Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVIII (Disch + Silverberg + Pohl + Dickson + et. al.)

Half-Price Books in Dallas, Texas (its first location!) = bliss.

9 books = only 12 dollars. (curtesy of my girlfriend’s parents’ pre-Christmas gift)

What an amazing haul — and if I had known they were only going to be twelve dollars I would have picked up nine more.  Lots of Silverberg from his glory years…  Generation ships… City building machines… Weird psychic forcefields out beyond Pluto… Vietnam army camps experimenting with intelligence enhancing (and death inducing) syphilis strains…

1. Camp Concentration, Thomas M. Disch (1972)

(Uncredited cover for the 1971 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVIII (Disch + Silverberg + Pohl + Dickson + et. al.)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Doomed Cities (post-apocalyptical ruins, war-wrecked landscapes, burning winds)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1959 edition of The Rest Must Die (1959), Kendell Foster Crossen)

The electricity turns off in a futuristic city and people turn into animals and everyone slowly kills each other, mysterious winds sweep through cities killing everyone, large machine minds take over, nuclear bombs destroy everything, intelligent dogs take over, the sun expands drying all the oceans, the sun expands (but not as much) and water floods over all the cities, aliens come with large guns and blow everything up, aliens come with brain probes and make others blow everything up, aliens pretend to be humans and annoy the humans enough so they blow each other up with nuclear bombs, people from the past go back in time and see that humans have blown everything up and they try to prevent the aliens from making the humans blow everything up, a bacterial agent from an alien kills everyone, Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Doomed Cities (post-apocalyptical ruins, war-wrecked landscapes, burning winds)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVII (Asimov + Silverberg + White + et al.)

I somehow forgot to post these four…..

Because I thoroughly enjoyed James White’s The Watch Below (1966) I procured his first novel, The Secret Visitors (1957).  My expectations are low….

Despite the egregious cover of Silverberg’s The Masks of Time (1968) (“white firmament congregating, emanating?, from floating man’s manhood,” or, “Ball Lightening” as a particularly witty individual posted on Good Show Sir after I submitted the cover), I’ve found that virtually everything that Silverberg wrote in the late 60s and early 70s is on the whole top-notch so I couldn’t help but pick up a copy.

I’m no Asimov fan but I found an old copy of The Currents of Space (1952) at my parents’ house and purloined it —  I read it when I was 12 so it has intense nostalgic value, one of my first science fiction books!

1. The Currents of Space, Isaac Asimov (1952)

(Uncredited cover for the 1953 edition)

Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVII (Asimov + Silverberg + White + et al.)

Book Review: The Watch Below, James White (1966)

(Uncredited cover for 1966 Ballantine edition)

4/5 (Good)

James White, famous for his Sector General series, spins a disturbing tale of two isolated and decaying societies — one alien, one human.  Without doubt the work demands a certain suspension of disbelief.  The isolated human society half of the premise comes off as highly artificial/improbably/impossible (and, well, bluntly put, hokey).  I found the alien half of the story line a more “realistic” situation but less emotionally involving as the human half.  White has difficultly meshing the trans-generational nature of both story lines — and the inevitable intersection at the end is predictable, anti-climactic, and dents the great appeal of the central portion of the work.

Lest this dissuade you, White’s dark vision is a transfixing take on the generation ship (literally) — how would a society descended from five individuals evolve for a hundred years trapped Continue reading Book Review: The Watch Below, James White (1966)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Domed Cities of the Future Part I

(Uncredited cover for the 1965 edition of Beyond the Sealed World (1965), Rena M. Vale)

While browsing through my collection of cover images I’ve collated over the last few months for science fiction art post ideas, I came across the uncredited cover for Rena Vale’s Beyond the Sealed World (1965) and was transfixed!  The angle of the text, the mountain, the dark expanse of space, the little spaceship, the figures silhouetted against the night, and the surreal shape of the domed city connected to other distant domed cities… If anyone knows the artist (or has a good educated guess) please let me know!  The second edition cover (below) still has beautiful domed cities but the caveman, helmeted soldier, and white-clad (not for long, the dress is slipping) woman tableau ruins the feel.

Particularly noteworthy is Jack Gaughan’s elevated domed city cover Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Domed Cities of the Future Part I

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVI (Kornbluth + Compton + et al.)

It’s not every day that a signed D. G. Compton novel arrives free in the mail.  About half a year or so ago Ian Sales (check out his amazing blog) hooked me on D. G. Compton’s works and ever since I’ve grabbed as many as I can find on used book stores shelves and I’ve written a slew of reviews (The Unsleeping Eye, The Quality of Mercy, The Steel Crocodile, Synthajoy, The Missionaries).  I made a comment on one of his D. G. Compton posts — a few days later a SIGNED copy of Compton’s Scudder’s Game (1988) (below) arrived in the mail!!  Ian, thanks again and keep up the uncovering of underrated 60s/70s sci-fi authors!

The others, well, the covers are gorgeous!  Two Richard Powers covers (the C. M. Kornbluth short story collection and the Conklin edited anthology).  I must confess that the Hunt Collins purchase was impulsive — in part due to the vibrant 50s cover by Bob Lavin.

I apologize for the recent absence of book reviews — due to the approaching end of my last semester of graduate course work I’ve been pressed for time.  I have reviews for Joanna Russ’ The Female Man (1975), James White’s The Watch Below (1966), and Samuel R. Delany’s Nova (1968) in preparation.

Enjoy!

1. The Explorers, C. M. Kornbluth (1954) (MY REVIEW)

Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XVI (Kornbluth + Compton + et al.)

Updates: Recent Acquisitions N. XV (Norton + Silverberg)

After a long time without purchasing books I’ve published two Recent Acquisition lists in quick succession!  Visiting parents = free books + many thanks.  The haul wasn’t the best but I left with a fun selection of works by Andre Norton and Robert Silverberg.

Some of the covers are great (especially Norton’s Sargasso in Space)!

Enjoy!

1. Star Born, Andre Norton (1957)

(Virgil Finlay’s cover for the 1957 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Acquisitions N. XV (Norton + Silverberg)