Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Barefoot In the Head, Brian W. Adliss (1969)
From the back cover: “AFTER THE ACID WAR…. Rising from the dust and ashes of a Europe still reeling from the effects of the great Acid War comes Colin Charteris, a futuristic Don Quixote riding the mechanized brontosaurus of the times.
Charteris tries desperately to make sense of the drugged, chaotic world he lives in, and finds himself hailed as the new Messiah. Stranger still, Charteris himself comes to believe this.
His adventures as he tries to save the world from its insanity are brilliantly told, a satiric science fiction comment on the future of mankind.”
Initial Thoughts: I’m a huge Aldiss fan. Check out my extensive review index of his work. However, I have not really explored his more out there New Wave works like Barefoot in the Head (1969) and Report on Probability A (1968). And as a proponent of the movement, I should…. And “AFTER THE ACID WAR” is the biggest hook of the hooks!
2. Another Kind, Chad Oliver (1955)
From the inside page: “Now Oliver presents a collection of his short stories, many of which are further fascinating and illuminating variations on anthropological themes. You will go back in time to an ancient civilization which contains a misplaced citizen of the present; you will go forward to an extraterrestrial civilization which has a great deal to teach Earth. You will visit an America of the future in which a chief profession is the invention of new cultures.
In these and in the other stories in this outstanding book, you will be in the grip of one of the remarkable new talents in the science-fiction field. Chad Oliver is clearly destined for very big things, but his record so far is rich in more than promise. This fine collection shows he has already achieved fictional heights that mean delight to his readers.”
Contents: “The Mother of Necessity” (1955), “Rite of Passage” (1954), “Scientific Method” (1953), “Night” (1955), “Transformer” (1954), “Artifact” (1955), “A Star Above It” (1955).
Initial Thoughts: Chad Oliver has recently been on my mind as I’ve restarted my generation ship review series. Here’s what I’ve reviewed of his so far:
3. Shadow on the Hearth, Judith Merril (1950)
From the inside flap: “SHADOW ON THE HEARTH is the story of Gladys Mitchell, a young, attractive Westchester housewife who, through hope and courage, successfully fought the chaos in the wake of an atomic war.
This day started as it usually did. Cladys occupied herself with the irksome but satisfying routine of a pleasant and happy household. Then she half noticed the sound–a sort of far-off thunder. Soon there was the ominous feeling of something wrong; and finally the dawning, numbing comprehension… Then the frantic terror, mounting slowly as the great mushrooming cloud had mounted a few hours ago over New York Harbor.
As the holocaust reached out and seemed to envelop all, Gladys thought first of her family. Was her husband alive or dead? How could she protect her two daughters from this insidious enemy?
She found staunch and unexpected allies in her own children, in a mysterious fugitive, and in an idealistic young doctor. Together they welded courage and understanding to triumph over terror and desperation.”
Initial Thoughts: Judith Merril has long been a favorite of this site. And her first novel Shadow on the Hearth (1950) has long been on my to acquire list but priced out of reach. After reviewing Survival Ship and Other Stories (1974), I was inspired to dish out the $20 for a nice first edition.
4. Promised Land, Brian M. Stableford (1974)
From the back cover: “GRAINGER OF THE HOODED SWAN. They had set out from Earth in search of the promised land—and after centuries of flight they believed they had found it. It was already inhabited but by a primitive and peaceful humanoid race that gave them no opposition.
This was the situation when the HOODED SWAIN landed on its information-seeking mission for the vast interstellar libraries of New Alexandria. Grainger, man of the double-mind, realized early that there was something odd about the truce between the xenophobic colonists and the docile natives.
It took a fleeing wide-eyed native child to bring the Promised Land suddenly to critical mass. What was there about this little girl that could so take an entire planet to the edge of Kingdom Come? That was what Grainger’s minds had to find out–and quickly.”
Initial Thoughts: Stableford’s brand of SF has not fared well on my site. I’ve reviewed the following (including the first in the Hooded Swan sequence):
However, Promised Land (1974) is described by SF Encyclopedia as telling the story “of a society of colonists whose social structure is based on that developed over generations in the starship on which they arrived.” And considering my recent series and the possibility of reading all the pre-1985 generation ship stories…. I bought a copy.
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