(David A. Hardy’s cover art detail from the September 1974 issue of Galaxy)
I am not a collector. “But Joachim Boaz you post recent purchases all the time!” Let me revise: I am a reader who procures a lot of science fiction novels, collections, and anthologies that I may never read. As a general rule, I only buy science fiction that I want to read. There’s a logic behind the handful of duplicate copies I own—for example, both the 1952 and the 1969 editions of Wilson Tucker’s fantastic The Long Loud Silence (1952) grace my shelf. Editors sliced and diced the 1st edition and Tucker published an updated version in 1969 (restoring cuts and adding Vietnam War references).
Of course, I’ve purchased more than one book based on the cover. But more often than not, a few years will pass and I’ll gather those volumes I’ve never wanted to read in the first place, duplicates I’ve accidentally purchased, and my least favorite reads and send them to MPorcius and Thomas L. Anderson (who have far higher tolerance for schlocky science fiction). A collection purge looms.
Magazines are absent from my science fiction accumulation. A glance at my shelves reveals a mere handful (25-30) amidst the looming piles of “to read” science fiction (~1k total volumes). This is partially due to their availability on Internet Archive and partially due to the issue of serialized novels (I never feel the urge to collect four magazines in order to have the entire novel when I could simply buy the novel). That said, so many short fictions were never anthologized and the original magazines are the only way to read them. Only recently have I paid attention to all the fascinating non-fiction sections of the magazines–from updates on the state of the genre to book review columns.
Is there a difference between collecting and buying to read? Let me know.
1. The January 1970 issue of Worlds of If contains the best Harry Harrison short story I’ve encountered so far — “By the Falls” (1970). I’ve also read Frank Herbert’s Whipping Star (1970), serialized over four volumes, but never got around to reviewing it. I found it average at best—far weaker than The Eyes of Heisenberg (1969) and his other non-Dune novels. Are any of the other stories worth reading?
2. The November 1974 issue of Galaxy contains zero stories I’ve read or know much about. I am interested in trying to fictions of J. A. Lawrence (the wife of James Blish). She is best known for her Star Trek novelizations but also published short stories in the major magazines of the day (bibliography).
3. The October 1974 issue of Galaxy likewise contains zero stories I’ve read. As John Christopher’s post-apocalyptic fictions are fresh in my mind, I am intrigued by his short story “The Long Night,” although I know little about it.
4. Once again, the September 1974 issue of Galaxy contains no stories I’ve previously read. I am eager to return to Doris Piserchia’s strange brand of science fiction—i.e. A Billion Days of Earth (1976).
Let me know what stories/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. The January 1970 issue of Worlds of If, ed. Eiler Jakobsson
(Jack Gaughan’s cover illustrating James Sallis’ “This One”)
Contents: Richard Wilson’s “If A Man Answers,” James Sallis’ “This One,” Daniel F. Galouye’s “O Kind Master,” Frank Herbert’s “Whipping Star” (Part 1 of 4), Harry Harrison’s “By The Falls”, Larry Eisenberg’s “Child’s Play.”
2. The November 1974 issue of Galaxy, ed. James Baen
(Stephen Fabian’s cover illustrating Fred Saberhagen’s Love Conquers All)
Contents: Fred Saberhagen’s “Love Conquers All” (Part 1 of 3), J. A. Lawrence’s “The Persistence of Memory,” David Drake’s “The Butcher’s Bill,” Peter D. Ambrose’s “Of a Death on Dante,” Herbie Brennan’s “The Aerial Machine.”
3. The October 1974 issue of Galaxy, ed. James Baen
(Jack Gaughan’s cover illustrating David Drake’s “Under the Hammer”)
Contents: Arsen Darnay’s “The Eastcoast Confinement,” David Drake’s “Under the Hammer,” James F. Lacey’s “Witch Children,” H. Carl Hill’s “Easy Rider,” Mal Warwick’s “The Destination of Master G,” John Christopher’s “The Long Night,” Edgard Pangborn’s “The Company of Glory” (Part 3 of 3), Tim Altom’s “The Twist.”
4. The September 1974 issue of Galaxy, ed. James Baen
(David A. Hardy’s cover titled “Seismic Operations on Titan”)
Contents: Arsen Darnay’s “The Splendid Freedom,” Doris Piserchia’s “Nature’s Children,” Elizabeth and Rex Levie’s “Incident,” Thomas Wylde’s “Target of Opportunity,” Edgar Pangborn’s “The Company of Glory” (Part 2 of 3), J. A. Lawrence’s “Family Program,” Mary Soderstrom’s “The August Revolution.”
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For cover art posts consult the INDEX