Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXII (Cooper + Wilhelm + Kornbluth + Merril)

I was so impressed with C. M. Kornbluth’s masterful collection The Explorers (1954) that I picked up a copy his 1958 collection A Mile Beyond the Moon (I own the hardback first edition but I prefer Powers’ cover below).  Also, recently inspired (again) to read more 1960s works by female authors I bought a collection of three novellas by Merril and a 1963 collection of shorts by Kate Wilhelm.  Wilhem and Merril aren’t always top-notch but worth a read (and in Wilhelm’s case, a second chance — I enjoyed Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1977) but I’m still not convinced it was Hugo/Nebula quality work).

Cooper’s Seed of Light (1958) is considered one of his more mature works — to the chagrin of some of his fans who prefer his more “pulpish” works — but my obsession with generation ships was my real motivation to add it to my collection.

One short story, a novel, and one of the novellas take place on generation ships!

A nice haul — a mixture of lesser known works by some famous figures.

Enjoy (the covers)!

1. Daughters of Earth (1968), Judith Merril (MY REVIEW)

(Robert Foster’s cover for Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXII (Cooper + Wilhelm + Kornbluth + Merril)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Rocket, Field, Figure Part I

(Rod Dunham’s cover for the 1953 edition of Planet of the Dreamers (1953), John D. MacDonald)

First (archetypal) incarnation: rocket, field, figure.  Second incarnation: rocket with extra fins, field with unusual terrain, human staring at alien figure (s).  Repeat with virtually infinite variation.

By far one of my favorite science fiction cover tropes, rocket/field/figure evokes covers spanning the entire history of science fiction.  Rod Dunham’s cover for the 1953 edition of John D. MacDonald’s Planet of the Dreamers (above) perfectly evokes the archetype in its pure unadulterated form.  Emswiller’s cover for the 1960 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (below) uses a more traditional perspective but manipulates the field with a Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Rocket, Field, Figure Part I

Book Review: The Man in the Maze, Robert Silverberg (1969)

(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1978 edition)

4.5/5 (Very Good)

The Man in the Maze (1969) is yet another glorious novel from Silverberg’s best period (1967-1975).  Silverberg adeptly recasts Sophocles’ play Philoctetes (perhaps more of a loose inspiration) in an inventive and fully realized science fiction future where man has newly come into contact with interstellar beings.  As with some of his more serious works (The World Inside, Downward to the EarthHawksbill Station, etc.) the tone is that of a dark and brooding rumination.  The setting, a massive and unexplained ancient maze/city on the planet of Lemnos, is the perfect backdrop for the thought-provoking human drama that unfolds.

Plot Summary

Our hero, Richard Muller, is a one-time diplomat famous Continue reading Book Review: The Man in the Maze, Robert Silverberg (1969)

Book Review: Conversations, Barry N. Malzberg (1975)

(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition)

3.25/5 (Average)

“Here I live.  Twenty up, twenty down, me in the middle with the Group.  Twenty up, broken gray and movement to the distance, twenty down to the landing, farther out the arena.  Gray up, landing down, me forever in the middle (1).”

Malzberg’s novella (89 pages), Conversations (1975), distills the common future dystopia tropes into an occasionally poignant but unremarkable young adult novel.  By young adult I mean completely suitable for young readers interested in science fiction (Malzberg fans know his usual relentlessly dark fare often verges on crass/risque).  I was unable to glean any information from the web on the work — only two or three of Malzberg’s extensive canon (late 60s-early 80s) receive any attention — so I had no idea that it was for younger readers.  A shot in the dark…

The main downfall of the work is the overly simplistic setting Continue reading Book Review: Conversations, Barry N. Malzberg (1975)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXI (Silverberg + Compton + Malzberg + Anderson)

A few more Christmas gift card purchases…

Dying Inside (1972) is often considered one of Silverberg’s best works and I can’t wait to read it (I will after my soon to be hellish weekend grading ~60 undergrad history papers).  Despite a painfully negative review on Amazon slamming Compton’s The Silent Multitude (1967) as a dull imitation of J. G. Ballard, it is high on my to read list — almost any experimental (allegorical) work exploring a crumbling city intrigues me.  Malzberg’s Conversations (1975) was a shot in the dark — it might be the least read of any of his novels — hence, my interest.

Pohl Anderson is almost always worth reading — even his middling short stories are fun.

Enjoy!

1. Dying Inside, Robert Silverberg (1972)

(Jerry Thorp’s cover for Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXI (Silverberg + Compton + Malzberg + Anderson)

Updates: Visit + Submit to the BSFA Award Nominated Review Site SF Mistressworks

   

Hello all,  Ian Sales’ wonderful SF Mistressworks (link), a review collating blog, has recently been nominated for the BSFA award (British Science Fiction Association) in the non-fiction category (link for the list).  I’ve submitted nine of my reviews of sci-fi works written by women over the last few months.  It was created in direct response to the absence of sci-fi masterpieces by women on a list by The Guardian, a lack of general knowledge in the sci-fi community about early female pioneers in the genre, and general lack of readership for their many award-winning works.

If you’ve written reviews of science fiction works by women (the novels/short story collections need to be written before 2000) please submit them as well (500 words or so is preferred)!  So, gather up any Russ, Norton, Cherryh, C. L. Moore, Merril, Brackett, Piserchia, Le Guin, MacLean, Butler, etc etc etc reviews you might have on your blog or anywhere else.  It’s a great resource for finding seldom read works/authors which deserve a greater readership. Continue reading Updates: Visit + Submit to the BSFA Award Nominated Review Site SF Mistressworks

Adventures in (Bad) Science Fiction Cover Art: Miserable Monday No. III (Through the Purple Haze)

(Uncredited cover for the 1971 edition of Paradise is Not Enough (1970), Michael Elder)

My third Miserable Monday installment! (part I, part II)

Evil lurks behind purple clouds — a mascara-eyed man be-speckled with sparkling stars leers from the purple haze (the aphrodisiacal gases of paradise?), a goggled hero clutches his chest due to the horrific color palette sheeting towards them (a purple god’s purple tears?)(“O no! Run! Shall we run from the purple and green atomic rays?”), and real humans aren’t purple, so, the androids must be — to blend in with the real humans? or, are all humans purple but only androids see the purple spectrum?  Serious questions.

No wonder the cover artists aren’t credited!

Enjoy, and try not to Continue reading Adventures in (Bad) Science Fiction Cover Art: Miserable Monday No. III (Through the Purple Haze)