Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Japan Sinks!, Sakyo Komatsu (1973; trans. by Michael Gallagher, 1976)
From the back cover: “WORST DISASTER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!
A FISSURE in a wall–a land survey mysteriously out of true–a small island disappearing overnight–and one of the worst disaster in the history of the world is born. Only one man suspects the truth, but his theory is so unprecedented, his predications so horrifying that even his fellow scientists ignore him.
Then a series of devastating earthquakes strikes, and suddenly the authorities are prepared to listen. But time is short and as they frantically try to ward off the disaster the crust of the earth begins to shift…”
Initial Thoughts: I’ve read little Japanese SF from this era so I’m quite excited to explore.
2. The New Women of Women, ed. Pamela Sargent (1978)
From the back cover: “Today, science fiction writers have begun to create more realistic women characters than they did in the past, and more women are writing science fiction than ever before. The most innovative of their stories, in addition to being engaging science fiction, not only treat women convincingly, but explicitly address feminist concerns and emphasize future possibilities. This collection of science-fiction stories represents the best of the new women writers.”
Contents: Sonya Dorman’s “View from the Moon Station” (1977), Vonda N. McIntyre’s “Screwtop” (1976), Eleanor Arnason’s “The Warlord of Saturn’s Moons” (1974), Josephine Saxton’s “The Triumphant Head” (1970), Pamela Zoline’s “The Heat Death of the Universe” (1967), Kit Reed’s “Songs of War” (1974), James Tiptree, Jr.’s “The Women Men Don’t See” (1973), Carol Emshwiller’s “Debut” (1970), Joanna Russ’ “When It Changed” (1972), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s “Dead in Irons” (1976), Sonya Dorman’s “Building Block” (1975)
Initial Thoughts: What a lineup of greats! I adored Pamela Zoline’s “The Heat Death of the Universe” (1967) and Vonda N. McIntyre’s “Screwtop” (1976) in the past so I’m eager to read the rest in this anthology. Joanna Russ’ “When It Changed” (1972)–originally appeared in Again, Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison (1972)–won the Nebula and was a Hugo finalist. Sections of the The Female Man (1975), which I read but never got around to reviewing, take place in the same world as “When It Changed.”
3. The Splendid Freedom, Arsen Darnay (1980)
From the back cover: “Sentient missiles, telepathic rabbits, consciousness-expanding machines, and soul-catching nets: these are just a few of the elements Arsen Darnay conjures up with his special blend of fantasy and technology—from the torture camps if the Third Reich to the corridors of contemporary Washington, D.C. and into a variety of possible futures where religious cults worship atomic wastes; where decent folk live in ordered harmony while Peacefreaks and other dangerous elements of society are sealed off and left to exterminate each other in the war for dwindling food rations; where Earth is the tourist center of the galaxy, even though it has nothing left to offer, nothing at all except — THE SPLENDID FREEDOM.”
Contents: “The Splendid Freedom” (1974), “The Eastcoast Confinement” (1974), “Plutonium” (1976).
Initial Thoughts: Way back in 2014, I snagged a copy of Arsen Darnay’s A Hostage for Hinterland (1976) but have yet to get around to reading it. As longtime readers know, when I can’t convince myself to tackle an author’s novels, I read short stories first. That’s the plan!
4. Across the Wounded Galaxies: Interviews with Contemporary American Science Fiction Writers, ed. Larry McCaffery (1990)
Authors interviewed: Gregory Benford, William S. Burroughs, Octavia E. Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Thomas M. Disch, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Bruce Sterling, Gene Wolfe
Initial Thoughts: I recently read Gwyneth Jones’ monograph Joanna Russ (2019) in the University of Illinois Press’ Modern Masters of Science Fiction series. I’d previously read the Ballard volume as well. Both are highly recommended! In the back of the Russ volume there was a fascinating interview–and I wanted to read more of her non-fiction and interviews. Hence this collection…
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