Category Archives: Updates + Articles

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXV (Brian W. Aldiss, James E. Gunn, Sharon Webb, and a Themed Anthology)

My first purchases of 2021! As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Helliconia Spring, Brian W. Aldiss (1982)

Kinuko Y. Craft’s cover for the 1983 edition

From the back cover: “Imagine a world in a system of twin suns, where Winter is 6000 ice-locked years and every Spring is the first remembered. Imagine a People finding ruined cities beneath the melting snows. Never dreaming they had built them. And would again… Imagine Helliconia. And begin the most magnificent peice since DUNE…”

Initial Thoughts: I love Brian W. Aldiss’ SF–from his iconic generation ship novel Non-Stop (variant title: Starship) (1958) to bizarre experimental works short stories like “Judas Danced” (1958) [which I need to reread!]. I have yet to explore any of of his early 80s SF. I’ve reviewed the following Aldiss works: Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXV (Brian W. Aldiss, James E. Gunn, Sharon Webb, and a Themed Anthology)

Updates: My 2020 in Review (Best SF Novels, Best SF Short Fiction, and Bonus Categories)

I’m not sure what I can add about the general sentiment of 2020. It was awful in every way. Here’s to a better 2021.

Reading and writing for the site—and participating in all the SF discussions it’s generated over the year—was a necessary and greatly appreciated salve. Thank you everyone!

I also have one (hopefully more) review coming out in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (the Curiosities column) in the spring. I’ve not included my reviews of those esoteric SF novels in this particular post.

Without further ado, here are my favorite novels and short stories I read in 2020 (with bonus categories). Tempted to track any of them down?

And feel free to list your favorite vintage (or non-vintage) SF reads of the year. As always, I look forward to reading your comments.


My Top 10 Science Fiction Novels (click titles for my review)

Tim White’s cover for the 1983 edition

1. Electric Forest, Tanith Lee (1979), 5/5 (Masterpiece): Tanith Lee spins a gauzy, sinister, and terrifying tale of manipulative resurrection. A brilliant inventor projects the mind of a grotesque social outcast into a new transcendent Continue reading Updates: My 2020 in Review (Best SF Novels, Best SF Short Fiction, and Bonus Categories)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXIV (Ben Bova, Marjorie Bradley Kellogg, Robert Wilfred Franson, Barry N. Malzberg and Edward L. Ferman edited anthology)

As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

Ben Bova (1932-2020) passed away a few weeks ago due to Covid-19 complications (and a stroke) (Tor Remembrance Article). While I haven’t had the best luck with his work, if you have any fond memories of him or reading his SF, let me know in the comments. I purchased his first collection Forward in Time (1973) (below) in his honor.

1. Final Stage: The Ultimate Science Fiction Anthology, ed. Barry N. Mazlberg and Edward L. Ferman (1974)

David Pelham’s cover for the 1975 edition

From the back cover: “Thirteen fantastic new stories on the classic themes of Science Fiction.” See Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXIV (Ben Bova, Marjorie Bradley Kellogg, Robert Wilfred Franson, Barry N. Malzberg and Edward L. Ferman edited anthology)

Let’s Solve A Science Fiction Puzzle from the July 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Edward L. Ferman

Let’s solve a SF acrostic from the July 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction together! Put your answers in the comments. Here is a link to the original. Prove your SFF knowledge 1975 style! (hah)

I’ll get us started. Depending on the level of participation, I’ll update the document as we go.

O. Author of Commune 2000 A.D. = Mack Reynolds

U. He had a rendezvous with a Nebula = Arthur

EDIT: The puzzle has been updated 12/16 (10:28 EST)

EDIT 2: A reader and participant completed the entire puzzle here! Thanks everyone for participating! They also identified errors that the puzzle creator made — they spelled Doris Piserchia’s name as Pischeria (yikes!). 

Continue reading Let’s Solve A Science Fiction Puzzle from the July 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Edward L. Ferman

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXIII (John Sladek, C. J. Cherryh, John Morressy, Edmond Hamilton)

As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Tik-Tok, John Sladek (1983)

Peter Gudynas’ cover for the 1985 edition

From the back cover: “Tik-Tok was one of the finest domestic robots ever made, but his asimov circuits were defective. He could injure people as much as he pleased–and he pleased to do it often!

But the life of a robot (if that isn’t a contradiction) is still all service and unpaid labor. Tik-Tok served many masters, all of whom came to a bad end. Happily he went on gathering steam with a trail of catastrophes getting bigger and Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXIII (John Sladek, C. J. Cherryh, John Morressy, Edmond Hamilton)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXIII (Elizabeth A. Lynn, Romanian SF Anthology, Eastern European SF Anthology, and Barry N. Malzberg)

As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Other Worlds, Other Seas, ed. Darko Suvin (1970)

Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1972 edition

From the back cover: “Darko Suvin was born in Zagreb, Yugoslavia in 1930. An internationally known critic of literature and theater, he is the author of seven books of criticism including POSSIBLE WORLDS—An outline of Science-Fiction and Utopias.

Stanislaw Lem of Poland, author of SOLARIS, is only the most famous of a burgeoning group of Eastern European writers. His contribution to OTHER WORLDS, OTHER SEAS—four brilliant stories—is a treat to his hundreds of thousands of American admirers. But a whole body of first rate s-f is now being produced in the socialist countries by equally gifted writers such as Josef Nesvadba, Anatoliy Dneprov, and Anton Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXIII (Elizabeth A. Lynn, Romanian SF Anthology, Eastern European SF Anthology, and Barry N. Malzberg)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXII (John Shirley, Sheila Finch, Hank Lopez, David Ohle)

As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Motorman, David Ohle (1972)

Matt Tracy’s cover for the 2008 edition

There is no cover or interior blurb for the 2008 reprint edition. From the back cover of the 1972 1st edition: “MOTORMAN is Moldenke, a man living in the City of one possible future—a man of little strength, few feelings, four implanted sheep’s hearts ticking away inside his chest, and a need to seek out the point where the square of existence becomes round. Of course it can’t be done, but his imagination sets out anyway on a Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXII (John Shirley, Sheila Finch, Hank Lopez, David Ohle)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXI (Algis Budrys, Gwyneth Jones, Russell M. Griffin, Dino Buzzati)

As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Some Will Not Die, Algis Budrys (1961, rev. 1978)

Frank Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1978 edition

My 1978 revised edition contains no inside flap or back cover blurb. Instead, here’s the brief description of the novel and its complex publication history from SF Encyclopedia: “Budrys’ first novel has a complex history. As False Night (March 1954 Galaxy as “Ironclad”; much exp. 1954) it was published in a form abridged from the manuscript version; this manuscript served as the basis for a reinstated text which, with additional new material, was published as Some Will Not Die (1961; rev 1978). In both versions a Post-Holocaust story is set in a plague-decimated Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXI (Algis Budrys, Gwyneth Jones, Russell M. Griffin, Dino Buzzati)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLX (Scott Russell Sanders, Charles G. Finney, Gail Kimberly, Anthology of the Best SF of 1980)

As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. The Unholy City (1937) and The Magician Out of Manchuria (1968), Charles G. Finney

Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1968 edition

From the back cover: “Long out of print, THE UNHOLY CITY is one of the most remarkable novels of fantastic adventures ever written. The nightmare City of Heilar-Wey, with its ghoulish pleasures, its zany riots, and a giant tiger ravening in its streets, is not a nice place to visit—but it’s a delight to read about!

THE MAGICIAN OUT OF MANCHURIA—a new short novel, published here for the first time Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLX (Scott Russell Sanders, Charles G. Finney, Gail Kimberly, Anthology of the Best SF of 1980)