Book Review: The Best SF Stories from New Worlds 2, ed. Michael Moorcock (1968)

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(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1969 edition)

3.75/5 (Collated rating: Good)

As New Worlds issues tend to be expensive and hard to find (especially in the US), Michael Moorcock’s anthology series provides satiating morsels from the magazine’s best period.  New Worlds was instrumental in the so-called New Wave movement.  I am at home in  eclectic and genre-challenging/subversive madness.

New Worlds combined SF stories/poems with experimental art and layout that is, unfortunately, lost in the anthologies.  One of my favorite examples is Vivienne Young’s collage (below) illustrating James Sallis’ “Kazoo” (1967) Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Futuristic Cities of Lima de Freitas, Part I

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(Cover for the 1967 edition of vol. 1 of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1965), Robert A. Heinlein)

The Portuguese painter and illustrator Lima de Freitas (1927-1998) created a vast number of covers for the Portuguese press Livros do Brasil.  For more on the range of art he produced in his career consult his wikipedia page [here].

A while back I reviewed Mordecai Roshwald’s Level 7 (1959) and discovered de Freitas’ amazing cover (below).  More than any of the US editions, it evokes the claustrophobic tone of the novel (and even some of the surreal elements).

As the son of two architects, architecturally inclined SF covers always fascinate. Thus, as an introduction to his art (if you do not know it already) I have collected a handful of his cityscapes.  They are surreal masterpieces.  Lima de Freitas’ covers emphasize the city as a canvas, the textures of human Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLV (Herbert + Tucker + Saberhagen + England Swings SF anthology)

A person with the initials K.W.G ditched their entire SF collection at my local Half Price Books.  So many books that the store made a new SF anthology section that did not exist a few months ago and the “vintage” SF books made up more than half the non-vintage SF section.  I spent too much money.  One of many future SF Acquisitions posts featuring books from the mysterious K. W. G….

A famous anthology important for showcasing UK authors in America!  I’ve included the lengthy description of the collection by Ace and their position vis-à-vis New Wave SF.  I find it humorous that the publisher has to defend their position!

An often praised 1950s post-apocalyptical novel by Wilson Tucker….  My 1969 edition was “rewritten” by the author–unfortunately, I have already started reading it (not sure how much it will tell me about  its position in 1950s SF if it were rewritten in the 60s).  Perhaps someone knows how much was changed?  Admiral Ironbombs wrote a worthwhile review here.

Fred Saberhagen’s best known work.

And one of the few Frank Herbert novels I have not read…

Thoughts and comments are always welcome.

1. England Swings SF: Stories of Speculative Fiction, ed. Judith Merril (1968)

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(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CL (Ballard + Lafferty + Aldiss + Budrys)

My first David Pelham cover graces a peerless Ballard collection.  I’ve reviewed the following Ballard collections: Billenium (1962) and The Voices of Time and Other Stories (1962).

And Aldiss’ most radical work (Barefoot in the Head (1969) might be the other choice for this distinction)?

In the past Budrys has not intrigued in the slightest—The Falling Torch (1959) was a bland alien invasion novel with a contemporary political message and Michaelmas (1976) turned a promising premise into a naive vision of absolute power wielded for absolute good.  But, short stories often give another avenue into an author’s oeuvre…

And more Lafferty—never pass them up in used bookstores, even if you do not appreciate his odd brand of SF, they are certainly worth a pretty penny…

Thoughts on this selection?

1. The Terminal Beach, J. G. Ballard (1964)

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(David Pelham’s cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: The Best SF Stories From New Worlds, ed. Michael Moorcock (1967)

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(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition)

4/5 (collated rating: Good)

Fresh off of Langdon Jones’ wonderful New Wave collection The Eye of the Lens (1972) I decided to see if any of my unread anthologies contained his work—queue The Best SF Stories From New Worlds (1967).  Unfortunately, Jones’ contribution is far from the best in this absolutely stellar collection.

This 1967 volume was the first in a series of eight Best Of New Worlds anthologies edited by Michael Moorcock between 1967-1974.  I reviewed The Best SF Stories From New Worlds 3 (1968)—i.e. the one with Pamela Zoline’s must-read “The Heat Death of the Universe” (1967)—a while back.

The takeaway: The majority of stories in are required reading for fans of New Wave SF and New Worlds magazine.  Find a copy of the anthology with its fantastic Paul Lehr cover or track down Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Max Ernst and his landscapes of decay (on SF/F covers)

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Max Ernst’s Barbarians Marching to the West

Max Ernst (1891-1976) has long been one of my favorite artists.  I had no idea, until browsing through the Penguin SF cover images from the 60s, that his art appeared on a variety of SF/F novels and related literature/nonfiction….  Yes, I had seen the memorable cover for J. G. Ballard’s The Crystal World (1966) [below] but I had not put the two together.

My favorite is without a doubt the use of Ernst’s awe-inspiring Europe After the Rain II (1940-42) for J. G. Ballard’s collection of stories, Memories of the Space Age (1988).  The malaise generated by his landscapes of decay combined with the sheer power of Ballard’s visions evoke are almost palpable shudders of joy…

There are a handful more but I have included most of the 50s to early 80s examples.

And today, April 2nd, is Max Ernst’s birthday!  So, share, if you are so inclined, your favorite of his works of art.  And, feel free to identify any that might appear on the covers below…  Too bad more publishers don’t latch onto the joy that are his collages (do a google search and you will understand).

Enjoy!

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(Max Ernst, Europe After the Rain, cover for the 1988 edition of J. G. Ballard’s Memories of the Space Age, 1988) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIV (Farmer + Anderson + Two Anthologies including Aldiss, Wilhelm, Priest, Disch, etc.)

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).

Thoughts? Comments?

  1. Orbit 12, ed. Damon Knight (1973)

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(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading

Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. CXXV (M. John Harrison + Coney 3x + Anthology + Cooper)

M. John Harrison’s collection The Machine in Shaft Tent (1975) contains one of the more humorous inside flap advertisements I have encountered:

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Don’t worry, I certainly intend to “see tomorrow today!”  I’ll be disappointed if I can’t!

The others are a strange blend…  From Edmund Cooper’s apparently anti-Free Love/60s culture Kronk (1970) to a delightful collection of another one of my favorite years of SF.

Also, I seldom accept advanced reader copies due to my limited time/limited interest in newer SF/and incredible mental block when it comes to, how shall I say it, outside forces guiding my central hobby which tends to take me in a variety of directions solely on whim.  But, Gollancz was nice enough to send me their new omnibus collection of 1970s Michael G. Coney novels (amazon link: US, UK).  Not only did I enjoy Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975) but I recently reviewed and loved Coney’s bizarre and original Friends Come in Boxes (1973).  With two out of two successes it’s hardly like I wouldn’t buy his work on sight anyway (another one of my requirements when accepting AVCs)….  I will review two or three of the novels in the omnibus one at a time over the next few months.

Thoughts?

1. The Machine in Shaft Ten, M. John Harrison (1975)

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(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading

Update: My short article on the topic of “All About the Backlist” for SF Signal’s Mind Meld

I was kindly asked by Andrea over at The Little Red Reviewer to submit an article for SF Signal’s Mind Meld feature (she is also one of their editors).  Along with a cross section of other bloggers/authors and the like, I discussed the range and variety an author’s less famous backlist might have and how it can be a minefield of unrealized potential and financial obligations (think of what John Brunner was writing in the same year as Stand on Zanzibar!).  I wrote about Barry N. Malzberg [original link here]—I am the last contributor.

For those who do not visit SF Signal I have decided to put it on my site as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Tim White’s cover for the 1979 edition

Backlists can be unnerving places. Like the vibrations of residual sounds that gather across the urban landscape in Ballard’s “The Sound-Sweep” (1960), the lists themselves resonate both discordant and dulcet—a deluge of aborted passions, financial desires, experimental tendencies not yet crystalline. Although Clifford D. Simak might produce a Cosmic Engineers (1950), he also invoked a most extraordinary allegorical worldscape in Why Call Them Back from Heaven? (1967) where the promise of immortality (undelivered) causes irrevocable transformations—the living live through life without living waiting for a resurrection where they can finally live. Robert Silverberg might shift entirely, as if on whim, from old-fashioned SF adventure where young Heinlein-esque space boys look for those “cool artifacts that do great things” in Across a Billion Years (1969) to The Man in the Maze (1969), a restless and uneasy rumination on pariahism and filled with delusions of self-martyrdom and all those other uncomfortable emotions we try so Continue reading