As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Worlds Without End, Clifford D. Simak (1964)
From the back cover: “A link between yesterday and the tomorrow that was here already…. Dreams constructed and maintained by society…. A world-to-world search for an elusive secret…. The bizarre, weird, strange creations of things and worlds only Clifford D. Simak could have written… and make believable.”
Contents: “Worlds Without End” (1956), “The Spaceman’s Van Gogh” (1956), “Full Cycle” (1955)
Initial Thoughts: In the first five years of my SF adventure, I read countless Clifford D. Simak novels—from Way Station (1963) to Cemetery World (1973). I’m not sure I’ve read a single Simak short story!
EDIT: I have read exactly one Simak short fiction for my generation ship series: “Spacebred Generations” (variant title: “Target Generation”) (1953)
Richard Powers’ gorgeous cover also proved too hard to resist.
2. The Hercules Text, Jack McDevitt (1986)
From the back cover: “From a remote corner of the galaxy a message is being sent. The continuous beats of a pulsar have become odd, irregular… artificial. It can only be a code.
Frantically, a research team struggles to decipher the alien communication. And what the scientists discover is destined to shake the foundations of empires around this world—Wall Street to the Vatican.
Initial Thoughts: Sounds like a completely bland first contact premise (but in the hands of a good author it can transfix)… But I haven’t read any of McDevitt’s work and I always like to start with earlier works.
3. New Worlds Quarterly #1, ed. Michael Moorcock (1971)
From the back cover: No back cover information about the stories.
Contents: Thomas M. Disch’s “Angouleme” (1971), J. G. Ballard’s “Journey Across a Crater” (1970), M. John Harrison’s “The Lamia and Lord Cromis” (1971), Brian W. Aldiss’ “The Day We Embarked for Cythera” (1970), John Sladek’s “Pemberly’s Start-Afresh Callipe or, The New Proteus” (1971), Keith Roberts’ “The God House” (1971), David Redd’s “The Prisoners of paradise” (1966), John Sladek’s “The Short, Happy Wife of Mansard Eliot” (1971), J. G. Ballard’s “A Place and a Time to Die” (1969), Barrington J. Bayley’s “Exit from City 5” (1971)
Initial Thoughts: This is the first volume of a “new chapter” in the history of New Worlds magazine. Moorcock transformed the illustrious magazine into a quarterly publication in book form that produced ten volumes between 1971-1976. I find it hard to resist a magazine packed with Ballard, Sladek, Roberts, and Aldiss stories (among others). As with the earlier New Worlds magazines under Moorcock, the interior art of this volume is top-notch. Here are two examples:
4. New Voices II, ed. George R. R. Martin (1979)
From the back cover: “The Hollow Man” by Lisa Tuttle. A doting wife has her husband brought back to life—but he’d have been better off dead.
“The Dancer in the Darkness” by Thomas F. Monteleone. She tried a dance the gypsies wouldn’t dare, a dance forbidden by the angel of death.
“Lady of Ice” by Guy Snyder. He destroyed his only lover—Betty, his starship computer.
“Satan’s Children” by Spider Robinson. What happens when a scientist synthesizes truth?
“Twilight Lives” by Jesse Miller. Warrior women ruled the planet. They took away his power to love–and gave him the power to kill.”
Initial Thoughts: I bought this anthology for one story — Jesse Miller’s “Twilight Lives.” I have a post in the making that pulls together as much information as I’ve been able to find on one of the handful of African-American SF authors active in the 70s. Stay tuned for my article/review!
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