Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCCX (R. A. Lafferty, Jan Morris, Star anthology, and an August Derleth anthology)

Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Strange Ports of Call, ed. August Derleth (1948)

From the back cover: “‘Begotten of Imagination, on the body of Technology, there springs forth the wild child Science Fiction.’ –Clifton Fadiman

The above is one of the many attempts that have been made to describe a department of fiction which, in spite of some sniping critics, continues to increase its followers. Recently Bertrand Russell observed that science fiction consists of ‘intelligent anticipation–much more intelligent than the expectations of statesmen.’

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Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXXIV (Wolfe + Clement + Mann + Wylie)

A nice batch of used book store finds.  Including the best of surprises i.e. when a clearance $1 SF novel by a rather famous author turns out to be signed!  I only realized it when I sat down to type up this post.

I have officially delved into the 80s—2theD at SF Potpourri included this novel in his “should be picked up by Gollancz Masterworks” list so I grabbed a hardback copy.

And some early Gene Wolfe….

And a what if women disappeared from the world novel by the author of When Worlds Collide (1933)…

Thoughts on any of the novels?

1.  The Fifth Head of Cerebrus, Gene Wolfe (1972)

(Martin Rigo’s cover for the 1981 edition) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXVII (Simak, Clement, Bradley, White)

I just came back from more than a month in Paris where I was rather sci-fi deprived so I headed immediately (well, not literally) to the local used bookstore.  A nice collection of novels from some of the genre’s greats — Hal Clement, James White, Clifford D. Simak, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I’ve not read any of Bradley’s novels and I’ve heard that Darkover Landfall (1972) is probably the place to start.

And I’ve enjoyed James White’s work so far.  Clement isn’t exactly my cup of tea but it might be good to read another one of his novels before I come to a conclusion.

And some fun Paul Lehr covers…

1. Lifeboat (variant title: Inferno), James White (1972)

(John Berkey’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement (serialized, 1953)

(Joe Mugnaini’s cover for the 1954 edition)

3.5/5 (Good)

Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity (1953) is generally considered one of the early classic (and most influential) novels of the hard science fiction subgenre.  The care in which Clement lavishes on the fascinating world of Mesklin is manifest on virtually every page.  The inherent logic of the unusual scientific properties of the planet Mesklin provides the superstructure for Clement’s development of the intelligent species that inhabits it and generates the majority of the plot.  Clement, a Harvard educated astronomer, applies the (remorseless) logic of the world to almost every situation and every paragraph creating a convincing, if rather laborious Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXIII (Simak + Tenn + Clement + Frayn)

A new bookstore in my hometown!  Great results! Dirt cheap (between 1-2 $ a book)!  Happy me!

I finally have a copy of Hal Clement’s hard science fiction masterpiece, Mission of Gravity (1953)…  And a collection of William Tenn’s short stories with a downright gorgeous Powers cover — Tenn is supposedly up there with Sheckley in the satirical pantheon of the 50s… Among others…

Has anyone read Michael Frayn’s A Very Private Live (1968)?  I’ve never heard of it before but the Lehr cover was too amazing to pass up…

1. The Human Angle, William Tenn (1956) (MY REVIEW)


(Robert Powers’ cover for the 1956 edition)

From the inside flap: “WIT: an extra-terrestrial sells pornographic literature Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XLII (Malzberg + Roshwald + Clement + Moorcock)

A nice selection of books from my fellow book reviewer at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature and a few from a recent trip to Indianapolis — the fried chicken and waffles at Maxine’s were far superior to their used book stores….

My trilogy of dark/brilliant/disturbed Malzberg novels dealing with the space program, The Falling Astronauts (1971), Revelations (1972), and Beyond Apollo (1972) is now complete!  When I get around to reading The Falling Astronauts I will put together a special post with a series of intriguing space program documents given to me by my fiancé — including a hilarious 1965 publication, The Astronauts & Their Families, where real life astronauts pose with their happy families, play with puppies, teach their children to shoot rifles, pose with their cars, pretend to play at the piano, etc — i.e. the oposite of Malzberg’s vision of the “manliest” of American heroes…

The Moorcock novel, The Ice Schooner (1969) was a rather impulsive buy — I’ve yet to read any of his works, but voyagers to cities wreathed in ice is always a fun trope.

Level 7 (1959) is generally considered a Cold War masterpiece…

Clement’s Through the Eye of the Needle (1978) is the sequel to Needle (magazine 1949) — I’ll probably want to find a copy of the first in the series before I give the sequel a shot….

1. The Falling Astronauts, Barry N. Malzberg (1971) (MY REVIEW)

(Davis Meltzer’s cover Continue reading