Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. In the Drift, Michael Swanwick (1985)
From the back cover: “The meltdown at Three Mile Island created the death zone known as the Drift, where the sky burned dark blue and pink and where boneseekers destroyed bodies within.
Two-headed monsters, dog-faced boys, mutated vampires and other undesirables were thrown into the Drift.
Now they are coming out…”
Initial Thoughts: I’ve talked to Michael Swanwick on Twitter. I haven’t read his SF…. Time to change that.
2. Hothouse (variant title: The Long Afternoon of Earth), Brian Aldiss (1962)
From the back cover: “THE LAST DAYS OF MAN. Under a dying sun, montrous [sic] sentient plants and carnivorous insects are the predators. Man is the prey…”
Initial Thoughts: This is a repurchase — sort of. Previously, I owned the 1st US edition of Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse published under the name The Long Afternoon of Earth (1962). I had resisted reading it as I later realized it was “slightly abridged” from the UK edition. Only after 1976 was the full version released in the US. I am now the owner of the 1984 unabridged edition. More info on the publication history (and early short stories) here. Unfortunately, the copy editor must of been on holiday considering the error on the back cover…
3. The War Against Chaos, Anita Mason (1988)
From the back cover: “THE SOCIETY OPERATED WITH A NIGHTMARE LOGIC. CURIOSITY HAD NO PLACE, NOR DID READING, STROLLING, JUNK-COLLECTING—ALL THE THINGS JOHN HARE RELISHED.
He had been upwardly mobile on the ladder of Universal Goods when his wife left him and his career in jeopardy. He seemed the ideal, expendable scapegoat in a powerful company official’s much-needed cover-up. And when a trumped-up charge worthy of Kafka, Hare found himself cast into the netherworld of a dreaded population known as the ‘marginals’.
What the authorities never reckoned on was the reawakened cunning and imagination of these outcasts, or the threat to their control that Hare was to discover steeling itself in the bowels of the city.”
Initial Thoughts: According to SF Encyclopedia, Anita Mason, best known for her 1983 novel The Illusionist (Nominated for the Man Booker Prize for Best Novel), spins an “intensely literary” tale of a “near-future city in an unnamed (but very UK-like) Dystopia dominated by Orwellian thought-control and savage divisions between precarious Haves and Goyaesque Have-Nots, who live in a surreal stygian blackness very much like Hell.” Count me intrigued!
4. Z For Zachariah, Robert C. O’Brien (1975)
From the back cover: “Her name was Ann burden, and as far as she knew, she was the last living person on earth. There had been a war and after the phones and the radio and TV went dead, there was no sign that anyone else was alive. Ann thought she was the only survivor until she saw the smoke of a campfire coming closer each day. It had to be a person, someone walking, exploring the countryside as he came. And so it was–a man, called John R. Loomis, wearing what he called a safe-suit, the only one in existence.
Ann was glad to see another human being. It was more than she had hoped for. But was it really a good thing that he had come? What kind of person was John R. Loomis? He seemed pleasant enough. Yet he said odd things in moments of delirium as he recovered from an unexpected attack of radiation sickness. What would his coming mean?”
Initial Thoughts: I’d previously heard of O’Brien’s work as I enjoyed Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971) as a kid. I know this is classified as YA but… I feel that a lot of SF not classified as such does fit into that loosely defined category. Shots fired!
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