Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. The Shape of Sex to Come, ed. Douglas Hill (1978)
From the back cover: “Eight stories from SF names as highly-respected as Aldiss, Moorcock and Silverberg explore the strange and bizarre possibilities for sexuality in the furthest reaches of tomorrow.”
Contents: Robert Silverberg’s “In the Group” (1973), Thomas M. Disch’s “Planet of the Rapes” (1977), A. K. Jorgensson’s “Coming-of-Age Day” (1965), Anne McCaffrey’s “The Thorns of Barevi” (1970), Brian W. Aldiss’ “A One-Man Expedition Through Life” (1974), Brian W. Aldiss’ “The Taste of Shrapnel” (1974), Brian W. Aldiss’ “Forty Million Miles from the Nearest Blonde” (1974), Hilary Bailey’s “Sisters” (1976), John Sladek’s “Machine Screw” (1975), and Michael Moorcock’s “Pale Roses” (1974).
Initial Thoughts: I don’t know what to think of some of the short stories in the collection — in particular Thomas M. Disch’s tale. That said, I am fascinating by the impact of the free love movement and the growth of sexual freedom and its profound influence on New Wave SF.
2. In the Wet, Nevil Shute (1953)
From front and back blurb: “In The Wet is a strange and fascinating tale. It concerns the life of a man in the 1980’s and a world greatly different from the one we know now. It is a novel for every reader who wants to speculate on where we’re going and what it will be like.
This is NEVIL SHUTE whose latest book, On the Beach, is a terrifying prediction on the death of the world after an atomic war. Nevil Shute, author of many best sellers, has always been intrigued by the future. Several of his novels have been based on such speculation and prediction.
In The Wet is one of the most intriguing of these novels of the future. It concerns a time nearly thirty years ahead–after another war, but one which did not wipe out all living things It is, if you will, a counterargument to On the Beach, a story filled with lovers who can live and a future that can be infinitely better than the past.”
Initial Thoughts: I look at my shelves and see On the Beach… “It’s a classic.” “Give it a read.” But laboriously saccharine memories of the film interrupt my reverie and I turn away. I think I’ll read this one first!
3. Trinity and Other Stories, Nancy Kress (1985)
From the back cover: “THIS IS THE WORLD OF NANCY KRESS..
…A place whose borders reach beyond the most distant stars and deep into the private real of imagination. It is a universe of remote worlds and personal passions, where men and women do not surrender their humanity to technology or paradox… and sometimes find their true souls, by accident or design.”
Contents: “With the Original Cast” (1982), “Casey’s Empire” (1981), “Talp Hunt” (1982), “Against a Crooked Stile” (1979), “Explanations, Inc.” (1984), “Shadows on the Cave Wall” (1981), “Ten Thousand Pictures, One Word” (1984), “Night Win” (1983), “Borovsky’s Hollow Woman” (1983) (with Jeff Duntemann), “Out of All Them Bright Stars” (1985), and “Trinity” (1984)
Initial Thoughts: I recently reviewed Nancy Kress’ the first three published short stories. They felt a bit like embryos of her future work. I tracked down this collection to expand my knowledge of her short fiction.
4. Wave Rider, Hilbert Schenck (1980)
From the back cover: “FIVE UNIQUE EXPERIENCES LINKED BY THE AWESOME POWER OF AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. FEEL THE THRILL AND RUSH AND PEACE OF THOSE WHO RIDE THE WAVES…
WAVE RIDER. Through the power of telepathy of man merges with the ocean to prevent the greatest of all sea disasters…
A chemical is released that kills all underwater life and lives and grows to kill again…
Nine undred feet down is a trapped, embattled sub, frantically seeking the technology to reach the surface—or to life forever beneath it…
A society of children, joined by a sensory link, fight a fearsome battle with their weapons of ocean currents and solar mirrors…
One extraordinary man charts and finds the wave that, if ridden, will forever make him one with the sea…”
Contents: “The Morphology of the Kirkham Wreck” (1978), “Three Days at the End of the World” (1977), “Buoyant Ascent” (1980), “Wave Rider” (1979), and “The Battle of the Abaco Reefs” (1979)
Initial Thoughts: Hilbert Schenck (1926-2013) seems like an author who has completely faded from contemporary memory. Especially as between 1980 and 1984, he received four Hugo Award nominations and two Nebula Award nominations in the short format categories! As I have only read his disappointing novel A Rose for Armageddon (1982), I look forward to reading his short fiction — which, according to various reviewed I’ve read over the years, appear to be his strength.
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