(Keith Roberts’ cover for New Worlds SF, October 1966, ed. Michael Moorcock)
In 1980, 3,000 copies of Charles Platt’s SF novel The Gas (1968)—in which, the “eponymous gas, accidentally released over England, works as an irresistible aphrodisiac […]” and, according to John Clute at SF encyclopedia, contains “sex material” in “transgressively pornographic terms”—were seized by UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions in effect preventing a UK distribution [article].
Platt’s first novel, Garbage World (serialized 1966), feels like The Gas‘s SF juvenile little brother i.e. without the transgressive porn but all the intent to shock a 14 year old boy, although it’s never more than “the warmth of the mud mingled with the warmth of their lovemaking” (95). So, what is this tidbit of effluvia all about? First, the silliest part of the novel—the often scatalogical chapter titles: “Garbage Party” (21), “The Hole” ( 57), “The Yellow Rain” (81), “The Defecated Village” (100), “The Great Purgative Continue reading Book Review: Garbage World, Charles Platt (serialized 1966)
I bought these a while back with Admiral Ironbombs at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, and Creased at the best used SF store I’ve encountered in the United States—Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, MI (if you are ever in Michigan it’s worth the trip). I’m glad I don’t live there else I would have no money. I also discovered that Admiral Ironbombs doesn’t actually buy books that are battered and tattered—I do. I guess he’s more of a “collector” than me. Haha.
Enjoy some nice covers!
Has anyone read the work of Evelyn E. Smith?
1. Best SF: 1970, ed. Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss (1971)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXIX (Platt + Smith + Anthologies)
(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)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1972 edition)
Charles Platt’s Planet of the Voles (1971) has a similar feel to one of the more atrocious episodes of Stargate SG-1. In place of all the horridly butchered Egyptian mythology is a weird pseudo-mythology about the inevitability of a battle between the sexes uneasily pasted on an archetypal military sci-fi plot. The work is filled with alien landscapes which look like Earth, soldier/scientists who can do anything and everything with anything anywhere, random bits of hokey technology appear as if by magic to facilitate the pedestrian plot (this black box will make alien birds carry us into the fortress!) etc.
Platt’s prose is lacking all ability to convey human emotions. After our Continue reading Book Review: Planet of the Voles, Charles Platt (1971)