As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Tik-Tok, John Sladek (1983)
From the back cover: “Tik-Tok was one of the finest domestic robots ever made, but his asimov circuits were defective. He could injure people as much as he pleased–and he pleased to do it often!
But the life of a robot (if that isn’t a contradiction) is still all service and unpaid labor. Tik-Tok served many masters, all of whom came to a bad end. Happily he went on gathering steam with a trail of catastrophes getting bigger and bigger, destined to culminate with his campaign for the vice-president of the United States!
Science Fiction Review calls Sladek “one of the true and original lunatics of science fiction… one of the funniest writers in the field.
Now read the hilarious autobiography of Sladek’s asimovian scofflaw!”
Initial Thoughts: Sladek is up there with Sheckley among my favorite SF satirists. Both swing wildly between sequences of outright hilarity and avant garde fun—just look at the images in Sladek’s The Müller-Fokker Effect (1970)—and deep introspection. Sladek’s “The Poets of Millgrove, Iowa” (1966) is a satire of the highest caliber (an unstable astronaut confronts his adoring fans and bedecked hometown)… I look forward to exploring my third novel of his! I read but never reviewed his average first SF novel Mechasm (variant title: The Reproductive System) (1968).
2. Sunfall, C. J. Cherryh (1981)
From the back cover: “Men had gone to the stars; they had trod the soil of distant planets and settled their colonies; yet the homeworld of Earth remained. It was legend; it was a place of nostalgia for mankind’s lost youth; it was always there. For every son or daughter who had departed for the stars, there were those who preferred the original skies and winds of the world which had first endured humanity’s trials and triumphs.
The cities remained. Over the eons, facing the sunset of Terra, they still stood. Changed, yet retaining their individuality, their unique characteristics, their ancient prides.
C. J. Cherryh, many honored author, has produced in SUNFALL a book of marvel in which six mighty cities laden with the grandeur of history contront their fates… and those of the Earth-born who love them. This is a truly original work.”
Contents (all original to this volume): “The Only Death in the City,” “The Haunted Tower,” “Ice,” “Nightgame,” “Highliner,” “The General.”
Initial Thoughts: I don’t think I’ve ever read a C. J. Cherryh short story. I’ve tackled the behemoth that was Cyteen (1988) but never thought about tracking down her short stories…. until now. The themed framework of the collection (the memories of Earth cities?) appeals.
3. What’s It Like Out There? and Other Stories, Edmond Hamilton (1974)
From the back cover: WHAT’S IT LIKE OUT THERE? is a collection of the best stories from Edmond Hamilton’s remarkable 40 year career of writing Science Fiction. Featuring:
“The Stars, My Brothers”—where a scientist awakened from a century-long slumber in the depths of space had to make a choice between his own people and an alien race.
“What’s It Like Out There?”—when Haddon returned from the expedition to Mars, everyone wanted to know what it was like… he could never let them know.
“Twilight of the Gods”—myth changed to reality around a man who sought to answer the mystery of his lost identity.
AND MANY MORE…”
Contents: “What’s It Like Out There?” (1952), “The King of Shadows” (1947), “Castaway” (1969), “Serpent Princess” (1948), “The Stars, My Brothers” (1962), “Dreamer’s Worlds” (1941), “Twilight of the Gods” (1948), “Sunfire!” (1962), “The Inn Outside the World” (1945), “The Watcher of the Ages” (1948), “Transuranic” (1948), “The Isle of the Sleeper” (1938)
Initial Thoughts: Purchased for one story alone — “What’s It Like Out There?” (1952). Give me more depressing astronaut stories like this one please.
Are any of the others worth reading?
4. Starbrat, John Morressy (1972)
From the back cover: “STRANGER IN THE 27th CENTURY…
For sixteen years, Del Whitby lived quietly among the pious farmers of the planet Gilead, in a society bypassed by 27th century progress.
Then, on the eve of his sixteenth birthday, he was kidnapped by a band of Daltrescan slave traders, and sold to a gladiatorial school of Tarquin VII.
After a series of excruciatingly close encounters, Del proves his prowess in the arena, and is awarded his freedom, and a spaceship.
He now begins the perilous voyage home to distant Gilead, a trek which will take him to the outermost reaches of the galaxies, and back.”
Initial Thoughts: I’m a fan of John Morressy’s Frostworld and Dreamfire (1977). Under a Calculating Star (1975), also in the Del Whitby sequence, was far less satisfying. If Starbrat (1972), the first in the sequence, falls somewhere in the middle I’ll be happy.
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