Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCVII (Asimov + Malzberg + Randall + Schmidt)

Some goodies (finally reaching the bottom of my large pile of unreported SF—holiday leftovers, one or two Half Price/Thrift store visits, birthday gifts).

My second collection (need more!) of Malzberg short stories eagerly wants to be read!

An Asimov collection, Buy Jupiter and Other Short Stories (1975), that was inexpensive and also low on my list of books to read.  As readers know, one of my first SF novels I ever read was The Currents of Space (1952)… That said, Asimov has nostalgic allure but none of the many subsequent novels of his I have read have proved, in my opinion, his supposed “genius talent” and cult of “hero worship.”

Both the Malzberg and Asimov collections have brief intro essays to each story and random autobiographical fragments—smacks of filler.  But, perhaps there will be some intriguing observations (although, I rather not know that Malzberg wrote a particular short story in only an hour, or that Asimov took a bet from a pretty female editor, blah, blah, blah).

Marta Randall’s Islands (1976) was a solid read so it was only a matter of time before I acquired her superior (according to Ian Sales) A City in the North (1976).  You have to feel for her, her books received some of the most horrid Vincent Di Fate covers possible….

 I suspect that The Sins of the Fathers (1973) by Stanley Schmidt is a forgettable 70s space opera but I am willing to give it a try.


1.  The Man Who Loved the Midnight Lady, Barry N. Malzberg (1980)

(Michael Flanagan’s cover for the 1980 edition) Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Visualizing Time, Part II (time travel + sundials + the decay of eternity + time portals)


(Walter Popp’s cover for the 1953 issue of Fantastic Story Magazine, ed. Samuel Mines)

It has been along time since I cobbled together a cover art post…

…but it’s a good one!

This is Part II of my Visualizing Time sequence—if you haven’t seen it already check out Part I.  And in Part II we have a standoff across time with your primitive ancestors, decay and the hourglass, rewriting America’s racist past, the sundial as an arena for an epic showdown with an alien, jumping through cave paintings (a metaphor Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXVII (Cowper + Asimov + Clarke + Dickson)

Bargain bins yield some Clarke and Asimov classics I read when I was a teen but never owned….   I remember thinking at the time that Imperial Earth (1975) was one of Clarke’s best novels.  Dickson’s Dorsai! (1960) — I’ve never been a fan of military SF — is a classic I need to get around to reading.  And, my final find was Richard Cowper’s Time Out of Mind (1973).  I was surprisingly impressed with his lighthearted romp of a novel, Profundis (1979).

Thoughts on the books?

1. Time Out of Mind, Richard Cowper (1973)

(Don Maitz’s cover for the 1981 edition)

From the back cover: “As a young boy, Laurie Linton encountered a strange apparition: a ghostly man who urgently mouthed a message: KILL MAGOBION!  Years later, as members of the UN Narcotics Security Agency, Linton and the beautiful Carol Kennedy were assigned a special duty: investigation of a mysterious drug which endowed its addicts with superhuman powers. Continue reading

Book Review: Pebble in the Sky, Isaac Asimov (1950)

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 9.50.07 AM

(Uncredited (Powers?) cover for the 1957 edition)

3.5/5 (Good)

Pebble in the Sky (1950), Isaac Asimov’s first published novel, is a revision of the earlier short story ‘Grow Old With Me’ published in the late 1940s.  The novel itself takes place in the vast Galactic Empire based at Trantor that features in so many of Asimov’s short stories and novels — most famously, Foundation.  Although I am generally unimpressed with Asimov’s science fiction, Pebble in the Sky contains intriguing world building and an elderly man as the main character which is rather rare in sci-fi (albeit, this does not prevent a silly romance between the other younger main characters from providing the novel’s emotional core). But, most appealing to me, Asimov moves away from the all too simplistic dichotomy of good vs. bad Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XLVIII (Asimov + Brunner + Aldiss)

It’s been a while since I returned to one of the more well-known authors of the 50s — Isaac Asimov.  I’ve read many of his novels and short story collections (Foundation Trilogy, The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire, The Currents of Space, The Gods Themselves, Nemesis, etc) and have never been too impressed.  However, with a run of recent bad 50s sci-fi works under my belt (review for David Duncan’s egregious Dark Dominion is upcoming) I feel the need to reappraise a few of the 50s greats. So, when I was perusing some gorgeous old paperbacks with well-preserved covers I purchased two Asimov novels for the first time since I was a young teenager.

And another Brunner to add to the 20+ works of his I already own….  Unfortunately the one edition I find was the one edition where the editor edited + modified Brunner’s words without his permission.

And some Aldiss short stories from the 50s….

A gorgeous collection of covers!

1. Pebble in the Sky, Isaac Asimov (1950) (MY REVIEW)

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 9.50.07 AM

(Uncredited cover for the 1957 Continue reading