Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXLIX (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Alan Dean Foster, E. Everett Evans, Ron Montana)

(Back cover detail for the 1959 edition of E. Everett Evans’ Man of Many Minds)

1. Looks like a fun adventure from Alan Dean Foster! And who can resist the crashed spaceship visual trope? I compiled three art posts on the topic: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

2. Of the bunch, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Hyacinths (1983) appeals the most. I’m a sucker for SF stories about the dream state—i.e. Roger Zelazny’s The Dream Master (1966)—and commentaries on media and advertising. And of course, I’m fascinated Philip K. Dick’s dystopian formulations of the future of advertising which Hyacinths seems to expand on…..

I’ve previously reviewed Yarbro’s terrifying post-apocalyptic novel False Dawn (1978)

3. An alternate history where Native Americans defeat the colonizers? Intrigued but suspect it’s on the pulpy side of things. I wish I could find out more about Ron Montana. Was he of Native American descent? His first SF publication, “We the People” (1974), appeared in Craig Strete’s fanzine Red Planet Earth. Here’s his publication listing. Unfortunately, I assume he’s best known for his later copyright conflict with Craig Strete.

4. And finally, this one was hiding in a pile… I can’t remember how long I’ve had it or why I purchased it. Not an author I know and SF encyclopedia isn’t more than lukewarm in its assessment.

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

~

1. Icerigger, Alan Dean Foster (1974)

(Tim White’s art for the 1976 UK edition reused for the 1978 US edition)

From the back cover: “FROZEN ASSETS. Ethan Fortune was a simple salesman—knowledgeable and civilized… a sophisticated traveler between many worlds. But he had certainly never though of himself as a hero.

Skua September, on the other hand, never thought of himself as anything else.

A matched pair, if there was one!

When the two of them were suddenly stranded on a deadly frozen world. Ethan Fortune incredibly found himself cast in the role of Leader.

And he didn’t find that at all amusing…”

2. Hyacinths, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (1983)

(Al Nagy’s cover for the 1st edition)

From the inside flap: “In a future of rabid banality mankind is numb to all but the most potent stimuli. Television, books, theater, even sen-surround films fail to sate the masses’ hunger for entertainment. They want more—they want dreams. Not the fleeting memory of their own but the all-engulfing experience of the professionally shaped dreams fed them by Dreamwebs.

Originally developed as a took to aid psychiatry’s understanding of psychotic behavior, Dreamwebs Inc. quickly recognized the potential of marketing dream terminals. Later the government also saw potential. Not only did the Dreams generate tax revenues, they also seemed uniquely suited to carrying subliminal messages to an increasingly archaic populace.

Not matter that those who supply the dreams were driven to madness and burnout. No matter that the megalithic and highly competitive commercial dream networks, not satisfied with huge profits and a mass captive audience, supply outlawed psychotic and violent dreams on the black market. Everyone wants to keep the status quo.

Only one man bothers to care… and only one man recognized the dangers. Even though he realizes that he may be trying to change the inevitable…”

3. The Sign of the Thunderbird, Ron Montana (1977)

(Uncredited cover for the 1st edition)

From the back cover: “FINDING HELL IN A HOLOCAUST…

…Captain Eason and Private Fox are blown from present time and space and hurled into the past. Trading plutonium bombs for bows and arrows, the two fight their own army to lead an Indian uprising. They know the violence of yesteryear has led to an annihilation of the future and learn blood spilt for peace is blood spilt in vain. But they battle against history for justice and survival, knowing they can never win!”

4. Man of Many Minds, E. Everett Evans (1953)

(Gray Morrow’s cover for the 1968 edition)

From the back cover: “GALAXY IN DANGER! Somewhere, somehow, the first moves have been made—the pattern is beginning to emerge. Someone—or something—is on the way to supreme power over all the planets held by Man.

And the Interstellar Corps is helpless to meet the threat—no normal man can hope to penetrate the conspiracy.

But—the Corps has a man who isn’t normal, a man with a very strange weapon… his mind.

Exciting! Strange! Extraordinary! One of the most unusual science fiction adventures ever published.”

For book reviews consult the INDEX

For cover art posts consult the INDEX

39 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXLIX (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Alan Dean Foster, E. Everett Evans, Ron Montana)”

  1. THE SIGN OF THE THUNDERBIRD intrigues me. I don’t usually like the “an atomic blast hurled them into the past!” trope (see my review of H. Beam Piper’s “Time and Time Again” on Goodreads), but will set that aside if I like the rest of the premise and this one could earn the pass.

    Cover art’s awful, innit?

      1. I can’t help you with any of these wishes, though I suspect there are resources in Texas A&M’s SF archive that might could.

        Re: Manor Books, they published some…questionable…choices. Like Christoper Priest’s DARKENING ISLAND. Ew.

          1. UC Riverside, of course, has a huge collection…didn’t they buy some of Forry Ackerman’s collection?…so they’re a perfect fit for a fanzine. Are any of those institutions willing to share with your institution’s library?

      1. I look forward to your review!

        (I’m pretty sure that Ron Montana is Native American — he published his first story in Strete’s Native American fanzine as I mentioned above — which should make the perspective really interesting).

  2. I read Ice Rigger for the first time in 1980 and thought it was pretty good. I reread it 2019 and found it tedious and corny, with the “feller me lad” crap especially obnoxious. It was a real struggle to finish the second time around.

    I haven’t read any of the other authors, though the Yarbro book seems interesting enough that I’ll be looking for it the next time I visit used book shops.

    I’ve added A Scent of New Mown Hay by Blackburn from a previous post to my list to be acquired.

    Most of what I’ve read this year is Farmer’s World of Tiers, Dickson’s Dorsai, Haldeman’s The Forever War, Moorcock’s Count Brass and Corum trilogies, his eternal champion and Ballard’s Concrete Island.

    Next is Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826).

    1. One reason I rarely reread! Sometimes, fond memories need to be fond memories — rather than moments where you judge the taste of the more youthful you….

      I don’t see any of my recommended books that I’ve read this year on your list! Alas.

      But yes, the Yarbro is at the top of my list from this post.

      1. I did manage to finish Attanasio’s Radix in early April. I’m glad I read it once. The transformation of Sumner was a bell curve that ultimately left me dissatisfied. Although the world was well described I felt bludgeoned by the sheer amount of details, and the story varied so much that at times it was engrossing, the pages rapidly turning, while at others I found myself just scanning the sections of fantasy/mystical portions that seemed to be drug addled ravings.

        Lastly, I enjoyed the generation ship series very much, and hope it continues, or some other trope can be explored.

  3. Unless it was a reprint, Manor never really published anything good, often making Laser books look like Hugo winners. Ron Montana was involved in the dust up between Harlan Ellison and Craig Streete. He was an academic who wrote a book that Streete published as his own. Montana also wrote Deathcalls which was, I think, adapted into a movie, or was adapted from a movie. If he’s still writing, he’s doing it under a different name. Alan Dean Foster’s novel bore me, they never got above pedestrian for me.

    I’ve read a book of short stories by Evans; they were horrible. Fan fiction at best. One was about an American Indian called Chief Poopypants, or something like that. Hate the cover, pretty disma stuff, especially for Gray Morrow, I looked it up. This is Kelly Freas cover: http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/images/b/b1/MNFMNMND1959.jpg. It’s so much brighter and eye-catching. Infact, except for Tim White’s cover, nothing here catches the eye.

    1. Hello Mark, thanks for stopping by.

      Manor Books was definitely low on the list of quality SF presses. As I mentioned, I don’t have high hopes for Montana’s novel. And yes, the plagiarism issue you mentioned is referenced, but not in detail, in my post with a link to more information. Strete is a fantastic author — regardless of what he did in the late 80s.

      I recently reviewed and enjoyed Strete’s The Bleeding Man and Other Science Fiction Stories — check it out! https://sciencefictionruminations.com/2020/03/01/book-review-the-bleeding-man-and-other-science-fiction-stories-craig-strete-1977/

      Thanks for the cover art catch. I looked at the listing and saw Pyramid books and thought, that must be the one, without looking at the rest. I suspect the book itself is as blah as the cover.

  4. Totally off topic:
    Would love to see a picture of your library. Willing to bet it is impressive.

    I liked Icerigger and the two sequels, but that was years ago when I read them, and can’t help but wonder if I would change my mind upon a new read.

    1. Hello Sean, thanks for visiting. I’ve posted sections of my library on twitter in the past.

      For example, here are my unread novels 6 months ago — I’ve added more as these Acquisition posts document:

      As I often say, we shall see! (Can’t promise when I’ll get to him)

  5. I actually found that same version of Ice Rigger, signed, at Dream Haven books in Minnesota back when I tracked down books for you at Uncle Hugo’s and at Dream Haven. Need to get around to reading it. I have a couple of different versions of it now.

    If you are a Foster fan at all, author Dayton Ward posted something about him on his blog a couple of days ago that was interesting:

    https://daytonward.wordpress.com/2020/06/14/tied-up-with-tie-ins-alan-dean-foster/

    1. Cool, I’ll check the article out. I got into a discussion with Foster (and other site visitors) about his movie/TV tie-ins. I’ve never read a tie-in. Although there’s a chance I’ve listened to a single Star Trek novel audiobook on a cross-country trip as a kid. And I do own Foster’s novelizations of the Star Trek animated show…

  6. Though I’ve been a fan since the 70s, this is a Yarbro novel I haven’t read. No surprise really, her bibliography goes on for a week. She is typically excellent.

    1. The vast majority of what she has written isn’t SF. I think she has written only four SF novels? Time of the Fourth Horseman (1976), False Dawn (1978), Hyacinths (1983), and Taji’s Syndrome (1988). Maybe I’m missing one?

      Here’s her bibliography: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?360

      I’ve only read False Dawn — I linked my review above. What’s your favorite?

      1. ARIOSTO! I’d forgotten that book entirely. I liked it in 1980, and the cover was/is delightful. Alternate history, the Cirocchi as confederates of some splinter factions of the Italians…big fun.

            1. It sounds like moments ago you reacted fondly to her name — you thought of Ariosto. So, you’re going to need to explain yourself. haha. Are you referring to a particular book of hers? If you haven’t read them, have you heard bad things about them? I was tepid on False Dawn — but nothing more.

            2. The Saint-Germain vampire novels were the second experience I had after ARIOSTO. I had no idea she’d written any SF but after the turgid, humid trudge through HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA I said “no more.”

      2. Of her vampire/historicals I liked Path of the Eclipse best. They are brutal for my taste, but I liked the sense of a civilized man — St. Germain — trying to stay above the violence. Besides, I liked Yarbro personally; we met at a party the year we each had our first novel published.

        I loved Ariosto, but I don’t much remember it. I also enjoyed her Native American detective Charles Spotted Moon in Ogilvie, Tallant & Moon and in Music When Sweet Voices Die. There were two others with him which I didn’t get to.

        She brilliantly reinvented the vampire through St. Germain. Whether that is a good thing or not is another question — but not one you’re likely to debate in this blog.

        1. As you correctly surmised, I have not and don’t plan on reading her work in other genres. While some of it seems interesting, it’s not my cup of tea.

          Have you read any of her SF novels then?

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