Richard Powers’ cover for the 1st edition
In J. G. Ballard’s The Wind From Nowhere (1962), cosmic radiation creates an immense natural disaster. Ever-increasing winds threaten to tear buildings out by their foundations and force the survivors into subterranean caverns. With the winds comes dust, a manifestation of erasure, that lacerates skin and engulfs all.
John Carnell serialized Ballard’s first novel in New Worlds in 1961 (issues 110 and 111). Continue reading
Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition
3.75/5 (collated rating: Good)
Welcome to a postmodern museum of disordered landscapes. J. G. Ballard paints a cratered England as a new Vietnam. Langdon Jones reduces the operation of the world to a series of sculptural machines. Hilary Bailey weaves a dystopic England changed beyond recognition in mere years. M. John Harrison’s characters interact with cardboard cutouts on an imaginary set. And Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius flits between India and Pakistan’s present and past.
While there are a few duds, the cream Continue reading
Note: I’ve changed the post title “Acquisitions” to “Purchases” for the sake of clarity. Some readers (especially on twitter) assume I’ve read these books. I’ve just bought them! (or they are unread books from a pile I bought a while back but never processed). These posts provide my initial half-formed thoughts, links to related reviews, front cover scans of my personal copies (unless noted), and back-cover info. For full-formed thoughts on books check out my reviews. I’ve also changed the format. My “initial thoughts” can now be found after the back cover blurb. Let me know if the format changes are helpful.
As always which books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. The Wind From Nowhere, J. G. Ballard (serialized 1961) (MY REVIEW)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 1st edition) Continue reading
(Pompeo Posar’s cover for the 1st edition)
3/5 (collated rating: Average)
“The dead astronaut: The phrase is filled with anxiety, the words themselves evoking the tension and anguish that gripped the whole world in that fateful month of April 1970, when a technical malfunction came close to costing the lives of astronauts Lovell, Swigert and Haise” (5).
The Dead Astronaut (1971) contains a range of 50s and 60s SF stories—from Ursula K. Le Guin to J. G. Ballard—on the broad theme of astronauts, that appeared in Playboy Magazine. For a reader of genre for only the last decade (and a bit), it’s shocking to consider that Playboy, at one point, contained top-notch science fiction! That aside, The Dead Astronaut contains a range of soft and hard science fictional accounts of astronauts Continue reading
Preliminary note: This is the fifth post in a series of vintage generation ship short fiction reviews. All of the stories I’ll review are available online (see links below). You are welcome to read and discuss along with me as I explore humanity’s visions of generational voyage. And thanks go out to all who have joined already.
Next up: We’re stepping back almost two decades! A. E. van Vogt’s “Centaurus II”in the June 1947 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, ed. John W. Campbell, Jr. (story link).
Previously: John Brunner’s “Lungfish” (1957) appeared in the December 1957 issue of Science Fantasy, ed. John Cornell.
I’ve compiled a helpful list on the theme.
(Lloyd Birmingham’s cover for the April 1962 issue, ed. Cele Goldsmith)
J. G. Ballard’s “Thirteen to Centaurus” (1961) first appeared in the April 1962 issue of Amazing Stories, ed. Cele Goldsmith. Due to the twists in Ballard’s short story, I feel the need to indicate spoilers. My reviews are uninterested in avoiding spoilers as I am here to analyze and uncover secrets, and secretive commentaries, and metaphoric layers—and there are a lot of fascinating and unnerving elements in “Thirteen to Continue reading
1. I have yet to read any of J. G. Ballard’s late 70s and early 80s short fiction. Myths of the Near Future (1982) seems to contain some fascinating gems. I’ve previously reviewed two collections of his 50s and 60s fiction on the site—both are highly recommended!
2. My exploration of 60s/70s SF takes me to an another author I’ve only read about– Fred Saberhagen. I enjoy post-apocalyptical landscapes and balkanized and decayed far future societies–but, is there anything original in this take on the theme?
3. I’m proud owner (*cough*) of one of the worst vintage covers ever created. The premise was the sole reason I snatched up Kilworth’s The Night of Kadar (1978)—malfunctions create unusual growth in the seeded human colonists on an alien planet.
4. A fix-up novel (with substantial rewritten and added material) from Richard A. Lupoff…. not an author I’m too familiar with, but this one is endorsed by Harlan Ellison and definitely screams 70s!
1. Myths of the Near Future, J. G. Ballard (1982)
(James Marsh’s cover for the 1984 edition) Continue reading
(Yves Tanguy’s cover for the 1963 edition of Mission of Gravity (1954), Hal Clement)
On the birthday of French-American surrealist Yves Tanguy (1900-1955) (January 5th), I always take a minute to browse his art online. I faintly recalled seeing his art on various 1960s Penguin edition covers…. And lo and behold, J. G. Ballard’s New Wave masterpiece The Drowned World (1962) and Hal Clement’s pioneering work of hard SF, Mission of Gravity (1954) were both graced with Tanguy’s canvases. Penguin regularly used the work of famous mainstream artists–for example, Max Ernst (I identified ten covers). China Miéville’s novella “The Last Days of New Paris” (2018) also uses a Tanguy/Lamba/Breton exquisite corpse collage (I’m focusing primarily on earlier covers in this post). Continue reading
1. A Ballard novel that had previously escaped my grasp… Too bad I don’t own the visually fun 1981 1st edition (Bill Botton’s cover screams Damnation Alley).
2. Unfortunately my 1st edition copy of Angus Wilson’s satirical 1961 SF novel The Old Men at the Zoo did not come with a dustjacket (damn sellers who incorrectly list books online!). The novel itself appears interesting! Has anyone read it?
3. A spectacular Paul Lehr cityscape cover + Nebula award winners = what is not to love?
4. And finally, my sole Brooklyn, NY book purchase from my summer trip — the fifth in Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos: Archives sequence of SF novels.
As always, comments (and even tangents) are welcome.
Note: His-res images of all but Angus Wilson’s novel are my personal copies.
1. Hello America, J. G. Ballard (1981)
(James Marsh’s cover for the 1985 edition) Continue reading
The move into my first house—with my ridiculous quantity of books—is nearly complete….
1. ….and so is my collection of 60s and 70s J. G. Ballard!
2. Currently reading this peculiar Emma Tennant vision… My third of her books — I never got around to reviewing Hotel de Dream (1976) as I grew disenchanted with the second half but thoroughly enjoyed The Crack (variant title: The Time of the Crack) (1973).
3. Not personally a huge fans of sports but enjoy when SF authors (for example Robert Sheckley, Barry N. Malzberg, and George Elec Effinger) take on future sport… A perfect topic for satirical commentary and sinister undercurrents….
4. I while ago I read and thoroughly enjoyed Wyman Guin’s short story collection Living Way Out (variant title: Beyond Bedlam) (1967). I found this in a thrift story for less than a 1$ so it ended up on my shelf.
1. Concrete Island, J. G. Ballard (1974)
(Richard Clifton-Dey’s cover for the 1976 edition) Continue reading