(Cover for the 1968 edition of Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg)
My pseudo-series exploring the more esoteric reaches of SF art continues. Previous posts include The Brothers Quay and SF Covers, The 1960s Covers of Emanuel Schongut, and A Spotlight on the SF Covers of David McCall Johnston. You all read my site because of my more esoteric dalliances, right? Hah.
H. Lawrence Hoffman (b. 1911-1977) [wikipedia article] illustrated a vast range of covers for the major presses such as Popular Library—his mystery novel covers, including those by Dashiell Hammett, are particularly evocative [here is a substantial gallery displaying the range of his non-SF covers].
His use of coral and figures inspired by Central American Art (see his cover for The Gate of Worlds (1967), Robert Silverberg) demonstrate his more experimental moments. His coral covers are stunning— Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg and A Century of Science Fiction (1962), ed. Damon Knight. And the 1973 edition of Alien Art by Gordon R. Dickson scratches a strange artistic itch…
What are your Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Cosmic Coral and Eye Trees: The SF Art of H. Lawrence Hoffman
(Robert Adragna’s cover for the 1978 edition)
Gordon R. Dickson introduces a medieval tapestry (perhaps The Lady and the Unicorn in Paris’ Musée national du Moyen Âge)—filled with symbolic representations that make up the sum of the world—as the central framing metaphor for The Far Call (1978). Our idealistic young politician main character sees himself and everyone else as “caught up in its pattern” where “countless threads like his own make up the background.” The brighter threads “would be the movers and shakers among the people” yet no one would be more than a single thread (35). Continue reading Book Review: The Far Call, Gordon R. Dickson (serialized 1973, book form 1978)
I have yet to read anything by the Nobel Prize for Literature-winning author Doris Lessing… And she wrote numerous SF novels—I’m very excited that I found one in a clearance section for 2$. I also found one of the very few 1970s works by Silverberg not in my collection. Dickson’s supposedly most mature novel (which I doubt is very good) also joins my collection. So far the only Dickson I can tolerate are a handful of his short stories. And finally, my last acquisition is one of Robert Sheckley’s best-loved novels.
1. The Memoirs of a Survivor, Doris Lessing (1974)
(Brad Holland’s cover for the 1988 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXVI (Lessing, Silverberg, Sheckley, Dickson)
I like lists! I like reading lists! Here’s my rundown of the best and worst of what I read in 2014.
This year I have tried something new—my first guest post series. My ten post Michael Bishop review series—reviews written by SF bloggers interested in classic SF and frequent readers of my site—hopefully introduced a lot of my frequent readers to one of my favorite (and criminally underrated) authors. My second post series did not transpire solely on my site but stretched to others—what Gollancz Masterworks should include… Thanks for all the wonderful contributions!
Feel free to list your best reads of the year. Maybe I’ll add a few of them to my to read/to acquire list.
…and, if you tend to agree with at least some of my views on SF, read these!
Best SF novel
1. Ice, Anna Kavan (1967): Easily the best novel I have read this year, Kavan weaves a Kafka-esque landscape will touches of J. G. Ballard. Ice, caused by some manmade disaster, is slowly creeping over the world. The unnamed narrator is torn between two forces: returning to his earlier research on jungle dwelling singing lemurs in the southern regions vs. tracking down a young woman about whom he has Continue reading Updates: 2014 in Review (Top 10 SF novels + Top 10 Short SF works + Other Categories)
An intriguing range of SF novels… A few thrift store pickups and a few sent by my father. Excited about the John Haldeman fix-up novel All My Sins Remembered (1977). Won’t read the Brunner for a long long time—but I’m a Brunner completists so I buy his books on sight if I don’t have a copy.
Still haven’t read anything by Charles L. Harness…. Not sure about this 80s rewrite of his late 40s serialized novel. We shall see.
1. All My Sins Remembered, John Haldeman (1977)
(Paul Stinson’s cover for the 1977 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXX (Harness + Dickson + Haldeman + Brunner)
(Peter Rauch’s cover for the 1974 edition)
2.75/5 (collated rating: Vaguely Average)
Between 1974 and 1990 Gordon R. Dickson’s collection Ancient, My Enemy (1974) was reprinted eleven times. The reason for this “popularity” is beyond me considering I found that a grand total of three of the nine stories were solid while the rest were poorly written cliché-ridden magazine filler… Dickson had the ability to write some great short SF—for example, Mike at Potpourri of SF Literature adores his collection In the Bone (1987). But Ancient, My Enemy gives little indication of his talent and generally lacks the insight that his novels such as The Alien Way (1965) possess.
Recommended only for Gordon R. Dickson completists. I suggest acquiring later more discerning collections of his 50s/60s SF such as Continue reading Book Review: Ancient, My Enemy, Gordon R. Dickson (1974)
I have a substantial backlog of purchases from my “productive” book hunting Spring Break in Texas….
I’ve read Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man (1952), which I loved, and The Stars My Destination (1956), which I mostly enjoyed, however I’ve rarely seen his short story collections in used book stores. I snatched up the gorgeous covered The Dark Side of the Earth (1956). I suspect Bester is even better at short stories than his novel length works….
The Time of the Great Freeze (1964) is considered one of Robert Silverberg’s best pulp works. On indirect advise of my friend Michael Dalke at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature, I’ve procured more of Gordon R. Dickson’s short works… Thankfully, he hasn’t reviewed the collection The Star Road (1973) yet (I think) — we have a “rivalry.” Haha.
I’ve already reviewed the short story collection edited by Donald Wollheim, The End of the World (1956) (MY REVIEW), and highly recommend it. A few of the stories are duds but two are in my top 5 short work list. Philip K. Dick’s ‘Impostor’ (1953) alone is reason enough to track down the volume.
1. The Dark Side of the Earth (1964), Alfred Bester (MY REVIEW)
(Uncredited cover for the 1964 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXV (Silverberg + Dickson + Bester + et al.)
Oh the joys of amazon gift cards… And perusing dusty corners of local bookstores.
Here are my latest acquisitions.
1. Robert Silverberg’s World Inside (1971) (MY REVIEW HERE)
I’ve always enjoyed semi-dystopic works about the social ramifications of overpopulation (John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar is my all time favorite sci-fi novel). I wonder if Silverberg was inspired by Brunner’s work. I’ve yet to read a Silverberg novel and I’ve read that this is a pretty good effort. So, those factors contributed to my purchase.
2. Doris Piserchia’s Continue reading Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. I