My first purchases of 2021! As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Helliconia Spring, Brian W. Aldiss (1982)
From the back cover: “Imagine a world in a system of twin suns, where Winter is 6000 ice-locked years and every Spring is the first remembered. Imagine a People finding ruined cities beneath the melting snows. Never dreaming they had built them. And would again… Imagine Helliconia. And begin the most magnificent peice since DUNE…”
Initial Thoughts: I love Brian W. Aldiss’ SF–from his iconic generation ship novel Non-Stop (variant title: Starship) (1958) to bizarre experimental works short stories like “Judas Danced” (1958) [which I need to reread!]. I have yet to explore any of of his early 80s SF. I’ve reviewed the following Aldiss works:
- Bow down to Nul (variant title: The Interpreter) (1960)
- The Dark Light-Years (1964)
- Earthworks (1965)
- Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1960)
- Non-Stop (variant title: Starship) (1958)
- No Time Like Tomorrow (1959)
- Starswarm (1964)
- Who Can Replace a Man? (variant title: Best Science Fiction Stories of Brian W. Aldiss), Brian W. Aldiss (1965)
I’ve also read but never got around to reviewing his wonderful Greybeard (1964).
2. This Fortress World, James E. Gunn (1955)
From the back cover: “THE UNIVERSE WAS RUINED… The Church was the only link between a thousand nameless, warring, fortress worlds. Dane was an acolyte, a Keeper of Mysteries, until he was entrusted with the greatest Mystery of all. It was a stone that spoke. It gleamed in his hand and spoke in his mind with a tiny voice from the far end of Time: “I am Earth…” Then Dane became a warrior for a world he’d never see!”
Initial Thoughts: James E. Gunn, SF scholar and author extraordinaire, passed away December 23rd (obituary). In the first years of my site, he was a firm favorite. He even stopped by to tell me his favorite SF cover! I’ve reviewed the following:
I read but did not review The Listeners (1972) as well.
3. Earth Child, Sharon Webb (1982)
From the back cover: “MORTALITY’S END. It was called the Mouat-Gari process. It gave to all of Earth’s children man’s oldest dream—immortality. For Kurt Kraus, torn from his family, attacked and persecuted by a generation he was destined to see age and die before his eyes, the first years of eternal life were the hardest.
But as a century passed, and Kurt found himself one of Earth’s ageless rulers, he discovered immortality’s terrible price, and the awful choice mankind had to make to redeem its future.”
Initial Thoughts: Unknown work and author! Have any of you read it?
4. The Wounded Planet (variant title: Saving Worlds), ed. Roger Elwood and Virginia Kidd (1973)
From the back cover: “Out of a concern for life as we know it… some of the best-known names in science fiction demonstrate in chillingly possible stories, the pain and punishment that have placed a scar on The Wounded Planet.”
Contents (short stories listed only — full listing), all published 1973: Terry Carr’s “Saving the World,” George Zebrowski’s “Parks of Rest and Culture,” Kris Neville and Lil Neville’s “The Quality of the Product,” Katherine MacLean’s “Small War,” Andre Norton’s “Desirable Lakeside Residence,” Gary Snyder’s “The Smokey the Bear Sutra,” Gene Wolfe’s “An Article About Hunting,” Dennis O’Neil’s “Noonday Devil,” R. A. Lafferty’s “Scorner’s Seat,” Barry N. Malzberg’s “The Battered-Earth Syndrome” Poul Anderson’s “Windmill,” Theodore R. Cogswell and Theodore L. Thomas’ “Paradise Regained,” Gene Wolfe’s “Beautyland,” Colin Saxton’s “The Day,” D. M. Price’s “Starfish,” A. E. van Vogt’s “Don’t Hold Your Breath,” Robert SIlverberg’s “The Wind and the Rain.”
Initial Thoughts: I enjoy themed anthologies–this one on environmental destruction. I most look forward to the two Gene Wolfe tales. And I’ve never read one of Andre Norton’s short stories…
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