There is no better way to celebrate the New Year than with a pile of vintage SF acquisitions!
You might notice the predominance over the coming weeks of UK publishers (Pan, Granada, Panther)—the images correspond to my editions. I acquired nine via a “secret” UK pipeline for a mere $3.50 each (with shipping) as a gift from my wife. Cue bad Chris Foss copycat (Tony Roberts and his ilk) covers. The disconnect between Thomas M. Disch’s 334 (1972) and the Tony Roberts spaceship pains me.
The books: A lesser known Ian Watson novel. Anyone know the cover artist? His short fiction inspires: A Very Slow Time Machine (1979). I found Jonah Kit (1975) worthwhile although I never reviewed it.
A Jack Vance novel that explores the nature of language…
A collection of early PKD stories. I’ve read the majority of his short fiction in my omnibus collections of his work but it might be worth the reread.
And finally, what I am most excited about, Disch’s best known collection of thematically linked short fiction….
Enjoy! As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.
1. Alien Embassy, Ian Watson (1977)
(Uncredited cover for the 1979 edition) Read More
(Inside illustration by Vincent Di Fate for the 1973 edition of The Orchid Cage (1961), Herbert W. Franke)
Part II of my SF acquisitions from Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, MI– Part I. In my attempt to acquire more foreign SF (still haven’t managed to read that much of it—but the mood will strike eventually), I found a nice copy with a wonderful interior illustration and cover by Vincent Di Fate of one of Herbert W. Franke’s novels.
Also, another Ian Watson novel—I’ve read the Jonah Kit (1975) but never got around to reviewing it as well as his collection (must read for fans of 70s SF) The Very Slow Time Machine (1979). Jesse over at Speculiction raves about his other Read More
I have been on a short story kick as of late! Three of the following volumes are short story collections (two anthologies). I want to complete the Orbit series, ed. Damon Knight….
And, well, I have a soft spot for Philip José Farmer’s 50s/60s SF after Strange Relations (1960).
- Orbit 12, ed. Damon Knight (1973)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1973 edition) Read More
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 Read More
Snatched all but one of these up at a 1$ SF hardback clearance sale at my local bookstore. The other, Watson’s The Jonah Kit (1976) came via The Dawn Treader Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI.
I am not usually interested in Galactic Empires but the collection seems to have some intriguing short authors—for example, Lafferty, Davidson, Shaara, etc whose works I have no been that exposed to. I look forward to slowly working my way through both volumes.
I also acquired my first Robert Holdstock novel, Where Time Winds Blow (1981). Seems intriguing.
My schedule has finally calmed down a little so expect a slew of book reviews in the coming days/weeks…
1. Galactic Empires, Volume I, ed. Brian Aldiss (1976)
(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1978 edition) Read More
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1979 edition)
4.5/5 (Very Good)
My first exposure to Ian Watson’s extensive SF catalog could not have been more impressive. The Very Slow Time Machine (1979) is up there with Robert Sheckley’s Store of Infinity (1960) and J. G. Ballard’s Billenium (1962) as the best overall collection of stories that I have encountered in the history of this site.
The collection is filled with narrative experimentation (“Programmed Loved Story,” “Agoraphobia, A.D. 2000,” etc), some awe inspiring ideas (“The Very Slow Time Machine,” “The Girl Who Was Art” etc.), a few delightful allegories (“Our Loves So Truly Meridional,” “My Soul Swims in a Goldfish Bowl”), and a handful of more traditional SF stories that hint at anthropological Read More
One of the better groups of acquisitions in a while! After Katherine MacLean’s masterpiece Missing Man (1975) I was very excited to come across a collection of her late 40s and 50s short stories. Unfortunately, my edition — from 1973— had such an awful cover that I couldn’t put in on this post. Instead, I put the first edition cover by Paul Lehr which is simply gorgeous….
Ballard collections are always welcome! I have all of his short works in a single volume but the Powers cover is top-notch.
One of Ian Watson’s most famous novels…
And an unknown work by Brian Aldiss, Enemies of the System (1978)… Has anyone read it? I suspect it will be the weakest book of the bunch.
1. The Diploids, Katherine MacLean (1962)
(Uncredited — but looks like Lehr — cover for the 1962 edition) Read More
More Dallas, TX Half Price Book finds… and a few gifts from 2theD at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature (found on one of his infrequent trips to the states).
Can’t wait to tackle the Ian Watson collection — Ian Sales has characterized him one of the treasure of the British SF (I’ll post a book of his in the coming weeks). Wilhelm’s extensive reputation seems to be based mostly on her Hugo-winning fix-up novel, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976). It’s unfortunate that few read her other novels and short story collections. The Nebula-nominated Margaret and I (1971) is a welcome edition to my collection.
I’ve not had success with Philip José Farmer in the past—To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971) might be the worst novel to win a Hugo—but the collection of 50s novelettes Strange Relations (1960) was too good to pass up.
And finally, my find of the holiday break, a SIGNED (with personal note) copy of Edward Bryant’s collection Cinnabar (1976)! For a mere two dollars (incorrectly placed in the non-signed SF books)….
1. The Very Slow Time Machine, Ian Watson (1979) (MY REVIEW)
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1979 edition) Read More