As always which books/covers intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Fool’s Run, Patricia A. McKillip (1987)
From the back cover: “Terra Viridian is a young woman who obeyed a vision, took a laser assault rifle, and turned fifteen hundred innocents into light. She was captured, convicted, and sentences to the orbital prison called the Underworld. Forever.
Seven years later: a bar-band pianistsnamed The Magician suddenly plays Bach, while a riot burns around him. The Queen of Hearts, a drifter who hides her life beneath a golden mask, steps enigmatically from the shadows. Underworld administrator Jase Klyos unexpectedly lets a concert bring sound to his silent, sterile hell. And beneath her mad eyes, the vision of a psychotic killer… changes. The thing that Terra Viridian saw is coming. Growing. Watching. And it must be set free.”
Initial Thoughts: In my teens fantasy was my domain. As I had access to hundreds of acres of rural Virginia countryside, the forests and streams and gullies became my invented fantasy landscape (in inhabited by Dogtullises — i.e. Dog Turtles). McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (1975) and the brilliant The Riddle-Master of Hed (1976) marched with a legion of fantasy novels that fostered my love of reading. I haven’t returned to her work since. And when I discovered she wrote science fiction later in her career…. I bought one!
2. Hospital Station, James White (1962)
From the back cover: “SECTOR GENERAL. Blazing like a gigantic, misshapen Christmas tree against a misty background of stars, Galactic Sector Twelve General Hospital provides environments and medical staff for the treatment of any known life form.
But it’s a big galaxy—and then there are realms beyond the galaxy. So it’s all in the day’s work for the medics of Sector General to have to deal with….
- A telepathic dinosaur
- The toughest orphan in the universe
- An incomprehensible alien that seems to be eating itself
- A berserk patient who could wipe out the whole hospital station”
Contents: “Medic” (1960), “Sector General” (1957), “The Trouble with Emily” (1958), “Visitor at Large” (1959), “Out-Patient” (1960)
Initial Thoughts: Whenever I bring up my love of medical-themed science fiction, numerous readers point out James White’s Sector General sequence of stories. While I have read a few here and there, I have yet to read one of the collections from cover to cover. Time to rectify that.
White’s three novels reviewed on this site should be tracked down:
3. Chrysalis 4, ed. Roy Torgeson (1979)
From the inside page: “This fourth volume in the Chrysalis series of all-original science fiction stories once again presents the very best writing by recognized masters of the art, established professionals and brilliant newcomers.”
Contents: Charles L. Grant and Thomas F. Monteleone’s “When Dark Descends,” Gregory Long’s “The Word,” R. A. Lafferty’s “St. Poleander’s Eve,” Karl Hansen’s “Wires,” Spider Robinson’s Local Champ,” Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s “Fugitive Colors,” Octavia E. Butler’s “Near of Kin,” Robert Thurston’s “Vibrations,” Orson Scott Card’s “Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory,” Alan Ryan’s “Good Night, Though Child of My Heart.”
Initial Thoughts: Octavia E. Butler wrote only a handful of short stories. As a result, I rather track them down in individual anthologies rather than an author specific collection. Along the way I might discover other short fiction gems!
4. The Strayed Sheep of Charun, John Maddox Roberts (1977)
From the back cover: The newly discovered world of Charun, sprung from a Roman tradition, has strayed far from the old religion. Not only is the aristocracy ridden with corruption, but is supported by slaves, gangsters, and monstrous android warriors. The citizens of Charun have long been deprived of any kind of higher ideals. All they live for is gambling and the fights—confrontations of brutality and certain death—between slaves well groomed and trained for their fate….
In this grotesque place three men are brought together: a young fighter who sold himself into slavery in order to save his tribe from extinction, a Jesuit priest with a few tricks up his sleeve, and a Franciscan brother who plans to go quietly winning converts among Charun’s poor. Their methods are different, but their aims are the same: to live long enough to return a violent planet to the path of righteousness…”
Initial Thoughts: An author and work that I hadn’t heard about until recently. Deeply suspicious of overtly Roman/medieval tropes…. we shall see.
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