Tag Archives: cold war

Book Review: Dark Dominion, David Duncan (1954)

Screen shot 2012-12-22 at 9.06.53 PM(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1954 edition)

2.5/5 (Bad)

David Duncan, most famous for writing the screenplay to George Pal’s film The Time Machine (1960), produced a handful of genre and non-genre novels in the 1950s.  Bluntly put, the Dark Dominion (1954) was one of the more disappointing novels I’ve read this year.  It is worthwhile for one thing alone, Richard Powers’ gorgeous cover.  Duncan’s novel is characterized by an incredibly painful strain of melodrama even for the 50s, downright preposterous science Continue reading Book Review: Dark Dominion, David Duncan (1954)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVI (Malzberg + Wells + Gunn +Pohl)

A nice (varied) selection of finds….

I’ve continued to be on the lookout for Malzberg’s novels and, due to the proliferation of comments by my readers about what is his best, I’ve acquiesced and picked up a copy of his acknowledged masterpiece, Beyond Apollo (1972).  I suspect it will be as good as In The Enclosure (1973).

If there is any area (besides sci-fi from the 21st century) that I haven’t read a good portion of the classics, it’s works from around the turn of the century.  I have read a large swathe of Verne’s works and from beginning of the 20th century  all of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter series — but, only a few of H. G. Wells’ oeuvre (The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine).  So, when I came across a 60s edition of The First Men in the Moon (1901) with a nostalgic looking cover I snatched it up!

The two short story collections are unknown commodities: Frederick Pohl’s In The Problem Pit (1976) and James Gunn’s Station in Space (1958).  I’ve never heard of Gunn and sort of dislike what I’ve read of Pohl so far.  Regardless, both works have intriguing covers!

Enjoy!

1. Beyond Apollo, Barry Malzberg (1972)

(Don Maitz’ cover for Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVI (Malzberg + Wells + Gunn +Pohl)

Book Review: Beyond the Sealed World, Rena Vale (1965*)

(Uncredited cover for the 1965 edition)

2/5 (Bad)

*Concerning the publication date: Rena Vale’s Beyond the Sealed World was written in the 50s and sold to Shasta press.  However, the press went bankrupt and the novel remained unpublished until 1965.  No wonder it took forever for another press to pick it up….

Before Rena Vale became a science fiction author she was a secretary for the California State Assembly Committee on Un-American activities.  In an affidavit she detailed her own experiences as a member of the Communist party and implicated famous individuals she worked with including Lucille Belle (of I Love Lucy fame), novelist John Steinbeck, actress Gale Sodergaard, and various others!  Wonderful.

I’m not going to lie but this piqued Continue reading Book Review: Beyond the Sealed World, Rena Vale (1965*)

Update: Another Wonderful Sci-fi Review Blog

   

Michael (2theD), one of my friends whose reviews on Amazon I’ve been compulsively reading, has just started a review blog (on blogspot) called the Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature.

(the titles above are a small sample of the works Continue reading Update: Another Wonderful Sci-fi Review Blog

Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. VIII

My month of infrequent posts is over — I’ve returned to Austin after a month long sojourn across Colorado, New Mexico, France and Italy….  So, what do I do in my jet lagged state?  Head to the Half Price Books.  Not the best haul this time but a few potentially interesting reads.

1. Witch World (1963), Andre Norton

I’ve yet to read any of Andre Norton’s immense number of novels.  Not knowing exactly where to start I picked up what is generally considered among her best works — Witch World (1963).  It was nominated for the 1964 Hugo award for Best novel and often places in best Fantasy/Sci-fi lists.  And the cover is Continue reading Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. VIII

Book Review: The Quality of Mercy, D. G. Compton (1965)

4/5 (Good)

D. G. Compton’s first science fiction novel, The Quality of Mercy (1965), is a forgotten work which deserves to be read along with the rest of his canon.  I’ve found Compton’s lesser known works to be on the whole quite solid — with the dismal The Missionaries (1972) the lone exception so far.  Both Synthajoy (1968) and The Steel Crocodile (1970) are among my top reads of this year.  I’m keeping his acknowledged masterpiece Continue reading Book Review: The Quality of Mercy, D. G. Compton (1965)

Update: Sci-fi about the social ramifications of overpopulation, a call for suggestions

    

I need reading suggestions.

After reading John Brunner’s Hugo winning masterpiece Stand on Zanzibar (1968) a few years back I became entranced by science fiction exploring social themes (intelligently) extrapolated from a future Earth condition of extreme overpopulation.  In the recent months I’ve read and reviewed a glut of similarly themed works of uneven quality.  Many of these works were inspired by Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s non-fiction The Population Bomb (1968) which warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of overpopulation. Continue reading Update: Sci-fi about the social ramifications of overpopulation, a call for suggestions