As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Blakely’s Ark, Ian MacMillan (1981)
From the back cover: THE CEPH… A parasitic virus. Invariably lethal. In two generations, it had reduced the population of America to 10 million people.
New Jersey is populated by roving gangs of children, savage and insane. New York City is a sealed-off Dome.
America is a wasteland. And Dave Blakely just may be the last whole man in the world.”
Initial Thoughts: I’ve been in a post-apocalyptic mood for the last year or more. I’ve started (and much to my surprise, enjoyed) my watch through of Survivors (1975-1977). And devoured Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow (1955).
This is Ian MacMillan’s only SF novel. And SF Encyclopedia describes rather than appraises it… As I often say, “we shall see!” Even if I dislike it, the process of charting out the post-apocalyptic landscape of this period fascinates.
2. Albion! Albion!, Dick Morland (aka Reginald Hall) (1974)
From the back cover: “England in the 1990s: an England in which the partisan and hysterical hooliganism of football supporters has got completely out of control. Parliament has been dissolved, and the country has been divided into four clubs—City, United, Wanderers, and Athletic—all violently opposed to one another.
It is into this savage world that Whitey Singleton, an expatriate journalist engaged in America in counter-revolutionary propaganda against the regime of the Club Managers, is pitched when he plane is hijacked and diverted to London. Singleton is sucked into a nightmare of sinister intrigue which culminates in a rally at Webley Stadium that turns into a riot of explosive frenzy. Originally published in 1974, this prophetic novel anticipated the Brussels riot as well as the Bradford disaster.
Albion! Albion! is a powerful SF parable about modern society which is frightening relevant and utterly gripping.”
Initial Thoughts: If you’ve followed this site for the last two or so years, you’ll know that I enjoy sports-themed science fiction–and not due to any special love of sports. Rather, “I’m a proponent of sports as a SF vehicle for social commentary on commercialism, trauma, alienation, and violence.” Dick Morland’s novel suggests that a fascist state will emerge from the supporters clubs of the biggest football teams. The game itself, if it was ever a “game”, is no longer played. Rather, the structural apparatus of the club remains along with their traditions and heroic histories. It’s a fascinating premise but I’m not entirely convinced by the delivery so far (50 pages to go).
I recently created an INDEX of SF on Sports and Games.
3. Five-Twelfths of Heaven, Melissa Scott (1985)
From the back cover: “THE MAGI HAD MASTERED THE NEW PHYSICS
and harnessed the newly discovered power of the elemental harmonies–Alchemy. In so doing, they changed the face of technology for all time. But it was pilots like Silence Leigh who conquered the starlanes. Silence herself dreamed of a ship–a ship of her own and a destiny removed from the Hegemony’s oppression. But not until she joined the crew of the Sun-Treader did the dream take on reality…. and a destiny never imagined become Silence’s own as well.”
Initial Thoughts: Tarbandu over at The PorPor Books Blog reviewed and raved about Melissa Scott’s Silence Leigh sequence. He rarely gives out 5/5s! So I tracked down the first in the sequence….
4. This World is Taboo, Murray Leinster (1961)
From the back cover: “Land on Dara? One might as well commit suicide!
Untouchable, like the Darans—that’s what they’d call Calhoun if he broke the quarantine. And they’d wipe him out on sight.
But Dara needed him and that was the kind of challenge this Interstellar Med Serviceman would never dodge.”
Initial Thoughts: A few weeks ago I reviewed Murray Leinster’s Doctor to the Stars (1964) and thought I’d purchase the rest in the series.
For book reviews consult the INDEX
For cover art posts consult the INDEX