Tag Archives: book reviews

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCIII (Holdstock + Attanasio + Conrad + Abe)

1. While browsing through various New Dimension anthologies I’ve procured recently (stay tuned for an all New Dimension post), I found a few names that I hadn’t heard of… I impulsively purchased A. A. Attanasio’s first novel–nominated for the 1982 Nebula Award.

2. I’ve read and reviewed a few short stories and novels by Robert Holdstock over the years. Eye Among the Blind (1976) had promise. And before I jump into his most famous works, I thought I’d explore more of his short stories first.

3. More Japanese SF in translation! This novel takes place in a vast underground hospital complex. COUNT ME IN!

4. Not sure what possessed me to grab this Curtis Books edition of an author those stories were rarely anthologized… oh wait, it included the words “overpopulation.” If you haven’t yet, check out my list of overpopulation-themed SF.

All the images are hi-res scans of my personal copies.

As always, thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.

Enjoy (and happy book buying)!

1. Radix, A. A. Attanasio (1981)

(Fred Marcellino’s cover for the 1981 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCIII (Holdstock + Attanasio + Conrad + Abe)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCII “Vintage SF Novels in Translation Edition” (Franke + Le Clézio + Abe + Jeschke)

Vintage SF novels in translation from Japan! Germany! Austria! France!

1. I’ve wanted Kōbō Abe’s SF novel Inter Ice Age 4 for a long while…. If you’re curious, check out Admiral.Ironbombs’ fantastic review. I’m a huge fan of Abe’s non-SF works–for example, The Woman in the Dunes (1962). And of course, all the Japanese film adaptations of his novels directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara…. (which Abe wrote the screenplays for): IMDB link.

Tangent: If you haven’t seen Teshigahara’s 1966 adaptation of Abe’s SF novel The Face of Another (1964), you must! At the very least, browse the stills….

2. My second novel by Franke…. and I’m a few pages in and absolutely intrigued–the plot blurb I include below should tantalize virtually any SF fan. Stay tuned for a review (although it might be in a few weeks).

3. Wolfgang Jeschke’s The Last Day of Creation certainly has the most outrageous reason for time travel ever: to find oil. Curious why Brian Aldiss endorsed this so forcefully!

4. A “nightmare shopping complex” in a futuristic city from a Nobel Price-winning French author? Count me in! For those suspicious of categorizing some of Le Clézio’s work as SF, consult his entry in the SF Encyclopedia. 

As always, comments and tangents are welcome.

Enjoy the covers!

~

1. Inter Ice Age 4, Kōbō Abe (1959, trans. E. Dale Saunders, 1970)

(Joseph del Gaudio’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCII “Vintage SF Novels in Translation Edition” (Franke + Le Clézio + Abe + Jeschke)

Book Review: A City in the North, Marta Randall (1976)


(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1976 edition)

3.75/5 (Good)

Marta Randall’s A City in the North (1976), is a work of anthropological SF that focuses on “authentic” relationships between its human and alien characters (see note). A commentary on the societal effects and cultural disconnects between natives, explorers, and colonizers, A City in the North refuses to provide easy answers. Although retreating into an occasional stock evil character to jolt the plot forward, on the whole Randall’s novel intrigues and provokes due to the underlying mysteries of native culture and ritual.  Continue reading Book Review: A City in the North, Marta Randall (1976)

Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 1/21/19 — Larry Niven’s The Integral Trees (1984)

Monday Maps and Diagrams 1/21/19

Larry Niven’s output often revolves around “hard” (and often scientifically impossible–*cough* Ringworld) SF premises. The Integral Trees (serialized 1983) is no different. The action in this Nebula and Hugo Award-nominated novel takes place within a “gas torus, a ring of air around a neutron star.” In my Larry Niven period (late teens) I’m convinced I read this one — and possibly its sequel The Smoke Ring (1987), but I remember little. Same thing goes for Ringworld, which, other than its basic premise, was incredibly bland….

As with last week’s installment, Shelly Shapiro created the interior diagram.

The Diagram (click to enlarge):

Continue reading Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 1/21/19 — Larry Niven’s The Integral Trees (1984)

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)

Book Review: Freezing Down, Anders Bodelsen (1969, trans. 1971)


(Cloud Studio’s cover for the 1971 edition)

4.5/5 (Very Good)

Anders Bodelsen’s Freezing Down (1969, trans. 1971) is a harrowing collision of SF tropes and the emotional landscape of Scandinavian noir. Bodelsen, “primarily associated with 1960s New-Realism in Danish literature,” might be best known to English-speaking audiences for writing the source material for the 1978 heist film The Silent Partner, starring Christopher Plummer and Elliott Gould.

Freezing Down, Bodelsen’s lone SF work, is an icy and complex (despite its brief length) speculation on the promise of immortality.  Continue reading Book Review: Freezing Down, Anders Bodelsen (1969, trans. 1971)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CC “Foreign Vintage SF Edition” (Dutch SF Anthology + World SF Anthology + Non-English Language European SF Anthology + and a Czech Collection)

(Gianni Benvenuti’s back cover art detail for the 1978 edition of View from Another Shore (1973), ed. Franz Rottensteiner)

A Vintage Foreign SF Acquisitions Post!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve acquired three anthologies that gather vintage SF in translation from Japan to Denmark. I’ve also included in this post a single author collection of Czech 50s/60s science fiction. In addition to my initial thoughts, I’ve noted the non-English language countries covered in each volume. This is an incredibly exciting group of books as I know little to nothing about the individual authors and their works and can’t wait to explore….

1. Fantastic ruined city cover with exploring spaceman…. At first glance, this collection contains a substantial number of fantasy stories–I wish I knew which ones were SF!

Countries: Denmark and Belgium (specifically, the Dutch-speaking regions).

2. Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology deliberately gathers stories from a range of countries (many are English-speaking) including a few famous English-speaking authors (Brian W. Aldiss, Michael Moorcock, Cherry Wilder, John Sladek, etc.). In a humorous touch, he includes one of his own stories under the name Adam Barnett-Foster from the country of San Serriffe. As I knew immediately that this wasn’t a real country, a quick Wikipedia search reveals it was a fictional island nation created by Britain’s Guardian for April Fools’ Day 1977!

(Real) Countries: Romania, West Germany, France, USSR, The Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Poland.

3. Entirely non-English language European SF in translation… I enjoyed the humorous cover.

Countries: Poland, France, Denmark, West Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Italy, USSR.

4. One of the few non-Soviet single-language vintage SF collections I’ve encountered–Josef Nesvadba, Czechoslovakia (modern day Czech Republic). Of the four included in the collection, Nesvadba’s collection beckons most seductively.

All scans are of my personal copies (click to enlarge). Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CC “Foreign Vintage SF Edition” (Dutch SF Anthology + World SF Anthology + Non-English Language European SF Anthology + and a Czech Collection)