As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. The Island Under the Earth, Avram Davidson (1969)
From the inside page: “In THE ISLAND UNDER THE EARTH, a master fantasist has created his most fabulous land of imagination, peopled with humans and not-humans who speak with characteristically different voices and pursue goals and philosophies that set them inevitably against one another.
Earthy, hot-tempered Captain Stag followed a simple man’s quest; Tabnath Lo the trader was driven by obsession; the enigmatic augurs Castegor and Gortexas maneuvered toward black-secret ends; and around them all the alien Sixlimbed Folk massed in hatred and plotted barbaric vengeance…”
Initial Thoughts: I have had little luck with Avram Davidson’s SFF in the past:
Due to peer pressure (and a gorgeous Diane and Leo Dillon cover), I purchased one of his best-known novels.
2. Psion, Joan D. Vinge (1982)
From the back cover: “A.D. 2417. The future of the galaxy is threatened by multiplanetary corporations. To Cat, an illiterate slum kid whose catlike green eyes brand him as half alien, the destiny of humankind is insignificant. But his uniqueness targets him for a government experiment, and he discovers how to use his telepathic powers in terrifying new ways. As Cat’s powers grow stronger they lead him toward brutal confrontations with deadly forces. Can Cat seize his enemies’ minds before they possess his?”
Initial Thoughts: I’ve previously enjoyed Vinge’s science fiction–from The Snow Queen (1980) to “Mother and Child” (1975)–and thought I’d procure another one of her novels. As with the Davidson, the gorgeous Diane and Leo Dillon cover made the purchase far easier.
According to SF Encyclopedia, Psion (1982) is far less ambitious than The Snow Queen: “Psion, which unlike its successor was published as a Young Adult tale, is actually a development, years later, of the first long fiction Vinge wrote as a teenager. Cat, an orphan (half human, half Hydran, a race despised by humans) with catlike eyes and Psi Powers, has full-blooded, melodramatic, Space-Opera adventures. None of these books remotely approach the scope and power of her second novel, which remains her finest work to date.”
3. Time in Advance, William Tenn (1958)
From the back cover: “The future is coming and William Tenn blows the trumpet that heralds it 4 times!
1. He forecasts in FIREWATER that only a humdrum business man can save civilization when the aliens arrive!
2. Forebodingly he tells in TIME IN ADVANCE how you can murder with impunity—if you serve your sentence first!
3. ‘Foredoomed!’ he cries, ‘Mars is not dead, its ancient microbes live on, lying in wat for man’s invasion!’
4. And the forerunners in WINTHROP WAS STUBBORD discover that they can’t return from the twenty-fifth century, unless they all return together!
4 by Tenn! Four forceful novelettes of man’s forthcoming future!”
Contents: “Firewater” (1952), “Time in Advance” (1956), “The Sickness” (1955), “Winthrop Was Stubborn” (1957)
Initial Thoughts: As frequent readers of the site know, William Tenn is a favorite of mine. The following have reviewed on the site:
- “Bernie the Faust” (1963)
- The Human Angle (1956)
- “Project Hush” (1954)
- “The Discovery of Morniel Mathaway” (1955)
- “Wednesday’s Child” (1956)
- “The Servant Problem” (1955)
- “Party of the Two Parts” (1954)
- “The Flat-Eyed Monster” (1955)
- “The Human Angle” (1948)
- “A Man of Family” (1956)
- Of All Possible Worlds (1955)
- “Down Among the Dead Men” (1954)
- “Me, Myself, and I” (1947)
- “The Liberation of Earth” (1953)
- “Everybody Loves Irving Bommer” (1951)
- “Flirgleflip” (variant title: “The Remarkable Flirgleflip”) (1950)
- “The Tenants” (1954)
- “The Custodian” (1953)
- Of Men and Monsters (1968)
4. The Unicorn Girl, Michael Kurland (1969)
“BLIP! Greenwich Village was a model of decorum compared to what went down when the BLIP hit the cosmic fan—and scattered all time, space and sanity to the fourteen dimensions.
Mikes and Chester–fearless hippy explorers of a thousand incredible worlds—find that even their legendary powers are dwarfed by…
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FIRL IN THE UNIVERSE
THE FIRE SNORTING DRAGONETTES
THE MAGIC HASH PIPE
THE LAST UNICORN
THE MEAN METAL TANKS
THE ASSORTED FREAKS AND FUZZ.”
Initial Thoughts: Not sure why I read this one… Perhaps I’m intrigued by a positive take on HIPPIES DOING SF THINGS vs. the Edmund Cooper model i.e. Kronk (1970). I do not expect much.
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