As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Warm Worlds and Otherwise, James Tiptree, Jr. (1975)
From the back cover: “A DOZEN FABULOUS TALES OF INNER VISIONS AND OUTER SPACE…
LOVE IS THE PLAN, THE PLAN IS DEATH (Nebula-Award Winner—Best Short Story 1973)
Courtship rites can easily run amok, especially when that’s what’s supposed to happen… especially when the creatures are color-coded for passion as well as for death!
THE GIRL WHO WAS PLUGGED IN
(Hugo-Award Winner—Best Novella 1974)
What comes after a failed suicide attempt? For lucky, but monstrous P. Burke, it’s a chance to live again as an extraordinary beauty.
ALL THE KINDS OF YES
He was just a happy-go-lucky alien, looking for a world on which to do his thing. But his quiet deception soon panicked Washington—and his very presence threatened Earth!
—And lots more…”
Contents: “All the Kinds of Yes” (1972), “The Milk of Paradise” (1972), “And I Have Come Upon This Place of Lost Ways” (1972), “The Last Flight of Dr. Ain” (1969), “Amberjack” (1972), “Through a Lass Darkly” (1972), “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973), “The Night-blooming Saurian” (1970), “The Women Men Don’t See” (1973), “Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death” (1973), “On the Last Afternoon” (1972)
Initial Thoughts: What a horrifying (and amazing) Michael Herring cover for a collection of stories by one of my favorite SF authors, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon). In the past I’ve read, but never reviewed, Tiptree Jr.’s collection Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home (1973) and written reviews for four short stories on the site:
- “A Momentary Taste of Being” (1975)
- “A Source of Innocent Merriment” (1980)
- “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” (1977)
- “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973)
I’m excited to read more!
My 1979 edition of Warm Worlds contains a postscript to the original 1974 intro article “Who Is Tiptree, What Is He?” by Robert Silverberg where he records his reaction to the discovery of the person behind the Tiptree, Jr. pseudonym.
2. The Planet Masters, Allen L. Wold (1979)
From the inside flap: “Larson Mccade, wandering grandson of a nameless refugee, has come to the decadent planet of Seltique, culturally isolated from the rest of the galaxy after its bid for political mastery two thousand years ago. He claims to be researching a pro-galaxy group known as The Core, which was exterminated in an historic revolution, and makes several powerful friends–including an attractice young lady named Valyn Dixon—along the way. But Mccade is actually looking for The Book or Ardka, a non-human artifact that could make him a wealthy man for the rest of his life, and the only way he can find it is to divulge the lost secrets of the Planet Masters.
Allen Wold has written one of the most imaginative first novels to appear in recent years. THE PLANET MASTERS describes a highly structured society which parodies our own desperate thirst for status: promotion on Seltique is achieved by cultural contributions and ritual murder; social classes are numbered and rigidly immobile; members of one class freely abuse members of the class below them. Larson McCade is willing to risk his life for power, but on a planet like Seltique, he just might get more than he is bargaining for…”
Initial Thoughts: A complete unknown author and novel… SF Encyclopedia’s blurb is neutral in its appraisal: “The Planet Masters (1979), is set on a strangely ornate and enervated colony planet, where a human adventurer is searching for an artefact whose discovery may expose the secret behind the world’s palpable Decadence.”
I don’t know what to expect.
3. Nova 1, ed. Harry Harrison (1970)
From the back cover: “A GIANT NEW STEP IN SCIENCE FICTION
You will not have read any of the stories in this book in any magazine or anthology. All are original contributions, personally selected by Harry Harrison, himself an outstanding SF writer as well as one of the most knowing authoritiesi n the SF world. Each of these tales—whether by an already renowned name, or by one of the exciting new SF generation—is designed to expand the frontiers of the imagination, and hold you spellbound with some of the greatest writing of today, and tomorrow.”
Contents (all but Mitchison’s were published in 1970): Robin Scott Wilson’s “The Big Connection, Robert Silverberg’s “A Happy Day in 2381,” Barry N. Malzberg’s “Terminus Est,” Chan Davis’ “Hexamnion,” John R. Pierce’s “The Higher Things,” Brian W. Aldiss’ “Swastika!” Gene Wolfe’s “The Horars of War,” David Gerrold’s “Love Story in Three Acts,” Gordon R. Disckson’s “Jean Duprès,” Barry N. Malzberg’s “In the Pocket,” Naomi Mitchison’s “Mary and Joe” (1962), Donald E. Westlake’s “The Winner,” James Sallis’ “Faces & Hands,” Piers Anthony’s “The Whole Truth”
Initial Thoughts: Nova 1 (1970) was originally on my “to acquire” list due to Naomi Mitchison’s short story. I adored Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962). Filled with works by my favorites—Malzberg, Aldiss, Silverberg, and Gene Wolfe. I have yet to explore Robin Scott Wilson’s SF.
4. High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies, Erik Davis (2019)
From the back cover: “Welcome to the weird…
A study of the spiritual provocations found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence Mckenna, and Robert Anton Wilson, HEIGH WEIRDNESS charts the emergence of a new psychedelic worldview out of the American Counterculture of the seventies. These three visionaries changed the way millions of readers thought, dreamed, and experienced reality—but how did their own writings reflect, as well as shape, the seismic cultural shifts taking place in America during one of its most surreal eras?
In HIGH WEIRDNESS, Erik Davis–America’s leading scholar of the strange—examines the writings of these vital, iconoclastic thinkers, as well as their own extraordinary, life-changing experiences. Along the way, Davis maps the uncanny lattice of culture and consciousness that characterized America’s West Coast at a time of radical technological, political, and social change. What results is a new theory of the weird that illuminates the seventies, while providing for a renewed engagement with reality during our own highly weird times.”
Initial Thoughts: I rarely reference the substantial non-fiction (mostly history) that I consume (1/2 to 2/3rds of what I read). I read compulsively to improve my courses (I teach university-level history survey courses) and as its my original obsession (medieval history PhD by training). I thought I’d include in my acquisition posts those that I procure related to SF or SF adjacent topics. Erik Davis’s High Weirdness considers PKD’s famous 2-3-74 experiences within the larger visionary landscape of the American West Coast in the 70s. I must confess, I am far more interested in the non-PKD sections of the monograph. This promises to be a weird trip!
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