2022 was the single best year in the history of my site for visits and unique viewers!
As I mention year after year, I find reading and writing for the site—and participating in all the SF discussions generated over the year—a necessary and greatly appreciated salve. Whether you are a lurker, occasional visitor, or a regular commenter, thank you for your continued support.
Continuing a trend from 2021, I read only a handful of novels this year. Instead, I devoted my obsessive attention to various science short story review initiatives (listed below), anthologies, and histories of the science fiction genre. Without further ado, here are my favorite novels and short stories I read in 2022 with bonus categories. Descriptions are derived from my linked reviews.
My Top 5 Science Fiction Novels of 2022 (click titles for my full review)
1. Vonda N. McIntyre’s Dreamsnake(1978), 4.75/5 (Near Masterpiece): Won the 1979 Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Award for Best Novel. Snake journeys across the post-apocalyptic wastes of a future Earth with three serpents healing the sick and caring for the dying. She is a member of the healers, who adopt orphans and rescue the oppressed and train them how to use the serpents. Mist and Sand are genetically modified vipers of terrestrial origin. But Grass comes from another alien world. Snake uses Mist and Sand’s venom to create vaccines, treat diseases, and cure tumors. Grass, the rare dreamsnake, with its alien DNA is the most important of them all–it provides therapeutic pleasure and dreams that facilitate conquering one’s fear and healing in the ill. In Snake’s voyages, she encounters prejudice and violence. A joyous sense of sexual freedom permeates the proceedings. A powerful and different take on a post-apocalyptic worldscape in every possible way.
This is the 15th post in my series of vintage generation ship short fiction reviews. Today I have an unusual take on the subgenre–a young scavenger couple encounter a mysterious blip on their radar!
As a reminder for anyone stopping by, all of the stories I’ll review in the series are available online via the link below in the review.
You are welcome to read and discuss along with me as I explore humanity’s visions of generational voyage. And thanks go out to all who have joined already. I also have compiled an extensive index of generation ship SF if you wish to track down my earlier reviews on the topic and any that you might want to read on your own.
Next Up: Julian May’s “Star of Wonder” in Thrilling Wonder Stories, ed. Samuel Mines (February 1953). You can read it online here.
Fred Saberhagen’s “The Long Way Home” first appeared in the June 1961 issue of Galaxy Magazine, ed. H. L. Gold. You can read it online here.
Among the Asteroids out Near Pluto
Marty and Laura–recently married and very much in love–form the crew of the Clementine, a robotic mining, ore refining, and hauling vessel. They spend their isolated existence identifying prospective asteroids out near Pluto. Laura, on her very first space voyage, remains his liaison in the control room when Marty scoots off in his space bike to investigate a blip on the radar. If it’s a wrecked hull of “a ship dead for decade, or a century, or a thousand years” if theirs by right of salvage if they could tow it into a port (181). The robotic librarian indicates that no such vessel has ever existed! Marty’s investigation reveals that the thirty-mile long hull is part of a two-thousand-year-old larger vessel that has suffered a possibly cataclysmic disaster.
1. I have yet to read any of J. G. Ballard’s late 70s and early 80s short fiction. Myths of the Near Future (1982) seems to contain some fascinating gems. I’ve previously reviewed two collections of his 50s and 60s fiction on the site—both are highly recommended!
2. My exploration of 60s/70s SF takes me to an another author I’ve only read about– Fred Saberhagen. I enjoy post-apocalyptical landscapes and balkanized and decayed far future societies–but, is there anything original in this take on the theme?
3. I’m proud owner (*cough*) of one of the worst vintage covers ever created. The premise was the sole reason I snatched up Kilworth’s The Night of Kadar (1978)—malfunctions create unusual growth in the seeded human colonists on an alien planet.
4. A fix-up novel (with substantial rewritten and added material) from Richard A. Lupoff…. not an author I’m too familiar with, but this one is endorsed by Harlan Ellison and definitely screams 70s!
Below are a group of uncredited covers whose artists I have not been able to firmly identify. Some were brought to my attention by Adam who runs a collectible SF store (link). I’d love to hear your input — make sure to read the guidelines.
Guidelines: If you think a cover is the work of a particular artist, please please please provide some evidence for your claim: for example, a comparison cover, a citation from a book/resource, or, perhaps a link to a canvas or artist webpage. This makes identifying the artist more authoritative than a vague claim and readers can follow along more easily. If you think you’ve identified the author, I recommend peeking at their other credited covers at The Internet Speculative Fiction Database.
Pocket Books was notoriously bad at citing their artists. If we are able to identify a few of those below (Margaret and I and Journey), we might be able to nail down tens more covers missing citations in their catalogue.
The three covers below for Fred Saberhagen’s Empire in the East sequence are clearly by the same artist—the style seems so familiar! And, the 1974 Signet edition of Cage a Man (1973), F. M. Busby is credited as FMA only. I wonder if it’s possible to identify who FMA was.
In some cases, I have a pretty good idea who the artist might be but don’t have enough evidence…. I am convinced that Stanislaw Fernandes created the 1974 Signet edition of New Dimensions IV (1974) , ed. Robert Silverberg. Although, it would be very early in his career and love to have some firm evidence.
I look forward to your ideas!
EDIT: I’ve gone ahead and indicated which ones have been solved by inserting the artist into the citation.
For more Adventures in SF Cover Art consult the INDEX
(Bob Haberfield’s cover for the 1971 Tandem edition of The Man in the Maze (1968), Robert Silverberg) 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)