Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Car Sinister, ed. Robert Silverberg, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Joseph D. Olander (1979)
From the back cover: “MAN AND HIS MACHINE. The car is man’s most personalized machine; for teenagers it is a rite of passage and a statement of freedom; for adults it is a reflection of success, taste, and hopes; and for an entire culture it is a great and industrious mode of transportation–driving, perhaps, on the road of destruction. And the automobile–thrilling, honking, speeding, nerve-shattering–haunts us with the dark possibility that when our age of motoring innocence is over, we may no longer be the masters… CAR SINISTER–a splendid, imaginative vision of what lies down the road for all of us.”
(Cover for the 1960 edition of Out of Silent Planet (1938), C. S. Lewis)
Art Sussman produced a remarkable corpus of SF and other pulp covers (mysteries, crime, etc). He could easily shift gears between Richard Powers-esque surrealism—although distinctly his own take—to covers that suited an Agatha Christie mystery (browse the range here). I would be wary comparing him to Powers until you skim through the latter’s late 50s early 60s art (definitely an enjoyable activity!). Although Powers is still far superior, both were part of the SF art movement increasingly experimented with surreal/metaphoric and experimental art (there are still spaceships lurking around the edges, and futuristic cities, and other pulpy moments).
There is a precision of vision with Sussman’s art—his cover for the 1960 edition of Out of Silent Planet (1938), C. S. Lewis places the astronauts in an outline of a vessel with strange hints at alien planets and experiences scattered gem-like in the distance. Sussman’s focus on the human form — often surrounded by surreal forms and humanlike membranes — showcases agony and despair. A great example (and my favorite of the bunch) pairs jagged black fields with a bloodied man, the 1960 Continue reading →
I’ve decided to return to my roots (no pun intended)! Although partially inspired by my 2014 post Human Transformations/Transfigurations (one duplicate cover), I’d been thinking about providing a gallery on the theme after reading “Ganthi” (1958), a disturbing Miriam Allen deFord short story about sentient tree-aliens and their mysterious caretaker Continue reading →
A person with the initials K.W.G ditched their entire SF collection at my local Half Price Books. So many books that the store made a new SF anthology section that did not exist a few months ago and the “vintage” SF books made up more than half the non-vintage SF section. I spent too much money. One of many future SF Acquisitions posts featuring books from the mysterious K. W. G….
A famous anthology important for showcasing UK authors in America! I’ve included the lengthy description of the collection by Ace and their position vis-à-vis New Wave SF. I find it humorous that the publisher has to defend their position!
An often praised 1950s post-apocalyptical novel by Wilson Tucker…. My 1969 edition was “rewritten” by the author–unfortunately, I have already started reading it (not sure how much it will tell me about its position in 1950s SF if it were rewritten in the 60s). Perhaps someone knows how much was changed? Admiral Ironbombs wrote a worthwhile review here.
Fred Saberhagen’s best known work.
And one of the few Frank Herbert novels I have not read…
Thoughts and comments are always welcome.
1. England Swings SF: Stories of Speculative Fiction, ed. Judith Merril (1968)
New books! At one point in time I had a copy of Frank Herbert’s great Destination: Void (1966). However, it wasn’t the original 1966 version but a rewrite from the late 70s. Generally I prefer reading the first published versions (unless they were serialized in magazines) so I was desperate to get my hands on a copy.
More Sladek! The Müller-Fokker Effect (1970) is his best known novel. SF aficionados of the 60s/70soften describe Saldek as one of the unsung comedic/satirical greats. I’ve read his first novel a while back, The Reproductive System (variant title: Mechasm) (1968) and had a lukewarm reaction. I will definitely pick up The Müller-Fokker Effect before the year is out.
Margaret St. Clair’s Sign of the Labrys (1963) has proved to be one of the worst books I’ve read this year. But, I will give her short stories, the the collection Change the Sky and Other Stories (1974). another chance.
I have long been a fan of Frank Herbert. In my youth I scarfed down Dune (1965) and all its sequels and cried (metaphorically) when his son Brian Herbert made a mockery of his vision. I even read the more dubious novels in Herbert’s canon: from The Green Brain (1966) to the co-written (with Bill-Ransom) novels of the Pandora sequence i.e. The Jesus Incident (1979), The Lazarus Effect (1983),and The Ascension Factor (1988). I have found many of his non-Dune novels worth reading (Destination: Void (1966) and The Dosadi Experiment (1977), etc).
By far most interested in William Tenn’s lone novel (he was predominately a short story writer) Of Men and Monsters (1968) — humans living in the walls, like mice, in the homes of the alien invaders of Earth. Geston’s novelette The Day Star (1972) should be a fast and fun read — hopefully despite the comment by previous owner of the book who inscribed “TEDIOUS” on the back cover with a ballpoint pen…
Some fun covers.
1. Hellstrom’s Hive, Frank Herbert (1972)
(R. Shore’s cover for the 1975 edition)
Excerpt from the inside flap of the first edition hardback: “In the summer of 1971, Doctor Nils Hellstrom appeared in his own film production, The Hellstrom Chronicle. The motion picture Continue reading →
As of late I’ve been returning to the extensive catalogue of Frank Herbert’s non-Dune novels on my shelf — The Eyes of Heisenberg (1966) was an engaging read with adept world building which created an intriguing/harrowing dystopic future. The God Makers (1972) lacks not only Herbert’s trademark dense prose (for example, constantly shifting perspective over the course of a conversation) but also features one of his more poorly conceived future worlds. This might be due to the fact that the novel was cobbled together from four short stories Continue reading →
Frank Herbert, known to most science fiction fans for his classic six book Dune sequence, published an extensive catalogue of other novels and short story collections. A trademark of so many works of Herbert’s corpus is his near immaculate world-building skills. As in Dune, the true extent of the world and all its hidden powerplays are slowly uncovered over the course of the narrative. Although the basic premise is standard for the genre, Herbert’s multi-faceted world combined with his ability to develop characters and the pure hysteria/sheer hopelessness that permeates every page makes Continue reading →