1. A complete unknown! As is frequently the case, I discovered it during a lengthy Internet Speculative Fiction Database browse a few weeks back. I’m not sure what to expect. Although the back cover is problematic –“In danger of losing her sanity, her virginity, and even her life”–is her sanity less important than her virginity? Who knows.
2. John Brunner short stories! He’s a favorite and I buy his collections on site.
A few John Brunner short fictions I’ve particularly enjoyed:
3. In my late teens I read every Dune novel I could get my hands on—including those written by Frank Herbert’s son Brian (I don’t remember being impressed). And yes, I’ve decided to read some of Brian Herbert’s non-Dune related SF.
4. I’ve enjoyed the two Marta Randall novels I’ve reviewed.
Might as well grab the last one I didn’t own? Right? It’s the sequel to Journey (1978).
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Pzyche, Amanda Hemingway (aka Jan Siegel) (1982)
(Uncredited cover for the 1982 edition) Continue reading
Preliminary note: This is the fourth post in a series of vintage generation ship short fiction reviews. All of the stories I’ll review are available online. 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: J. G. Ballard’s “Thirteen to Centaurus” in the April 1962 issue of Amazing Stories, ed. Cele Goldsmith (link).
Previously: Judith Merril’s “Wish Upon a Star” in the December 1958 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Robert P. Mills
I’ve compiled a helpful list on the theme.
(Brian Lewis’ cover for the December 1957 issue of Science Fantasy, ed. John Cornell)
4.75/5 (Near Masterpiece)
Our generation ship short story series continues with a gem! John Brunner’s “Lungfish” (1957) appeared in the December 1957 issue of Science Fantasy, ed. John Cornell. It also appeared in the 1972 collection Entry to Elsewhen which I reviewed back in 2010. “Lungfish” was the only worthwhile story in the collection and I was eager to give it a reread!
John Brunner wrote thought-provoking Continue reading
Post-academia depression hits hard…. While completing my PhD (defended in the summer of 2017), reading SF and writing about SF was the way I kept sane. After multiple mostly unsuccessful years on the academic market, I have changed gears career-wise (although I’m still affiliated with a university and teaching college-level history courses but without the research component) and it has been a liberating experience. My history obsessions remain, even stronger in many ways, and academic monographs on all the topics that I wanted to read about but never could—Hellenistic successor states to Alexander, Early Islam, Late Antique and Medieval Persia, etc.–have dominated my time and pocketbook 2018 (don’t ask how much I’ve spent). I have included a “Best Academic History Reads of 2018” section for the curious.
At the beginning of November, I was moments from announcing that I was on hiatus for the foreseeable future. However, I have fallen back in love with SF and writing about SF and the new year beckons!
All of this is to say, I read little SF this year–until last month. However, there were a handful of stand-out SF novels and short stories that I managed to squeeze in.
And please list your favorite vintage (or non-vintage) SF reads of the year. I look forward to reading your comments.
…and read lots of good books in 2019. I will.
Best SF Novels Continue reading
(Don Dixon’s cover art for the 1st edition of The Crucible of Time (1983), John Brunner)
This post is about a Don Dixon SF space art cover that gives me nostalgic chills. But first, a rumination….
As with so many new readers, my first science fiction adventures–almost a decade and a half ago–followed the Hugo Awards closely and the back catalogue of the established male “masters” (often those whom my dad remembered reading in his childhood–Heinlein, Clarke, Brunner, Herbert, Pohl, Anderson, etc.). And boy did John Brunner feature heavily! I read everything of his I could get my hands on. From the genius that STILL is Stand on Zanzibar (1968)–my first New Wave SF novel–to the half-hearted pulpy adventures (Born under Mars, Meeting at Infinity) that scream paycheck. These novels were some of my first reviewed works on my site (John Brunner review list below). As my readers know, my tastes have changed radically as my willingness and knowledge of lesser known authors and/or “unpopular” authors expands as I read more along the edges. Brunner’s radical New Wave SF (and at some degree his short fiction) remains a constant.
All of this is to say that it’s unsurprising that Don Dixon’s cover art Continue reading
(Serge Clerc’s cover for the 1977 edition of The Dramaturges of Yan (1972), John Brunner)
Joachim Boaz compiling a post about SF comic book art? Wait. Wait. That can’t be, I remember reading in a comment months ago that he hasn’t opened a comic book once in his entire life. Oh, that makes more sense, the French artist Serge Clerc, who worked for Métal Hurlant early in his career, also created SF covers….
…and they are quite fun in their wacky way. In 1977 for the French Presses de la Cité – Futurama, Serge Clerc created eight covers–gracing works by Brunner, Octavia Butler, E. C. Tubb, and James Gunn–of which I’ve included seven in this post. My favorite is his 1977 edition of John Brunner’s Continue reading
(From the uncredited cover for the 1975 edition of The Invincible (1964), Stanislaw Lem)
I’ve updated the website template (and purchased the domain name) and would like to know if it is easy to navigate (especially on mobile devices). Obviously I can’t please everyone but hope that it is more streamlined and 2017 than before.
I started Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations way back in 2010. My first post bashed John Brunner’s Born Under Mars (1967) in vaguely substantive terms (sometimes I think about deleting my earliest reviews). Since then I have written some 300 odd review reviews, 114 cover art posts, and various film reviews, indices, lists, guest post series, an interview, etc. With all of this in mind, I thought I’d give you a sense of what is on the horizon.
Reminder: If you’re the emailing rather than commenting sort I can be reached at ciceroplatobooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
The Three Major Projects
1) I’m in the process of compiling a resource page for Barry N. Malzberg that would include links to reviews/interviews/academic articles from around the web. Let me know if there are any links you would like me to include. Even if you aren’t a Barry N. Malzberg fan, if you happen to come across in your SF perambulations any relevant information I’d be very appreciative if you’d send them my way.
2) This will appeal to far more readers. Over the last few years I’ve been slowly working my way towards a “My Favorite 1970s SF Novels List.” Continue reading
(From Piers Anthony’s Macroscope (1969), 224)
First we must honor the book sacrificed in the making of this post: the spine of my Picador 1977 edition of Martin Bax’s The Hospital Ship (1976) needs some drastic surgery (glue) after I attempted to scan its dark interior….
As of late I’ve been fascinated by pseudo-knowledge in science fiction and speculative fiction–the scholarly afterward in The Iron Dream (1972), the real medical citations in The Hospital Ship (1976), the invented medical citations in Doctor Rat (1976), and “diagrammatic” SF covers filled with maps or anthropological diagrams.
Whatever form it takes, pseudo-knowledge—perhaps derived from our world or even “real” knowledge in our world modified and inserted into another imaginary one—adds, at the most basic level, a veneer of veracity. The most obvious category, and the one I am least interested in, is scientifically accurate Continue reading
(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1968 edition)
3.25/5 (Vaguely Good)
To move past my variegated obsessions regarding William Kotzwinkle’s Doctor Rat (1976) (review + list of imaginary scientific articles), I decided to reread a lesser known John Brunner novel. I cannot pinpoint exactly when I first read Bedlam Plant (1968), other than before I started my site, but it holds up as a moody biological mystery with mythological undertones as colonists confront their deceptive new world.
This isn’t Stand on Zanzibar (1968), Shockwave Rider (1975), The Sheep Look Up (1972), or The Jagged Orbit (1969), but it left me wishing that Brunner applied his Continue reading
Dear readers, thank you all profusely for your comments, words of thanks, and emails over the year. It is my overarching goal to inspire you all to read more SF from the 50s-70s, dust off the boxes of your parents’ books in some forgotten closet, browse the shelves at your local used book store (or favorite online store), reflect on the often fascinating cover art…
2016 was not the most productive reading/reviewing year as my PhD dissertation defense date rapidly approaches. For the purposes of maintaining my sanity, reading and writing about SF remains my primary relaxation hobby—surprising perhaps as I read a lot of depressing SF that wouldn’t be “relaxing” for most people. According to Megan at From Couch to Moon I like my fiction “moody, broody, meta, and twisted.”
And other than a few satires here and there, my favorite SF reads of 2016 fit firmly within Megan’s descriptors.
- The Affirmation, Christopher Priest (1981)
- The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (variant title: The War of Dreams), Angela Carter (1972). Review forthcoming
- The Dream Millennium, James White (serialized 1973, novel 1974)
- The Committed Men, M. John Harrison (1971)