Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXVI (Saxton + Harrison + Whiteley + New Worlds Anthology)

Procuring SF paperbacks never gets old! I have started scanning in the covers (two of the four below) in order to provide higher quality images (click to zoom)— especially if they are hard to find images online and/or I find them aesthetically pleasing (Powers + Lehr in this post).

Let me know if the change is worth it!

Book rundown:

Josephine Saxton: Despite reading The Hieros Gamos of Sam and An Smith (1969) years ago, my mind still traces the imprint of its strange ritualistic beauty . Her short fiction was published in a range of SF magazines and collections from 1965 to 1992.  I have tracked down a copy of her first collection. Despite its 1985 publication date, eight of the fourteen stories were published in the 60s/70s.

Harry Harrison: A “classic” author whose work I need to explore more: I’ve read Deathworld (1960), attempted to read Make Room! Make Room! (1966) and A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah (1972) at least three times, and Lifeship (1976), which he co-wrote with Gordon R. Dickson. I’ve encountered his short fiction here and there and found “By The Falls” (1970) a satisfying New Wave endeavor. Time for more short fiction!

New Worlds Anthology: I want all of them, end of story.

And finally, the selection bound to surprise and confuse my regular readers…. Aliya Whiteley: Despite my various protestations, I have not stopped reading new SF entirely.  And I couldn’t resist finding a copy of Whiteley’s well-received  fungal nightmare…. If you’re curious see Jesse’s review over at Speculiction.

1. Prime Number, Harry Harrison (1970)

lehr-prime-numbers-harrison

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXVI (Saxton + Harrison + Whiteley + New Worlds Anthology)”

Book Review: Best SF Stories from New Worlds 3, ed. Michael Moorcock (1968)

(Uncredited cover for the 1968 edition)

3.5/5 (Collated rating: Good)

New Worlds was one of the premier British SF magazines under the editorship of Michael Moorcock.  It features some of the most experimental works of the era and was important in the growth of the New Wave movement.  Many of the frequent contributors went on to make a name as premier SF authors (Ballard, Aldiss, etc).

This best of collection (1964-1967) is on the whole uneven.  Its big name authors—such as Keith Roberts and Moorcock himself under a pseudonym—disappoint.  The most evocative stories are by rather lesser known voices, Langdon Jones, Charles Platt, and Pamela Zoline.  Zoline’s brilliant entropic vision, “The Heat Death of the Universe” is not to be missed.  The second best work in the collection is (surprisingly) an early story by Barrington J. Bayley (as P. F. Woods) whose novels I have reviewed Continue reading “Book Review: Best SF Stories from New Worlds 3, ed. Michael Moorcock (1968)”

Updates: A New Classic SF Review Blog to add to your list

MPorcius, a frequent and well-read commentator on my site, has started transferring his numerous amazon reviews and writing new reviews of classic SF (a substantial portion is pre-1980s) to his blog.  Please visit him and comment on his posts!

queue rant: I’ve noticed a surprising lack of frequently updated classic SF blogs online.  Yes, many bloggers occasionally dabble in the distant era of SF glory or publish yet another review of the obligatory masterpieces because they appear on a some “best of” list (Dune, The Left Hand of Darkness, etc).  However, few are devoted to the period and make it a point to write reviews of books that very few people will ever actually read due to their obscurity i.e. blogs that don’t sell out by churning out reviews of new Tor releases (I have declined their offer) or endless 4/5 or 5/5 starred let’s pat each other on the back reviews of self-published (and generally awful) ebooks Continue reading “Updates: A New Classic SF Review Blog to add to your list”

Updates: An Incomplete List of Worthwhile Classic Science Fiction Blogs/Resources

I love the idea of a community of science fiction reviewers — so I’ve put together a list of a handful of book review blogs focused on classic/slightly more esoteric science fiction.  Obviously there are plenty of great blogs I’ve omitted that have reviews of new releases or only occasional vintage science fiction….  Or, blogs that refrain from reviews of vintage science fiction unless participating in certain reading challenges….

Please visit them, comment on their reviews, and browse through their back catalogues.

1] Speculiction….: An under visited /commented on blog with quality book reviews of classic science fiction — however, the reviewer, Jesse, is limited by the lack of older science fiction available to him in Poland.  I especially enjoyed his reviews of Ballard’s “beautifully strange enigma” that is The Crystal World (1966) and of course, my favorite science fiction novel of all time, John Brunner’s magisterial Stand on Zanzibar (1968).  An index of his reviews can be found here.  He also has a good mix of newer science fiction reviews as well.

2] The PorPor Books Blog: SF and Fantasy Books 1968-1988: I find this blog Continue reading “Updates: An Incomplete List of Worthwhile Classic Science Fiction Blogs/Resources”

Book Review: Collision Course (variant title: Collision with Chronos), Barrington J. Bayley, (1973)

3.75/5 (Good)

Barrington J. Bayley’s Collision Course (Collision with Chronos) (1973) is based on a fascinating hard sci-fi premise, the intersection of two time waves, one from the future heading into the past, and the “present”, heading Continue reading “Book Review: Collision Course (variant title: Collision with Chronos), Barrington J. Bayley, (1973)”

Book Review: The Fall of Chronopolis, Barrington J. Bayley (1974)

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4.25/5 (Very Good)

The Fall of Chronopolis (The Last and Final Days of the Chronotic Empire) by the relatively unknown British sci-fi author, Barrington J. Bayley, is one the best time travel books I’ve ever read. Other reviewers have suggested that this is Bayley’s best as well — I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve read The Garment Continue reading “Book Review: The Fall of Chronopolis, Barrington J. Bayley (1974)”

Book Review: Empire of Two Worlds, Barrington J. Bayley (1972)

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2/5 (Bad)

Killibol is a bleak, dark, gray rock planet in another galaxy populated with isolated termite-mound-like cities of its human colonists.  Because of the inability to grow food in Killibol’s soil, society is structured around protein producing tanks.  As a result of the rigid system of food production (i.e. power), life on Continue reading “Book Review: Empire of Two Worlds, Barrington J. Bayley (1972)”

Update: Science Fiction Books to be Reviewed/Read this summer

I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of science fiction books  from the classics to the not so classic.  I’ve decided to use this blog as motivation to read new books.  Hence, reviews of Dune (Herbert), Hyperion (Simmons), Stand on Zanzibar (Brunner) and other major works probably will not reviewed in the near future since I’ve read them already and until I run out of things to read I’m not inclined to read them Continue reading “Update: Science Fiction Books to be Reviewed/Read this summer”