, of sweet memories of times long gone, of bitter regrets… of lost innocence.
This is a collection of stories created out of the fire that seared a generation, that heated the crucible where our present reality was forged: twenty-two brilliant offerings from the finest fantasists writing today—statements from the heart, bitingly honest, born in a genre that specializes in the creation of dreams, but reaching far beyond it with a perspective and a message that more conventional fiction cannot deliver.
These are war stories from a war that was unlike any other.”
Contents (all are published in 1987 unless noted otherwise): Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Memorial,” Lucius Shepard’s “Delta Sly Honey,” Craig Strete’s “The Game of Cat and Eagle,” Karen Joy Fowler’s “Letters from Home,” Robert Frazier’s “Across Those Endless Skies,” Charles L. Grant’s “The Sheeted Dead,” Richard Paul RUsso’s “In the Season of the Rains,” Lucius Shepard’s “Shades,” Kate Wilhelm’s “The Village” (1973), Dave Smed’s “Goats,” Ben Bova’s “Brothers,” Gardner Dozois’ “A Dream of Noonday” (1970), Barry N. Malzberg’s “The Queen of Lower Saigon,” Dennis Etchison’s “Deathtracks” (1982), Ronald Anthony Cross’ “The Heavenly Blue Answer,” Bruce McAllister’s “Dream Baby,” Susan Casper’s “Covenant With a Dragon,” Lewis Shiner’s “The War at Home” (1985), John Kessel’s “Credibility,” Harlan Ellison’s “Basilisk: (1972), Brian W. Aldiss’ “My Country ‘Tis Not Only of Thee” (1986), Joe Haldeman’s poem “DX.”
4. Chronolysis, Michel Jeury (1973, trans. Maxim Jakubowski, 1980)
(Peter Goodfellow’s cover for the first edition. Art also used for the 1977 edition The Illustrated Man (1951), Ray Bradbury)
From the inside flap: “This bold, imaginative novel by award-winning science fiction writer Michel Jeury creates a universe where time, as we know it, has no meaning. People must pick and choose their way, carefully sorting through a amze constructed of reality, their own hallucinations, and the projections of others.
Daniel Diersant, a chemist working on drug development for a multinational company, is unwittingly involved in an international political struggle for control of a mysterious new drug. Suddenly he is plunged into a parallel universe, the chronolytic universe, where minds exist outside time and space in a subjective eternity. Human beings enter this universe as the result of violent death or special drugs. At first they compulsively relive past experiences that are, however, subject to distortion by their hopes and fears. Diersant relives incidents from his past, each of which suggests a different death. Was he killed in an automobile accident? Was he tortured to death by his enemies? Or did he commit suicide with a chronolytic drug?
Gradually he becomes aware that all these ‘hallucinations’ are not simply the product of his subconscious, but that two forces are struggling for control of his mind: one, an anarchist-socialist society using Diersant as an unsuspecting contact through which to explore the chronolytic universe; the second, a group of counterrevolutionaries within the chronolyitc universe who had once been in control of the drug industry in the historical universe as we know it and are now, in 2021, trying to regain their old power. Because
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For cover art posts consult the INDEX