My “to review” pile is growing and my memory of them is fading… hence short—far less analytical—reviews.
1. Mindbridge, Joe Haldeman (1976)
(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1977 edition)
4.5/5 (Very Good)
Nominated for the 1977 Hugo Award
Joe Haldeman never struck me as an author who experimented with New Wave methods of telling. Mindbridge (1976) shatters my misconception. Imagine the basic plot of his masterpiece The Forever War (1975) combined with a fascinating experimental structure. The latter intrigued me far more than the former.
The Basic Plot: The Levant-Meyer Translation allows humans to instantaneously travel across the galaxy. The Tamer Agency sends its agents to investigate alien worlds. Continue reading →
1. Leo P. Kelley is an author whose work I’ve encountered in various used book stores but never acquired…. until now. Here’s the SF Encyclopedia entry on his work. Let me know if you’ve read any of them!
Note: The Kelley edition and cover are different than the one I own. I accidentally mutilated the cover by removing (by incorrect means) a large sticker. I own the 1971 Berkley Medallion first edition.
2. I adored David Ely’s Seconds (1962). I hope to have a review up soon! I went ahead and acquired his only other SF novel.
3. Although I’ve read and complained vehemently about Pamela Sargent’s Cloned Lives (1976), I’m not a reader who gives up on an author after a single novel. Like Cloned Lives, The White Death (variant title: The Sudden Star) (1979), creates a tapestry of characters presented with a crisis. I’ll read this one sooner than later.
4. An original anthology on the year 2000. I couldn’t pass it up especially as it contains a SF short story by Naomi Mitchison. I remember Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) fondly….
As always, let me know your thoughts on the books/covers/or tangents.
1) A 1970s SF short story anthology. How could I resist? Could you? As with Judith Merril’s anthology I posted recently, Harry Harrison applies a very wide-ranging lens (publication venue, non-English language authors, etc) to the notion of “SF.”
2) Occasionally I procure (but more often than not, fail to review) a handful of newer SF novels by authors who haven’t yet received the spotlight they deserve. I listened to Anne Charnock’s A Calculated Life (2013) as an audible audiobook and found it rather brilliant. In a recent trip to Edinburgh, Scotland I went out for beers with Mike at Transreal Fiction and snagged a copy of Charnock’s newest novel from his store. I apologize in advance if no review appears—I must have a mental block when comes to reviewing books published in the last three decades. hah.
1) Futuristic city? Yes! Is more needed? Okay, okay, I concede, more is needed. I hope Gotschalk’s novel with its fantastic Dean Ellis cover delivers. Among the least known of the Ace Science Fiction Special series…
2) Ballard blurbs Martin Bax’s novel as “…the most exciting, stimulating and brilliantly conceived book I have read since Burroughs’ novels.” Hyperbole aside, the two reviews (here and here) I’ve read of Bax’s sole novel puts this at the top of my “to read” pile.
I have cheated a bit by including the cover for the first New Directions edition rather than the later Picador edition I own due to the cover quality.
3) Three acquisitions posts ago (here) I mentioned that the premise of Marge Piercy’s Dance the Eagle to Sleep (1970) did not inspire me to read it anytime soon. Thankfully I found a copy of what many consider her masterpiece Woman at the Edge of Time (1976) cheap at the local used book store.
4) I am not sure why I picked this collection up—I’ve heard good things about Joe Haldeman’s introduction which draws on his experience in the Vietnam War. As Isaac Asimov, Mack Reynolds, etc are not normally authors who intrigue me, I might do something I rarely do and read and review Effinger’s story only (and maybe Poul Anderson’s as he’s better in short form)…
As always thoughts and comments are welcome.
1. Growing up in Tier 3000, Felix C. Gotschalk (1976)
Including a Richard Powers’ cover that might be among my favorites as it has a delightful architectural feel…. Do you have a favorite Powers?
I must fill the hole that is my lack of knowledge about Cordwainer Smith. A source of many arguments!
Rachel S. Cordasco recently reviewed three stories by French women SF authors pre-1969 and I decided to track down the same collection. And yes, the back cover is filled with purple prose… Plus hilarious back cover font which I will feature in a SF cover art post in the near future.
And another John Carnell anthology in his New Writings in SF series. I featured the artist a few months ago here.
All the covers are scans of my own copies — if you click on the images you can see them in high resolution.
Procuring SF paperbacks never gets old! I have started scanning in the covers (two of the four below) in order to provide higher quality images (click to zoom)— especially if they are hard to find images online and/or I find them aesthetically pleasing (Powers + Lehr in this post).
Let me know if the change is worth it!
Josephine Saxton: Despite reading The Hieros Gamos of Sam and An Smith (1969) years ago, my mind still traces the imprint of its strange ritualistic beauty . Her short fiction was published in a range of SF magazines and collections from 1965 to 1992. I have tracked down a copy of her first collection. Despite its 1985 publication date, eight of the fourteen stories were published in the 60s/70s.
Harry Harrison: A “classic” author whose work I need to explore more: I’ve read Deathworld (1960), attempted to read Make Room! Make Room! (1966) and A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah (1972) at least three times, and Lifeship(1976), which he co-wrote with Gordon R. Dickson. I’ve encountered his short fiction here and there and found “By The Falls” (1970) a satisfying New Wave endeavor. Time for more short fiction!
New Worlds Anthology: I want all of them, end of story.
And finally, the selection bound to surprise and confuse my regular readers…. Aliya Whiteley: Despite my various protestations, I have not stopped reading new SF entirely. And I couldn’t resist finding a copy of Whiteley’s well-received fungal nightmare…. If you’re curious see Jesse’s review over at Speculiction.
(Cover for the 1967 edition of Extrapolasis (1967), Alexander Malec)
Between 1965 and 1971, the husband-and-wife team Donald Crews and Ann Jonas created a handful of fascinating minimalistic and diagrammatic covers for Doubleday. I should note that their cover for the 1966 edition of Nebula Award Stories 1965 (1966), ed. Damon Knight was reused in different colors for multiple Nebula anthologies (1967, 1971, 1971). Thus, their new covers for Doubleday appeared only (to the best of my knowledge) in a two-year span from 1965 and 1967.