I bought and am in the process of reading a novel from the 90s… Look below to find out which one! (SHOCKING).
Also, more in line with my common (recent) reading patterns, a lesser known but supposedly brilliant 70s novel, Interface (1971) by Mark Adelard. According to SF Encyclopedia: “The series is set in a city of the Near Future.[…] With a rich but sometimes sour irony, and a real if distanced sympathy for the problems and frustrations of both management and workers, Adlard plays a set of variations, often comic, on Automation, hierarchical systems, the Media Landscape, revolution, the difficulties of coping with Leisure, class distinction according to Intelligence, fantasies of Sex and the stultifying pressures of conformity.” The banal back cover description indicates a rather lesser novel than Clute’s praise…
More Philip José Farmer—early work, early work only!
And, well, I’ve never Moorcock’s SF/F but, perhaps my first collection of his short fiction will indicate what people claim he is capable of.
All but the last novel came via Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings on his book store trip…. Thanks again!
1. Interface, Mark Adlard (1971) (MY REVIEW)
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1977 edition) Continue reading
Kate Wilhelm is most widely known for her Hugo- and Locus-winning, Nebula-nominated, fix-up novel masterpiece Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang (1976). However, this linked series of novellas (her favorite form) was already the product of a long and fruitful career starting with somewhat standard pulp in the late 1950s. By the late 1960s and early 1970s her SF took on psychologically heavy and often devastatingly effective themes with great success: for example, in 1972 she was nominated for an astounding four Nebulas (winning none of them).
Most of her critical success focused on shorter forms which might be the reason why other than Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976) little of her work has remained firmly entrenched in the SF canon. Which is a crying shame as she is easily one of the most regularly brilliant writers I have encountered.
Thus I have rounded up my normal suspects from across the vintage SF blog sphere for my second guest post series! The first covered the work of Michael Bishop. As always, I have no idea whether they like her work or not but the purpose is to expose my readers to the range of her amazing visions. I will place links to their twitter accounts (if they have them) and Continue reading
(Jamie Bishop’s cover for the 2003 edition)
The fourth installment of my The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop guest post series was written by MPorcius (twitter: @hankbukowsi) at MPorcius Fiction Log—a valued and longtime commentator on my site. I have procured quite a few books due to his quality reviews which I highly recommend perusing. Check out his site (especially if you like classic SF)!
Over the course of this series we moved from Michael Bishop’s most well known novella (“Death and Designation Among the Asadi“) to his novels (Brittle Innings, No Enemy but Time) and now to an intriguing collection of lesser known short SF and non-genre stories.
MPorcius decided to only focus on the SF in Brighten to Incandescence but points out that all the stories in the collection are worth reading!
Brighten to Incandescence (2003) — Michael Bishop
Brighten to Incandescence, published by Golden Gryphon Press in 2003, is Michael Bishop’s seventh collection of stories. In the final chapter of the book, a series of notes on the stories, Bishop explains that he and the people at Golden Gryphon initially were thinking of putting out a Best Of volume, then decided to publish a collection of previously uncollected pieces instead. What we have in Brighten to Incandescence, then, are 17 stories, many of which were passed over for inclusion in previous collections for years or even decades; these stories probably do not represent Bishop’s best or most salable work.
Happily, the stories are all worth Continue reading
(Paul Swenson’s cover for the 2012 edition)
The second installment of my guest post series on Michael Bishop’s SF is the critically acclaimed Brittle Innings (1994) (Nominated for the 1994 Hugo + Won the 1995 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel)—his last published genre novel. In the words of the wonderful James Harris—over at Auxiliary Memory—who wrote the following review, “Brittle Innings is Flannery O’Connor mashed up with Mary Shelley, and a dash of A League of Their Own.” Make sure to check out his site [here] where he discusses writing, science fiction, movies, and definitely track down his best SF novels of the each decade lists!
Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop: Literary v. Genre Fiction
Stories about minor league baseball always have to deal the ambition of making it big, of going to the show, and playing for the majors. Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop is a baseball novel by a science fiction writer, and I can’t help but wonder if this novel isn’t about writing in the minor leagues hoping to make it big in the literary majors Continue reading
Collage of Bishop’s SF covers created by my father
“[Michael Bishop’s] early stories and novels display considerable intellectual complexity, and do not shirk the downbeat implications of their anthropological treatment of aliens and alienating milieux” — John Clute, SF Encyclopedia
Michael Bishop (b. 1945) [official website] is no stranger to critical success for both his novels and short SF: he has won the Nebula Award twice (“The Quickening” and No Enemy But Time) and picked up nine Hugo nominations and an additional thirteen Nebula Nominations. Two of his more famous novels, No Enemy But Time (1982) and Transfigurations (1979), were selected for inclusion and republication in the Gollancz Masterwork List. Although Bishop has not published a novel since the Hugo-nominated Brittle Innings in 1994, he received a Nebula nomination for his novelette “Vinegar Peace, or, The Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage” (2008) as recently as 2010!
With this in mind it is surprising that his extraordinary talent is not better known within the SF community. John Clute in his article for SF Encyclopedia argues that “the earnest ardour and rigorousness of Bishop’s fiction has made Continue reading
I while back I put out a call for SF novels/short works on immortality to add to a preliminary list I put together. Due to my lack of knowledge of newer SF and uncanny ability to forget relevant previously read works I eagerly added your suggestions. And Marta Randall’s Islands (1976) motivated me to finally post it…
Here’s the LIST!
If you can think of any that I might be missing be sure to Continue reading
(Uncredited cover for the 1963 edition of The Changeling Worlds (1959), Kenneth Bulmer)
Part IV of my space station themed sequence (Part I, Part II, Part III)–if you have not yet checked them out I recommend you do.
Vincent Di Fate is the master of space station art. They are hyper realistic and detailed. Although I definitely prefer his earlier surrealist work (for example, here) there is a certain appeal to more technical depictions of future space technology. However, my favorite of the handful Di Fate pieces I cobbled together is his for the 1975 edition of The Other Side of Tomorrow (1973)—the screens are windows into the future, and a space station is featured prominently. I sort of enjoy Bob Eggleton’s cover for the 1993 Italian edition of To Open the Sky (1967) as well—although I suspect the cover was published on an English language book earlier, Continue reading
This post is a call for readers to submit their favorite immortality themed science fiction NOT included on my list below (and even examples they did not care for so I can make this a more substantial resource). I’ll make a page with all the information I receive for easy consultation soon (INDEX of similar pages/articles).
A while back I started gathering a list of titles — via SF Encyclopedia, other online resources, and my own shelves — on immortality themed SF. I have always been intrigued by the social space (one plagued by violence and despair or buoyed by the hope of a better future) that the possibility of immortality might generate.
I would argue that the single best example of social effects that the possibility of immortality might create is Clifford D. Simak’s Why Call Them Back From Heaven? (1967). In similar fashion, James Gunn’s The Immortals (1962) takes place in a world where immortals do exist, they skirt Continue reading
(Graham Kaye’s cover for the 1955 edition of Tom Swift and his Outpost in Space (1955), Victor Appleton II)
This is Part III of my series on space stations (Part I + Part II). Ever since I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) as a teen I’ve been fascinated by space stations — platforms for further space exploration! I can only imagine how exciting it was for fans of science fiction who read about stations before they existed to see them finally constructed. The fact that they became reality — well, perhaps not (yet) as a launching point for space going exploration vessels — almost vindicates the scientific extrapolation of some of these early visions. Also, Arthur C. Clarke’s Islands in the Sky (1952) happened to be one of my first science fiction novels….. And C. J. Cherryh’s Downbelow Station (1981) Continue reading