Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXVII (Simak, Clement, Bradley, White)

I just came back from more than a month in Paris where I was rather sci-fi deprived so I headed immediately (well, not literally) to the local used bookstore.  A nice collection of novels from some of the genre’s greats — Hal Clement, James White, Clifford D. Simak, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I’ve not read any of Bradley’s novels and I’ve heard that Darkover Landfall (1972) is probably the place to start.

And I’ve enjoyed James White’s work so far.  Clement isn’t exactly my cup of tea but it might be good to read another one of his novels before I come to a conclusion.

And some fun Paul Lehr covers…

1. Lifeboat (variant title: Inferno), James White (1972)

(John Berkey’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXVI (Anderson + Simak + Ballard)

Gifts!  From my fiancé!

Four more wonderful books…  I can’t wait to read J. G. Ballard’s The Burning World (1964) and Poul Anderson’s short story collection Time and Stars (1964)…  Ballard is a genius and Anderson is a solid writer who always produced fun plot-driven works (I suspect his Hugo nominated There Will Be Time (1973) will be similar).  Also, despite my general frustration with Clifford D. Simak’s ouvre, I’m intrigued by Why Call Them Back From Heaven? (1967)….

Enjoy the two Powers covers!

1. The Burning World, J. G. Ballard (1964)


(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1964 first edition) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXIII (Simak + Tenn + Clement + Frayn)

A new bookstore in my hometown!  Great results! Dirt cheap (between 1-2 $ a book)!  Happy me!

I finally have a copy of Hal Clement’s hard science fiction masterpiece, Mission of Gravity (1953)…  And a collection of William Tenn’s short stories with a downright gorgeous Powers cover — Tenn is supposedly up there with Sheckley in the satirical pantheon of the 50s… Among others…

Has anyone read Michael Frayn’s A Very Private Live (1968)?  I’ve never heard of it before but the Lehr cover was too amazing to pass up…

1. The Human Angle, William Tenn (1956) (MY REVIEW)


(Robert Powers’ cover for the 1956 edition)

From the inside flap: “WIT: an extra-terrestrial sells pornographic literature Continue reading

Book Review: A Choice of Gods, Clifford D. Simak (1971)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1973 edition)

3.25/5 (Average)

Nominated for the 1972 Hugo Award for Best Novel

Clifford D. Simak’s A Choice of Gods (1971) is a flawed but intriguing novel.  Simak’s renowned for his original anti-technology pastoral visions.  His science fiction (replete with unusual aliens) is more likely to intersect our future world in the environs of the rural farm, the depopulated/gutted earth covered with forests or an isolated Native American tribe than an urban dystopia, trans-galactic spaceship, or distant planet.  The more famous examples are his Hugo winning Way Station (1963), deserving of at least some of the effuse praise it receives, and City (1952), rightly considered a classic.

Simak’s favorite themes are on show in A Choice of Gods including what happens to robots, whom Simak portrays as almost human but with a programmed need to Continue reading