Tag Archives: experimental

[Short] Diaristic Fragments on Czech Experimental Film: The Ear (1970), dir. Karel Kachyna

8/10 (Very Good)

On the night of 20-21st of August 1968, the Warsaw Pact countries (led by the USSR) invaded Czechoslovakia ending the period of liberalization known as Prague Spring. And with it, the Czech New Wave film movement “ended.” Regardless, Karel Kachyna filmed The Ear (1970), a paranoid psychological thriller redolent with New Wave stylings, that brandishes a proverbial middle finger in the direction of the Communist Party. Unsurprisingly, the film was promptly banned until 1989, and Kachyna Continue reading [Short] Diaristic Fragments on Czech Experimental Film: The Ear (1970), dir. Karel Kachyna

Book Review: The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin (1972)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1976 edition)

4.25/5 (Very Good)

Won the 1973 Hugo for Best Novella. Nominated for the 1973 Nebula for Best Novella.

In November 1969, word of the My Lai Massacre (March 16, 1968), where American soldiers killed (and raped and mutilated) between 347-504 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians, reached American newspapers. Ronald L. Haeberle’s iconic (and horrifying) photograph of massacred children and adults–superimposed with, “Q. And babies? A. and babies,” the chilling lines from NBC’s interview with massacre participant Paul Meadlo–was transformed into the “most successful poster” opposing the Vietnam War by the Art Workers Coalition. Ursula K.  Le Guin brilliantly channels this general anti-war anger, transposed to an alien local with colonizing humans as villains, in The Word for World is Forest (1972). Continue reading Book Review: The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin (1972)

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)

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)

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)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Yves Tanguy and Penguin SF Cover Art


(Yves Tanguy’s cover for the 1963 edition of Mission of Gravity (1954), Hal Clement)

On the birthday of French-American surrealist Yves Tanguy (1900-1955) (January 5th), I always take a minute to browse his art online. I faintly recalled seeing his art on various 1960s Penguin edition covers…. And lo and behold, J. G. Ballard’s  New Wave masterpiece The Drowned World (1962) and Hal Clement’s pioneering work of hard SF, Mission of Gravity (1954) were both graced with Tanguy’s canvases. Penguin regularly used the work of famous mainstream artists–for example, Max Ernst (I identified ten covers). China Miéville’s novella “The Last Days of New Paris” (2018) also uses a Tanguy/Lamba/Breton exquisite corpse collage (I’m focusing primarily on earlier covers in this post).   Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Yves Tanguy and Penguin SF Cover Art

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCIX (Ursula K. Le Guin + Cordwainer Smith + M. P. Shiel + John Varley)

1. Ursula K. Le Guin’s novella, The Word for World is Forest, first appeared in Harlan Ellison’s Again, Dangerous Visions (1972) anthology before a stand-alone publication. I seem to remember reading it as a kid…. But…. the memories are vague.

2. Cordwainer Smith and I have never really seen eye to eye (I wanted to rhyme). I’m all for acquiring more of his collections just in case!

3. From Wikipedia:  “H. G. Wells lauded [M. P. Shiel’s] The Purple Cloud as ‘brilliant’ and H. P. Lovecraft later praised the novel as exemplary weird fiction, ‘delivered with a skill and artistry falling little short of actual majesty.'”

The Richard Powers cover is one of his best of the 60s.

4. John Varley, another author whom I’ve yet to read despite owning numerous of his collections and novels…. Millennium (1983) seems, well, suspicious? Time travel, airplanes, dystopic futures, love affairs across time. We shall see!

…and it was turned into a film in 1989.

Note: the images are hi-res scans. Click to enlarge.

As always, comments and tangents are welcome!

Enjoy.

1. The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin (anthology publication 1972) (MY REVIEW)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1976 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCIX (Ursula K. Le Guin + Cordwainer Smith + M. P. Shiel + John Varley)