My 300th purchase post!
Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
Preliminary Note: As I’m currently on vacation, the images in this post are photographs of my volumes rather than my normal hi-res scans. I’ll replace them when I get home.
1. Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1969)
From the inside page: “TAKE A TRIP WITH BILLY PILGRIM
-To the cellar of a slaughterhouse in Dresden, a city about to be destroyed by the greatest man-made catastrophe of all time.
-To happy marriage and mating with the sweet and willing daughter of one of the finest citizens of Illium, New York.
-To a luxurious zoo on the planet Tralfamadore for the public exhibition of lovemaking with the famous Earthling blue-moviestar, Montana Wildhack.
All in an amazing novel that could only have been written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., a writer whose wildest flights take you straight to the hear and now.“
Initial Thoughts: I read and enjoyed (I think) Slaughterhouse-Five as a teen (not sure exactly when I read it). As I couldn’t find my original copy, I bought one at a used bookstore on my travels for $1 and might as well read it again. I remember Cat’s Cradle far more clearly.
2. The Void Captain’s Tale, Norman Spinrad (1982)*
From the back cover: “Void Captain Genro Kane Gupta is truly the master of his craft. Through the pleasure rooms of the Dragon Zephyr, he moves with haute authority, the object of every woman’s desire. But the good captain hides a secret. In the depths of the ship he has begun an affair d’armoir with a woman he never should have met. Now Genro, swashbuckler of the Void, is about to plunge his passengers and crew into a nightmarish tragi-comedy in limitless space. The Void Captain’s libido and a woman’s transcendent appetite are short-circuiting the ship directly into the Great and Only–to the ultimate calamity, or the ultimate bliss!”
Initial Thoughts: First a note about publication date. According to The Internet Speculative Fiction Database, Spinrad’s novel was first published in France in 1982 and the US in 1983. I’m a huge fan of Spinrad but haven’t returned to his SF in years. I need to rectify that.
3. So Close to Home, James Blish (1961)
From the back cover: “JAMES BLISH author of Hugo Award winning A Case of Conscious, has selected a group of his own stories about futures that may be just around the next corner. To these he has added a brand new story, “The Abattoir Effect,” which has never appeared anywhere else before.
With customary, but still astonishing attention to ingenious detail, Blish leads one through a series of lively and entertaining stories which could become fact–as indeed have so many stories which, not so long ago, were considered wild flights of imagination.
Most of the world doesn’t pretend to understand the technological developments of the past twenty or thirty years. But all people can understand the effects of these advances before it is Joe Doaks who lives with them–or dies because of them. And so it is with effects that James Blish is most concerned, the immediate, urgent and often very personal results involved for people who can’t tell a fission from a fusion. But who still know a good story when they read one.”
Contents: “Struggle in the Womb” (1950), “Sponge Dive” (1956), “One-Shot” (1955), “The Box” (1949), “First Strike” (1953), “The Abattoir Effect” (1961), “The Oath” (1960), “F Y I” (1953), “The Masks” (1959), “Testament of Andros” (1953)
Initial Thoughts: In the early years of my site I reviewed quite a bit of Blish (check out my review INDEX) and read others such as A Case of Conscience (1958). As with Spinrad, he’s not an author I’ve read much as of late.
4. Wind Child, R. M. Meluch (1982)
From the back cover: “BORN OF WIND AND WOMAN.
Daniel East’s mother was dead. Laure Lafayette-Remington East, the only person who had ever been able to speak with the Kistraalians, the wind beings who’d called Aeolis their home long before humans transformed it into a paradise planet for the very wealthy. Alive, Laure could have warned the winds about the human weapon that could threaten their very existence. Now Daniel alone remained to carry his mother’s message of survival. But to accomplish his mission Daniel had to learn how to communicate with the winds. And in the learning, he discovered a ten-thousand-year-old secret that sent him rocketing across the galaxy in search of a living legend which could herald the beginning of a new age or the final extinction of an entire race… WIND CHILD.”
Initial Thoughts: Oops, this is the second book in R. M. Meluch’s Wind duology! I need the first. I got seduced by the Paul Alexander cover (that’ll look even snazzier with a hi-res scan when I return home). I doubt the novel has much merit.
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