Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCLXXVI (Philip José Farmer, Barbara Paul, Knut Faldbakken, and Ward Moore)

Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Father to the Stars, Philip José Farmer (1981)

From the back cover: “John Carmody has no ethics, no morals and no conscience. Until he takes the Chance on Dante’s Joy, living through seven nights of wildest fantasies come true, he can’t even imagine why anyone would want a conscience. But Dante’s Joy is a truly strange place–and the phone calls from his murdered wife are only the beginning of his strange experiences.

Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXI (Ellison + Sterling + Fast + Paul)

As is my wont, a wide range of authors, SF styles, and covers…. From Harlan Ellison’s collection with the first expanded and non-magazine publication of his famous  1970 Nebula Award-winning and Hugo-nominated novella “A Boy and His Dog” (1969) to Barbara Paul’s best-known SF novel.

And, how can you resist the gorgeous Karel Thole cover for Fast’s collection?  I know little about the author….

And finally, in my youth I was a cyberpunk fanatic and I adored (perhaps I was misguided, hah) Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net (1988).  At last I have his first novel in my hands!

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome!

1. The General Zapped an Angel, Howard Fast (1970)


(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: An Exercise for Madmen, Barbara Paul (1978)

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(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1978 edition)

2.5/5 (Bad)

Barbara Paul’s An Exercise for Madmen (1978), a retelling of Euripides’ The Bacchae, follows an established narrative pattern: Stranger enters community with dangerous knowledge.  Community reacts with suspicion but soon the stranger, despite claims of goodwill, begins to wield greater and greater influence.

In this case, a priapic-Romance cover-“ideal” alien man named Zalmox (masculine to women, feminine to men) gets an entire community to have great sex with him and everyone else….  And he brings magical alien apples, apples that cure madness Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIX (Leiber + Paul + Reamy + Anthology)

Powell’s Books in Portland, OR dethrones Dawn Treader Book Shop in Ann Arbor, MI as the best SF collection I have ever encountered  in a used bookstore (and remember, fewer and fewer books interest me as I collect more and more—if you did not already have a collection you’d be out hundreds of dollars!).

I need to read more of Leiber’s work as I adored The Big Time (1958) and his short story collection A Pail of Air (1964).

Tom Reamy died too young—right after publishing his masterpiece Blind Voices (received Hugo and Nebula nods in 1979 and second place in Locus voting).

New author: Barbara Paul.  Read anything by her?

And, well, you all know my love affair with New Worlds Best SF anthologies… Links to my reviews: The Best SF Stories from New Worlds (1967) and Best SF Stories from New Worlds 3 (1968).


1. Gather, Darkness!, Fritz Leiber (1950)


(Robert Foster’s (?) cover for the 1969 edition) Continue reading