Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Where is the Bird of Fire?, Thomas Burnett Swann (1970)
From the back cover: “Were the mythical monsters our ancestors spoke of so often more than fantasy? Is it not probable that these semi-human races existed–and that only human vanity has blurred their memory?
Come with Thomas Burnett Swann to explore the fabled past and meet in the flesh:
Sylvan, the Bird of Fire, friend of Remus, enemy of Romulus, who witnessed the founding of Rome…
Deirdre, the Druid enchantress, whose magic melted against the onslaught of unbelievers…
Vashti, first wife of Xerces the Great, who may have been the Jinn she was accused of being…”
Contents: “Where Is the Bird of Fire” (1962), “Vashti” (1965), “Bear” (1970)
Initial Thoughts: Thomas Burnett Swann’s work transpires within a “sustained Alternate-History version of Earth’s history” with an “abiding tenor” of fantasy (SF Encyclopedia). While normally not something that would intrigue me, Swann’s substantial output suggests that he had his fans! I might as well give him a chance.
2. Superluminal, Vonda N. McIntyre (1983)
From the back cover: “FROM THE OCEAN’S EMERALD DEPTHS, WHERE WHALES AND ADAPTING HUMANS LIVE IN HARMONY… to the rigors of inter-dimensional travel, the universe is order, and laws; the universe is hierarchies, evolution and space…
Now a young pilot with a new bionic heart, a man from a plague-ravaged world, and a beautiful fiver from the sea are about to discover that their destinies—and their souls—are entwined. A voyage to a distant planet, a message in a crystal, an accident and a love affair have suddenly cracked open the known order of the Universe. Two women and a man are caught up in a mystery, and now they are changing every world they travel in, and every life they touch!”
Initial Thoughts: For whatever reason, I’ve avoided McIntyre’s SF novels. However, my recent review of her wonderful “The Mountains of Sunset, the Mountains of Dawn” (1974) might change things… Although I’ll probably start with
3. World’s Best Science Fiction 1970, ed. Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr (1970)
From the back cover: “This acclaim was typical of the many fine reviews of last year’s compilation of the World’s Best Science Fiction, and it is equally applicable to the current volume, in which nearly half of the stories will be new even to regular readers of the American science fiction magazines.
Here are stories of space exploration, strange human societies of tomorrow, adventures in the far future and compelling visions of world apocalypse. There are the finest stories of modern science fiction, a rich treasury of wonder to stay in your memory while the future continues to become the present.”
Contents: Richard Wilson’s “A Man Spekith” (1969), Robert Silverberg’s “After the Myths Went Home” (1969), Larry Niven’s “Death by Ecstasy” (1969), Alexei Panshin’s “One Sunday in Neptune” (1969), Suzette Haden Elgin’s “For the Sake of Grace” (1969), James Tiptree, Jr.’s “Your Haploid Heart” (1969), Keith Roberts’ “Therapy 2000” (1969), Michael G. Coney’s “Sixth Sense” (1969), Harlan Ellison’s “A Boy and His Dog” (1969), Bruce McAllister’s “And So Say All of Us” (1969), Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Nine Lives” (1969), and Norman Spinrad’s “The Big Flash” (1969).
Initial Thoughts: I purchased this anthology due to Norman Spinrad’s “The Big Flash” (1969) and Keith Roberts’ “Therapy 2000” (1969). I’ve previously enjoyed the Le Guin and Elgin stories.
4. A Different Drummer, William Melvin Kelley (1962)
From the back cover: “BLACK EXODUS! Today the last one departed. Now, there is not a single Negro left in this Southern state. Man, woman, and child; they are all gone now. Everything they could move, they took with them; everything else they left behind.
WHY DID THEY DO IT? WHY DID THEY LEAVE? WHO IS THEIR LEADER? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?…TO THE SOUTH?…TO AMERICA?”
Initial Thoughts: According to SF Encyclopedia, Kelley’s novel is a “sf fable telling of Black history in an imaginary town in an imagined southern state of the USA.” Count me intrigued! (and a bit confused as I can’t detect a speculative element from the premise. Is it alternate history?).
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