(Pompeo Posar’s cover for the 1st edition)
3/5 (collated rating: Average)
“The dead astronaut: The phrase is filled with anxiety, the words themselves evoking the tension and anguish that gripped the whole world in that fateful month of April 1970, when a technical malfunction came close to costing the lives of astronauts Lovell, Swigert and Haise” (5).
The Dead Astronaut (1971) contains a range of 50s and 60s SF stories—from Ursula K. Le Guin to J. G. Ballard—on the broad theme of astronauts, that appeared in Playboy Magazine. For a reader of genre for only the last decade (and a bit), it’s shocking to consider that Playboy, at one point, contained top-notch science fiction! That aside, The Dead Astronaut contains a range of soft and hard science fictional accounts of astronauts Continue reading
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1972 edition)
3.5/5 (collated rating: Good)
The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972) doesn’t feel like a “best of” collection. The majority of the contents are unspectacular space operas and hard SF in the Analog vein. Amongst the chaff, a few more inventive visions shined through—in particular, Joanna Russ’ mysteriously gauzy and stylized experiment replete with twins and dream machines; Michael G. Coney’s evocative overpopulation story about tourist robots; Christopher Priest’s “factual” recounting of human experimental subjects that isn’t factual at all; and Barry Malzberg’s brief almost flash piece about differing perspectives all tied together by the New York metro.
On the whole, I give it a solid recommendation although the best can be found in single-author collections.
“The Fourth Profession” (1971), novelette by Larry Niven, 3/5 (Average): Nominated for the 1972 Continue reading
Little pleases me more than reading the fascinating cross-section of the genre presented by anthologies from my favorite era of SF (1960s/70s). After the success that was World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (variant title: World’s Best Science Fiction: Third Series) (1967), ed. Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr, I decided to browse my “to post” pile of recent acquisitions and share a handful with you all. As is often the case, the collections are peppered with stories I’ve already read—I’ve linked the relevant reviews.
Filled with authors I haven’t read yet—Stephen Tall, Robin Scott, Roderick Thorp, Jean Cox, Christopher Finch, etc.
…and of course, many of my favorites including Gene Wolfe, Ursula Le Guin, Barry N. Malzberg, and Kate Wilhelm (among many many others).
Scans are from my collection.
1. The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972)
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading
A very odd selection today… Some Christmas gift card holdovers and one volume I purchased online. Including Edgar Pangborn’s most famous novel, a bizarre anthology of future artistic visions (with stories by Ellison, Clarke, Effinger, Zelazny, Dickson, Kornbluth, et al.), a collection of Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s SF stories on music, and a most likely horrible pulp slave planet rebellion type novel by Laurence M. Janifer.
1. Davy, Edgar Pangborn (1964)
(Robert Foster’s cover for the 1965 edition) Continue reading
Another Wilhelm to add to my growing stack of her novels and collections—I’ve read and reviewed quite a few recently: Margaret and I (1971), The Downstairs Room and Other Speculative Fiction (1968), and Juniper Time (1979)
More Malzberg (Ace Double story collection + discursive SF novel about fandom)—early stuff from his K. M. O’Donnell pseudonym days.
Clarke’s first novel—although my edition does not have the amazing cover I placed in the post (sorry!).
And, the perhaps OK novel, Ice & Iron (1974) by Wilson Tucker. I really should read his more famous time travel novels first, I have at least two on the shelf….
1. The Infinity Box, Kate Wilhelm (1975)
(Ed Soyka’s cover for the 1977 edition) Continue reading
A nice range of SF authors/works! A Michael Bishop collection containing many of his most famous 70s short stories for my upcoming guest post series…. And a SF juvenile written by Phyllis Maclennan with an intriguing premise (although, as always, I’m very dubious about juveniles in general). John Varley’s famous novel Titan (1979) seems like a fascinating take on the Big Dumb Object trope. And finally a 50s adventure by the indomitable Arthur C. Clarke.
I am most intrigued by the Varley’s Titan and Bishop’s Blooded on Arachne.
Some of the covers are cringe inducing.
1. Titan, John Varley (1979)
(Ron Waltosky’s cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading
Bargain bins yield some Clarke and Asimov classics I read when I was a teen but never owned…. I remember thinking at the time that Imperial Earth (1975) was one of Clarke’s best novels. Dickson’s Dorsai! (1960) — I’ve never been a fan of military SF — is a classic I need to get around to reading. And, my final find was Richard Cowper’s Time Out of Mind (1973). I was surprisingly impressed with his lighthearted romp of a novel, Profundis (1979).
Thoughts on the books?
1. Time Out of Mind, Richard Cowper (1973)
(Don Maitz’s cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover: “As a young boy, Laurie Linton encountered a strange apparition: a ghostly man who urgently mouthed a message: KILL MAGOBION! Years later, as members of the UN Narcotics Security Agency, Linton and the beautiful Carol Kennedy were assigned a special duty: investigation of a mysterious drug which endowed its addicts with superhuman powers. Continue reading
Some fun finds! Perhaps surprisingly, I still haven’t read Clarke’s “The Sentinel” (1951) so I was happy to find it in a collection collated by Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest — Spectrum 3 (1963). Even more appealing are the famous Poul Anderson, J. G. Ballard, and Murray Leinster tales in the same volume… The entire Spectrum collection (I-V) brings together some fantastic works.
John Varley is one of the important 70s writers that I still haven’t read. Thus, despite the egregious cover, I snatched his collection of 70s stories, The Persistence of Vision (1978)… I look forward to diving into this one.
Also, C. J. Cherryh was one of my favorite authors as a teen so it’s always nice to come across one of her works I hadn’t devoured yet — in this case, her second novel Brothers of Earth (1976).
1. The Persistence of Vision, John Varley (1978)
(Jim Burns’ cover for Continue reading
(Ed Emshwiller’s? cover for the 1956 edition)
The End of the World (1956) is a highly readable collection of short works by some of the leading figures of the 50s: Robert Heinlein, Edmond Hamilton, Philip K. Dick, and Arthur C. Clarke are the most notable contributors. All the works, including the short by the virtually unknown author Amelia Reynolds Long, have appeared in other volumes but it’s nice to have them grouped according to theme with a quality Ace edition 50s Emshwiller cover.
Wollheim gathers together a fascinating range of accounts of the end of the world — seen through the eyes of aliens, humans from the present viewing the future, the last men on earth surveying the ruins, a robotic bomb who thinks it’s human and “accidentally” triggers the end of the Continue reading