Updates: Recent SF Purchases No. CCXCVI (Harry Harrison, Carole Nelson Douglas, Terry Bisson, Star Anthology)

Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Planet of the Damned, Harry Harrison (serialized 1961)

From the back cover: “Brion Brandd of the Galactic CRF had a problem. It was the planet Dis. Brion’s assignment was to salvage it.

Dis was a harsh, inhospitable, dangerous place and the Disans made it worse. They might have been a human once–but they were something else now.

The Disans had only one desire–kill! Kill everything, themselves, their planet, the universe if they could–


Initial Thoughts: Smells like a variation of Harrison’s Deathworld (1960), which I never managed to review, from a year earlier. Which isn’t a good sign… Planet of the Damned was a finalist for the 1962 Hugo for Best Novel. It lost to Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (1961).

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Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. CXXV (M. John Harrison + Coney 3x + Anthology + Cooper)

M. John Harrison’s collection The Machine in Shaft Tent (1975) contains one of the more humorous inside flap advertisements I have encountered:


Don’t worry, I certainly intend to “see tomorrow today!”  I’ll be disappointed if I can’t!

The others are a strange blend…  From Edmund Cooper’s apparently anti-Free Love/60s culture Kronk (1970) to a delightful collection of another one of my favorite years of SF.

Also, I seldom accept advanced reader copies due to my limited time/limited interest in newer SF/and incredible mental block when it comes to, how shall I say it, outside forces guiding my central hobby which tends to take me in a variety of directions solely on whim.  But, Gollancz was nice enough to send me their new omnibus collection of 1970s Michael G. Coney novels (amazon link: US, UK).  Not only did I enjoy Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975) but I recently reviewed and loved Coney’s bizarre and original Friends Come in Boxes (1973).  With two out of two successes it’s hardly like I wouldn’t buy his work on sight anyway (another one of my requirements when accepting AVCs)….  I will review two or three of the novels in the omnibus one at a time over the next few months.


1. The Machine in Shaft Ten, M. John Harrison (1975)


(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. CXXII (Vance + Silverberg + Cooper + Zelazny)

Part I of II. Thankful to have a fiancé who takes my massive, alphabetized, master list of used SF to acquire and wades through the dusty shelves of used book stores (while on a trip home to visit her family)…  Here are some gems.  More Zelazny (short story collection!), another Silverberg collection (he holds the crown for author most reviewed on Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations), an unknown quantity by Cooper, and the final novel I needed to round out the Alastor Cluster “trilogy” by Jack Vance.

Thoughts on the purchases?  Have you read any of them?

1. The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories, Roger Zelazny (1971)

(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: Seed of Light, Edmund Cooper (1959)

(Uncredited cover for the 1959 edition — I suspect it might be David Davies)

3.25/5 (Average)

Edmund Cooper’s Seed of Light (1959) is less of a traditional narrative of the voyage of a generation ship as are its fellow generation ship novels of the 40s/50s. The best examples are Brian Aldiss’ Non-Stop (1958) and Robert Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky (1941).  Seed of Light is more like a piece of pseudo-history interlaced with fragments of narrative of varying effectiveness.  The work is best described as a thematically-linked series of novellas tracking the future development of man in broad strokes à la Brian Aldiss’ Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1960).  Unfortunately, Cooper’s original splicing of the generation ship theme onto a Future History template (made popular but Olaf Stapleton and Isaac Asimov among others) is extremely uneven.  Some portions are involving while others are plagued by laborious epoch-spanning pseudo-historical lectures.

Because each part is a separate novella (the last two are more closely Continue reading