Guest Post: Brighten to Incandescence (selections), Michael Bishop (2003)

(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!



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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

Update: Guest Post Series Announcement, The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop

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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

Updates: Immortality Themed SF Novels/Short Stories Resource Posted


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

Updates (New Resource): List of Immortality Themed SF (a call to contribute!)

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

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Space Station, Part III

8fb71adc43d8c6f43977b5522a534504(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

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Nuclear Explosions + Mushroom Clouds

(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the 1957 edition of Doomsday Eve (1957). Robert Moore Williams)

The nuclear scare produced some of the best dystopic visions ever put to paper — the devastation would be utter, complete, and the radiation, oh what fun science fiction authors and filmakers had with the effects of radiation.  A red spectrum! Mutations! Hybrid bug people!  Godzilla!  Women with two heads!  An endless assortments of monsters…  I’ve selected a wide range of covers depicting the actual nuclear explosion — not the after effects.  Families gaze from caves in dispair, watching the bomb incinerate their world.  People run helter-skelter away from the explosion.  Or, artists take a more stylized approach to the explosion — figures are cast upward amongst the wreckage of buildings. Continue reading

A Film Rumination: Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl, Manoel de Oliveira (2009)

7.5/10 (Good)

The Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira is the oldest filmaker still making films — he’s 102 at the moment!  Even more surprising is the fact that his most productive years have come since the 1990s (often two films a year).  Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (2009) is the first of his I’ve seen and won’t be my last.  Despite the fact that Eccentricities has its fair share of flaws it is a gorgeous and timeless tale Continue reading