(From the uncredited cover for the 1975 edition of The Invincible (1964), Stanislaw Lem)
I’ve updated the website template (and purchased the domain name) and would like to know if it is easy to navigate (especially on mobile devices). Obviously I can’t please everyone but hope that it is more streamlined and 2017 than before.
I started Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations way back in 2010. My first post bashed John Brunner’s Born Under Mars (1967) in vaguely substantive terms (sometimes I think about deleting my earliest reviews). Since then I have written some 300 odd review reviews, 114 cover art posts, and various film reviews, indices, lists, guest post series, an interview, etc. With all of this in mind, I thought I’d give you a sense of what is on the horizon.
Reminder: If you’re the emailing rather than commenting sort I can be reached at ciceroplatobooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
The Three Major Projects
1) I’m in the process of compiling a resource page for Barry N. Malzberg that would include links to reviews/interviews/academic articles from around the web. Let me know if there are any links you would like me to include. Even if you aren’t a Barry N. Malzberg fan, if you happen to come across in your SF perambulations any relevant information I’d be very appreciative if you’d send them my way.
2) This will appeal to far more readers. Over the last few years I’ve been slowly working my way towards a “My Favorite 1970s SF Novels List.” Continue reading “Updates: New Website Look and New Projects (Towards a Favorite SF Novels of the 1970s List, Barry N. Malzberg Resource, Guest Post Series Ideas)”
Little pleases me more than reading the fascinating cross-section of the genre presented by anthologies from my favorite era of SF (1960s/70s). After the success that was World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (variant title: World’s Best Science Fiction: Third Series) (1967), ed. Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr, I decided to browse my “to post” pile of recent acquisitions and share a handful with you all. As is often the case, the collections are peppered with stories I’ve already read—I’ve linked the relevant reviews.
Filled with authors I haven’t read yet—Stephen Tall, Robin Scott, Roderick Thorp, Jean Cox, Christopher Finch, etc.
…and of course, many of my favorites including Gene Wolfe, Ursula Le Guin, Barry N. Malzberg, and Kate Wilhelm (among many many others).
Scans are from my collection.
1. The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972)
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXII (The Anthology Edition) (Best SF Stories from New Worlds 5, Orbit 6, Alpha 3, Best SF 1972)”
1) Brian M. Stableford has not faired particularly well on this site: I’ve reviewed The Florians (1976) and Journey to the Center (1982) (I apologize in advance for the rather slight reviews—they are years old). But I found a copy of the second volume of The Daedalus Mission series in a clearance bin, and depending on my mood, I have a soft spot for conflict-less “solve the biological mission” Star Trek-type SF. But The Florians (1976) was forgettable…
Jesse reviewed Stableford’s Man in a Cage (1975) and calls it an intelligent psychological exploration. I am more likely to read my copy before Critical Threshold (1977). Check out his review if you are interested in Stableford’s most mature work!
2) Emma Tennant’s The Crack (variant title: The Time of the Crack) (1973) was a compelling satire of the cozy apocalypse…. And I cannot resist snagging a copy of Hotel De Dream (1976), where residents of a seedy hotel start dreaming each other’s dreams.
3) A lesser known novel by Gene Wolfe… I don’t know when I’m going to get to his novel length work as I’m perfectly content exploring his short fiction in various anthologies at the present: “The Changeling” (1968), “Silhouette” (1975), “Sonya, Crane Wessleman, and Kittee” (1970), etc.
4) I now own one of the worst SF covers of all time! I purchased Pilgrimage (1981), Drew Mendelson’s only SF novel, due to SF Encyclopedia’s positive assessment and the fact I’m a sucker for futuristic cities, even if they’re heavily indebted to Christopher Priest’s Inverted World (1974): “[it] grippingly presents a vision of a bleak Ruined Earth environment, long abandoned by most humans except for those who inhabit the planet’s one remaining artefact, a vast City that moves slowly across the devastated land.” For more on the novel consult the entry here.
But the cover… Cringe!
As always thoughts/comments are welcome!
1. Critical Threshold, Brian M. Stableford (1977)
(Douglas Beekman’s cover for the 1977 edition) Continue reading “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXVI (Wolfe + Mendelson + Stableford + Tennant)”
Dear readers, thank you all profusely for your comments, words of thanks, and emails over the year. It is my overarching goal to inspire you all to read more SF from the 50s-70s, dust off the boxes of your parents’ books in some forgotten closet, browse the shelves at your local used book store (or favorite online store), reflect on the often fascinating cover art…
2016 was not the most productive reading/reviewing year as my PhD dissertation defense date rapidly approaches. For the purposes of maintaining my sanity, reading and writing about SF remains my primary relaxation hobby—surprising perhaps as I read a lot of depressing SF that wouldn’t be “relaxing” for most people. According to Megan at From Couch to Moon I like my fiction “moody, broody, meta, and twisted.”
And other than a few satires here and there, my favorite SF reads of 2016 fit firmly within Megan’s descriptors.
- The Affirmation, Christopher Priest (1981)
- The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (variant title: The War of Dreams), Angela Carter (1972). Review forthcoming
- The Dream Millennium, James White (serialized 1973, novel 1974)
- The Committed Men, M. John Harrison (1971)
Continue reading “Updates: 2016 in Review (best novels + best short stories + best anthologies + notable posts)”
Recently reminded of Fritz Leiber’s beautiful story “A Pail of Air” (1951) which I reviewed a few years ago in the eponymous collection, I was delighted to come across another one of his short story collections. Thankfully, no Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories are in sight. And of course, another Richard Powers cover…
On twitter I mentioned my ignorance regarding the work of Isidore Haiblum, the author of the “the first Yiddish SF novel” according to the blurb on The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders (1971). I have not come across a copy of that particular novel yet, but, another even lesser known quantity joins the books arrayed in piles across my library.
My dalliance with the 1980s continues in fits and starts: I wrote a short review of Christopher Priest’s masterpiece The Affirmation (1981) and recently reviewed Terry Carr’s edited volume Universe 10 (1980)… As Carter Scholz’s short story “The Johann Sebastian Bach Memorial Barbecue and Nervous Breakdown” (1980) made such a positive impression on me, I decided to find a copy of his collaborative novel.
And I love Damon Knight’s Orbit series of original anthologies. For reviews: Orbit 1 (1966), Orbit 3 (1968), and Orbit 8 (1970).
As always, thoughts/comments are welcome!
1. Fritz Leiber, The Night of the Wolf (1966)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1966 edition) Continue reading “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXV (Leiber + Haiblum + Scholz and Harcourt + Orbit Anthology)”
Here are three short reviews. Either I waited too long to review the work or in the case of the short story collection, the handful of poor stories (amongst the many gems) faded from memory and I couldn’t convince myself to reread them…
I apologize for the brevity and lack of analysis. My longer reviews definitely try to get at the greater morass of things but hopefully these will still whet your palette if you haven’t read the works already.
1. Dying Inside, Richard Silverberg (1972)
(Jerry Thorp’s cover for the 1972 ediiton)
5/5 (Masterpiece) Continue reading “Short Book Reviews: Robert Silverberg’s Dying Inside (1972), Universe 2, ed. Terry Carr (1972), and Avram Davidson’s The Enemy of My Enemy (1966)”
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition)
3.5/5 (collated rating: Good)
Orbit 3 contains both masterpieces (by Gene Wolfe and Kate Wilhelm) and complete duds (by Doris Pitkin Buck and Philip José Farmer). Damon Knight’s willingness to select a range of known and lesser known authors creates an enjoyable and unpredictable reading experience—but, most of the greats are on their game in this collection, other than Farmer who puts in a lazy shift… Contains two Nebula award winners: Wilson’s problematic “Mother to the World” (novelette) and Kate Wilhem’s “The Planners” (short story). The former was also nominated for a Hugo.
Recommended for fans of 60s SF of the experimental bent. Do not let the collated rating sway you—there are some great stories behind the Paul Lehr Continue reading “Book Review: Orbit 3, ed. Damon Knight (1968)”
Two more novels via Carl V. Anderson over at Stainless Steel Droppings—thanks again! … and two I’ve had laying around for a while. My Malzberg solo SF novel (non-movie novelization) collection is complete!
Eventually I might read a select few works from the 80s, if I do Gene Wolfe will be at the top of the list. His short fiction from the 70s has wowed me so far (here and here).
1. Emphyrio, Jack Vance (1969)
(Gino D’Achille’s cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXXIII (Vance + Wolfe + Yarbro + Malzberg)”
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition)
3.25/5 (collated rating: Good)
The avant-garde leaning Orbit anthology series, edited by Damon Knight, had an illustrious run from 1966-1976. Recently I have become more and more intrigued by the anthology as a way to access a wider range of authors and radical visions. Despite my rather lowish collated rating of Best SF Stories from New Worlds 2, ed. Michael Moorcock, it was a satisfying collection which exposed me to the SF of Langdon Jones and Pamela Zoline. Likewise, it somewhat rehabilitated my view of Charles Platt whose Planet of the Voles (1971) has long been one of my least favorite SF novels.
Anthologies are fascinating cross sections of the genre reflecting what was perceived as worthwhile SF by editors. They will almost always be more uneven than single author collections. But the exposure to forgotten authors and authors who never received a single author collection makes them almost always worthwhile.
Orbit 8 (1970) is no exception. The anthology swings wildly from Gardner Dozois’ masterpiece “Horse of Air” (1970) Continue reading “Book Review: Orbit 8, ed. Damon Knight (1970)”