Vonda N. McIntyre (August 28, 1948 – April 1, 2019) passed away yesterday from pancreatic cancer. McIntyre, best known for her Hugo and Nebula-winning SF novel Dreamsnake (1978) and her Star Trek Novels and film adaptations (1981-2004) (bibliography), published her first SF story “Breaking Point” in in the February 1970 issue of Venture Science Fiction Magazine. John Clute in SF Encyclopedia describes her two best-known SF novels: Continue reading Updates: Vonda N. McIntyre (August 28, 1948 – April 1, 2019)
(Tadanoi Yokoo’s cover for the 1979 edition)
In Kobo Abe’s Secret Rendezvous (1977, trans. 1979) the hospital stretches like a recumbent body, leaking fluids through its membranes and undefined in its expansiveness, across the urban landscape. Within its labyrinthine interior, humans (agents of “disease”) animate various functions of the hospital for their own purposes–some sinister, some scientific, some sinisterly scientific. The hospital body lurches and vibrates with the sounds of its doctors and orderlies as they rewire the building’s organs and nerves in order to experiment on themselves and their patients. Within this veritable entity lacking a functional guiding agent, a harrowing, existential, and surreal Freudian mystery unfolds. Continue reading Book Review: Secret Rendezvous, Kobo Abe (1977, trans. 1979)
(Detail from Alan Daniels’ cover for the 1980 German edition of Open Prison (1964), James White)
The crashed spaceship — a wrecked hulk spinning in the emptiness of space, shattered metal struts strewn across an alien landscape…. I find few SF scenarios more nostalgic than this one as a younger me was obsessed with books about the societies formed from the survivors of such cataclysms (Anne McCaffrey’s Acorna Universe sequence, of dubious quality now, was a cornerstone of my youth).
I have selected a range of fascinating covers which add to a series I made in 2012 (Part I) and 2013 (Part II). My favorite of the bunch is Tibor Csernus’ cover for the 1973 French edition of Clifford D. Simak’s Time and Again (1951) due to the verdant and wet landscape the spaceship finds itself in. My second favorite is Dean Ellis’ “descriptive” cover for the 1974 edition of Alan Dean Foster Icerigger (1974). It doesn’t try to be surreal but rather depicts a scene straight from novel. I usually prefer when the artist takes a more unusual approach but in this case Ellis narrows in on the wonder of the premise. Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Crashed Spaceships, Part III
1. I recently read and reviewed enthusiastically New Dimensions 3, ed. Robert Silverberg (1973). Inspired, I procured quite a few more in the series… Here is number 1. Looks like an absolutely spectacular lineup — Le Guin, Ellison, Malzberg, Lafferty, etc.
2. One always needs more Clifford D. Simak, right?
4. Philip José Farmer, despite multiple masterpieces, churned out a lot of crud… I expect this will fall in that category.
Note: The hi-res scans are of my personal copies — click to enlarge.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
1. New Dimensions 1, ed. Robert Silverberg (1971)
(Uncredited cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCV (Farmer + Simak + Effinger + New Dimensions Anthology)
8/10 (Very Good)
On the night of 20-21st of August 1968, the Warsaw Pact countries (led by the USSR) invaded Czechoslovakia ending the period of liberalization known as Prague Spring. And with it, the Czech New Wave film movement “ended.” Regardless, Karel Kachyna filmed The Ear (1970), a paranoid psychological thriller redolent with New Wave stylings, that brandishes a proverbial middle finger in the direction of the Communist Party. Unsurprisingly, the film was promptly banned until 1989, and Kachyna Continue reading [Short] Diaristic Fragments on Czech Experimental Film: The Ear (1970), dir. Karel Kachyna
1. Overpopulation + an author I’ve not encountered before? Can there be a better combo? I’ve long been a fan of the subgenre–and I’ve gathered a substantial number of both read and unread overpopulation-themed SF into a list. And yes, I know Laser Books has a reputation for publishing low-quality crud…. I am not expecting a masterpiece!
2. I’ve been on a Kobo Abe kick as of late! Secret Rendezvous (1977, trans. 1979) is, as of now, my favorite read of the year–I hope to have a review up soon. Back cover blurb here.
I went ahead and purchased another “SFish” Abe novel… I’ve seen Abe’s 1966 film adaption of his own work (directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara) and it’s a brilliant cinematic experience. I’m hoping the novel has some of the same magic!
3. Another source material novel for one of my favorite SF films–Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1966)… I’m 50 odd pages through the novel and some of the scenes in the movie are identical. The book and movie diverge as the story unfolds…. I look forward to finishing Ely’s disconcerting SF thriller.
4. And finally, a complete and utter unknown quantity…. Scroll down to find out.
Note: the hi-res scans are of my personal collection. As I am not a “collector,” I tend to go with cheaper copies even if it means they have substantial imperfections.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.
1. Unto the Last Generation, Juanita Coulson (1975)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCIV (Ely + Abe + Coulson + Malec)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1976 edition)
4.25/5 (Very Good)
Won the 1973 Hugo for Best Novella. Nominated for the 1973 Nebula for Best Novella.
In November 1969, word of the My Lai Massacre (March 16, 1968), where American soldiers killed (and raped and mutilated) between 347-504 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians, reached American newspapers. Ronald L. Haeberle’s iconic (and horrifying) photograph of massacred children and adults–superimposed with, “Q. And babies? A. and babies,” the chilling lines from NBC’s interview with massacre participant Paul Meadlo–was transformed into the “most successful poster” opposing the Vietnam War by the Art Workers Coalition. Ursula K. Le Guin brilliantly channels this general anti-war anger, transposed to an alien local with colonizing humans as villains, in The Word for World is Forest (1972). Continue reading Book Review: The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin (1972)