Tag Archives: ben bova

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXXX (Ben Bova, Suzette Haden Elgin, Louis Trimble, Josephine Saxton, Orbit Anthology)

1. Ben Bova is not a site favorite…. But I’m willing to give a handful of his better known novels a shot. Here is the first (in the internal chronology) of the Kinsman sequence. Low hopes.

If you want to know why I have low hopes check out these three reviews:

2. Side 1 of an Ace Double. Suzette Haden Elgin’s The Communipaths is the first in her Coyote Jones sequence. I had mixed views on the third volume: At the Seventh Level (1972).

3. Side 2 of an Ace Double. Back in 2012 I reviewed Louis Trimble’s intriguing SF allegorical city tale The City Machine (1972). It was a competent work that, in the hands of a more polished writer, could have been so much more. Not sure what to expect from this one…. the zany nature of the blurb is off-putting.

4. Josephine Saxton’s The Hieros Gamos of Sam and An Smith (1969) still haunts me. I need to read more of her short fiction.

5. And finally, my Orbit anthology series collection grows!

Previous reviews:

Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

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1. Kinsman, Ben Bova (1979)

(Uncredited cover for the 1981 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXXX (Ben Bova, Suzette Haden Elgin, Louis Trimble, Josephine Saxton, Orbit Anthology)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCI (Le Guin + Van Herck + Leinster + High + Analog Anthology)

1. I’ve acquired quite a few vintage SF novels and short story collections in translation over the last few weeks–here’s one from Paul Van Herck, a Belgian author who wrote in Dutch. Not the cheapest DAW books edition I’ve encountered….

2. I always want more Le Guin…. Here, a series of linked short stories set in a fantasy world.

3. This Analog Annual anthology contains the only publication of P. J. Plauger’s novel Fighting Madness. Plauger won the John Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer before fading from the scene.

4. I love vintage SF. I do not love Ace Doubles. Yes, they published a few PKD novels that are worth reading, but, on the whole, I find their quality quite low. This was a gift from a family friend and one of the very few Ace Doubles I’ve been looking for — mostly due to Philip E. High’s city-themed novel.

As always, enjoy the covers! (they are hi-res scans of my personal copies — click for larger image)

Are any other the works worth reading? Let me know in the comments!

EDIT: I was too harsh on my Ace Doubles comment. I realized, and mentioned in the post and comments below, that they also published early PKD, Samuel Delany, and Barry N. Malzberg novels and short story collections, etc. Due to my low tolerance of pulp, I still find the vast majority of them uninteresting.

1. Where Were You Last Pluterday?, Paul Van Herck (1968, trans. 1973)

(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCI (Le Guin + Van Herck + Leinster + High + Analog Anthology)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXVII (Piercy + Gotschalk + Bax + anthology edited by Haldeman)

1) Futuristic city? Yes! Is more needed? Okay, okay, I concede, more is needed. I hope Gotschalk’s novel with its fantastic Dean Ellis cover delivers. Among the least known of the Ace Science Fiction Special series…

Check out my older reviews of J. G. Ballard’s “Billennium” (1961)Future City, ed. Roger Elwood (1973), and The World Inside, Robert Silverberg (1971) for more SF on this theme of futuristic cities. If you delve through the archives you’ll find many more examples.

2) Ballard blurbs Martin Bax’s novel as “…the most exciting, stimulating and brilliantly conceived book I have read since Burroughs’ novels.” Hyperbole aside, the two reviews (here and here) I’ve read of Bax’s sole novel puts this at the top of my “to read” pile.

I have cheated a bit by including the cover for the first New Directions edition rather than the later Picador edition I own due to the cover quality.

3) Three acquisitions posts ago (here) I mentioned that the premise of Marge Piercy’s Dance the Eagle to Sleep (1970) did not inspire me to read it anytime soon. Thankfully I found a copy of what many consider her masterpiece Woman at the Edge of Time (1976) cheap at the local used book store.

4) I am not sure why I picked this collection up—I’ve heard good things about Joe Haldeman’s introduction which draws on his experience in the Vietnam War. As Isaac Asimov, Mack Reynolds, etc are not normally authors who intrigue me, I might do something I rarely do and read and review Effinger’s story only (and maybe Poul Anderson’s as he’s better in short form)…

As always thoughts and comments are welcome.

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1. Growing up in Tier 3000, Felix C. Gotschalk (1976)

(Dean Ellis’ gorgeous cover for the 1976 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXVII (Piercy + Gotschalk + Bax + anthology edited by Haldeman)

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Cosmic Coral and Eye Trees: The SF Art of H. Lawrence Hoffman

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(Cover for the 1968 edition of Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg)

My pseudo-series exploring the more esoteric reaches of SF art continues.  Previous posts include The Brothers Quay and SF Covers, The 1960s Covers of Emanuel Schongut, and A Spotlight on the SF Covers of David McCall Johnston.  You all read my site because of my more esoteric dalliances, right? Hah.

H. Lawrence Hoffman (b. 1911-1977) [wikipedia article]  illustrated a vast range of covers for the major presses such as Popular Library—his mystery novel covers, including those by Dashiell Hammett, are particularly evocative [here is a substantial gallery displaying the range of his non-SF covers].

His use of coral and figures inspired by Central American Art (see his cover for The Gate of Worlds (1967), Robert Silverberg) demonstrate his more experimental moments.  His coral covers are stunning— Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg and A Century of Science Fiction (1962), ed. Damon Knight.  And the 1973 edition of Alien Art by Gordon R. Dickson scratches a strange artistic itch…

What are your Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Cosmic Coral and Eye Trees: The SF Art of H. Lawrence Hoffman

Book Review: As on a Darkling Plain, Ben Bova (1972)

(Chris Moore’s cover for the 1981 edition)

2.75/5 (Average)

Unfortunate title aside (“darkling” sound like a small evil creature in a work of fantasy), Ben Bova’s As on a Darkling Plain (1972) is a middling fix-up novel in every respect.  It is worth noting that Chapters 5 (‘The Jupiter Mission’) and 6 (‘The Sirius Mission’), which comprise a great majority of the novel, appeared earlier in If February 1970 and Galaxy January 1969 as “Pressure Vessel” and “Foeman, Where Do You Flee?” respectively.  I’m not sure how much was expanded or subtracted.  If anyone knows please leave a comment — I find that the act of revising earlier work interesting in itself.

Bova’s novel inspired my recent cover art post on Future Archeology and Mysterious Artifacts.  The premise is a standard one: A mysterious artifact Continue reading Book Review: As on a Darkling Plain, Ben Bova (1972)

Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. I

Oh the joys of amazon gift cards… And perusing dusty corners of local bookstores.

Here are my latest acquisitions.

1. Robert Silverberg’s World Inside (1971) (MY REVIEW HERE)

I’ve always enjoyed semi-dystopic works about the social ramifications of overpopulation (John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar is my all time favorite sci-fi novel).  I wonder if Silverberg was inspired by Brunner’s work.  I’ve yet to read a Silverberg novel and I’ve read that this is a pretty good effort.  So, those factors contributed to my purchase.

2. Doris Piserchia’s Continue reading Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. I

Book Review: The Dueling Machine, Ben Bova (1969)

https://i0.wp.com/img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/c2/c13761.jpg

2/5 (Bad)

This novel feels like two separate stories connected by the presence of the dueling machine. The story when the dueling machine is a dueling machine and the story when the Bova decides that the dueling machine is also teleportation device and a therapy device and only occasionally used for duels. The first part of the novel Continue reading Book Review: The Dueling Machine, Ben Bova (1969)