Tag Archives: 1960s

Book Review: New Writings in S-F 6, ed. John Carnell (1965)

(David McCall Johnston’s art for the 1971 edition)

3.25/5 (collated rating: Vaguely Good)

New Writings in S-F 6 (1965) is the third I’ve read so far in John Carnell’s anthology series and by far the most satisfying. New Writings in S-F 4 (1965) was worthwhile only for Keith Roberts’ short story “Sub-Lim” (1965). New Writings in S-F 9 (1972) was marginally overall better with solid outings by Michael G. Coney and M. John Harrison.

The sixth in the sequence offers an intriguing Keith Roberts novella–that takes up almost half the volume–and a kaleidoscope of other moody (albeit lesser) visions from William Spencer, John Baxter, and E.C. Tubb.

Brief Analysis/Summary

“The Inner Wheel” (1965), Keith Roberts, 4/5 (Good): A few months ago I procured a copy of Keith Roberts’ linked series of short stories containing the titular “The Inner Wheel” and chose this particular New Writings in SF volume because of the story. I suspect I won’t be returning to the “novel” Continue reading Book Review: New Writings in S-F 6, ed. John Carnell (1965)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVI (Wyndham + Conway + Brown + Wright)

Post-PhD job takes over… and books are not reviewed. But reading and buying still happens!

1. A supposed cult classic republished by Picador Press….. Has anyone read Smallcreep’s Day (1965)? Near the top of my “to read” pile. And I love Barbara Costall’s cover.

2. Early in the year I reviewed Conway’s short story “Mindship” (1971) in Universe 1 (1971), ed. Terry Carr. It was pretty solid. I tracked down the novel version which included the short as the prologue.

3. I was obsessed with Austin Tappan Wright’s Islandia (1942) as a kid. Not with the novel per se, which I never owned, but the lengthy and descriptive entry in Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi’s spectacular (and wonder inducing) The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (1987). And of course, the idea of  Wright slowly creating an imaginary world that could exist within our own and only “discovered” after his death resonated with a young me…

I’ve included the map from the entry in The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

4. And finally, another John Wyndham novel… although the premise sounds downright bland and trite. But then again, I still have not read a lot of his work and I know he was a formative voice in SF.

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1. Smallcreep’s Day, Peter Currell Brown (1965)

(Barbara Costall’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVI (Wyndham + Conway + Brown + Wright)

Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 3 (Aldous Huxley + Soviet SF + Cyberpunk nightmares + et al.)

My third installment (earlier ones here) of Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere… Be sure to check out the reviews linked from other amazing sites (and subscribe to them). And, as always, there are some fascinating covers to behold!

Go forth and read!

(Uncredited cover–Michael Hooks?–for the 1964 edition)

1. Mike White posts an earlier review of Aldous Huxley’s Ape and Essence (1948). Let’s just say I can’t wait to review the book myself.

From his review:

“Huxley’s not offering hopeful alternatives; we’re doomed by our essential nature. As a work of post-apocalyptic fiction, the book is a powerful exploration of the relationship between science and civilization that has brought humanity to the brink of near-total annihilation.”

2. Guy, a frequent commenter on this site and Continue reading Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 3 (Aldous Huxley + Soviet SF + Cyberpunk nightmares + et al.)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXV (Tiptree, Jr. + Lynn + Carey + Best of SF 1968 Anthology)

1. James Tiptree, Jr.’s first novel is not considered one of her better works. But, as my appreciation of her fiction grows, it was hard to pass up (especially at $1). Have you read it?

2. I recently read and reviewed World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (1967), ed. Terry Carr and Donald A. Wollheim and was thoroughly impressed. Enough to track down the following year’s anthology….  And, as an avowed D. G. Compton fan (for example, his underrated/underread 1966 novel Farewell, Earth’s Bliss), I was thrilled to see this volume contains one of his few short stories. It also contains the original novella version of one of my favorite SF novels–Robert Silverberg’s Hawksbill Station (1968).

Love the Jack Gaughan cover!

3. A novel by Elizabeth A. Lynn, an author I’ve never read — I approach it with trepidation… But, as I always say, I love exploring lesser known works.

4. Peter Carey, another author I’ve never read. His stories (the publisher attempts to distance them from SF) seem my cup of tea.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

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1. Up the Walls of the World, James Tiptree, Jr. (1978)

(Uncredited cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXV (Tiptree, Jr. + Lynn + Carey + Best of SF 1968 Anthology)

Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 2 (Soviet SF + Michael Moorcock + Hannes Bok + 70s UK Anthology + Allen Adler)

As a number of my favorite vintage SF sites have either gone into temporary hiatus or stopped posting completely, I’ve decided to make my Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere a semi-regular feature (Part I). I will also include links to various articles that I’ve encountered that might be older as well.

1) Kaggsy, over at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings, reviewed what appears to be an unmissable collection of Soviet SF: The Air of Mars and Other Stories of Time and Space (1976), translated and edited by Mirra Ginsburg. From her review:

“Normally when I read Soviet sci-fi I end up looking for hidden messages or subtexts, as so many authors living under repressive regimes have turned to sci-fi as a way of hiding up their ideas and their dissent. Certainly, there were elements in some of the stories here, most obviously in “We Are Not Alone”, when any heresy against the dominant ideology is harshly punished. And in “Twelve Holidays” the clever trick used to get rid of a ruler could have been wishful thinking on the part of an author living with the cult of great leaders. However, whether or not there are hidden messages, all of these stories sparkled and entertained and made me look at the world and universe around me with fresh eyes – which for me is what I look for in science fiction writing.”

(Image via Kaggsy. Charles Mikolaycak’s cover for the 1976 edition) Continue reading Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 2 (Soviet SF + Michael Moorcock + Hannes Bok + 70s UK Anthology + Allen Adler)

Book Review: Damnation Alley, Roger Zelazny (1969)

(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1969 edition)

3/5 (Average)

As I read Roger Zelazny’s post-apocalyptical adventure Damnation Alley (1969), the relentless throbbing of Hawkwind’s 1977 song inspired by the novel along with cringeworthy lines of dialogue from the 1977 film version kept interjecting themselves into my reading experience.

First, a snippet from the song….

I’ve got the serum and I’m going to take it
All the way to Boston, oh I’ve got to get through
The going won’t be easy, but I’m going to make it
It’s the only thing that I’m cut out to do
Ride the post-atomic radioactive trash
The sky’s on fire from the nuclear flash
Driving through the burning hoop of doom,
In an eight wheeled anti-radiation tomb
Thank you Dr. Strangelove for going doolally,
and leaving me the heritage of Damnation Alley […].

Absent from Hawkwind’s interpretation that Continue reading Book Review: Damnation Alley, Roger Zelazny (1969)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Otherworldly Textures and the Patina of Decay (the SF art of Philippe Jean)

(Cover for Fiction, 133 (1964), ed. Alain Dorémieux)

The four credited covers of Philippe Jean for the French SF magazine Fiction (between 1963-1964) show remarkable clarity of vision. Each explores the patina of decay made manifest in a haunting landscape that stretches across the page, still inhabited by small figures who weave among the ruined buildings and statuary. The detail from Fiction, #133 below shows a decaying recumbent form amongst brittle shadows of the masts of stranded ships — small human figures move around it.

In another instance, here Fiction, 121, Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Otherworldly Textures and the Patina of Decay (the SF art of Philippe Jean)