Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXL (Vance + Pournelle + Sucharitkul + Crowley)

A more disparate series of SF novels would be hard to come by…. John Crowley has long impressed—The Deep (1975) and Beasts (1976) are highly recommended works of literary SF.  And finally, I have the last one of his 70s novels!

A new author in Somtow Sucharitkul (sometimes known by S. P. Somtow)…

Vance’s most famous work and one of only a handful of supposedly top-tier “classics” I have yet to read…

Pournelle anyone? First work by him as well… Baen book picked up a number of his novels so I don’t have high hopes.


1. Engine Summer, John Crowley (1979)


(Gary Friedman’s cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading

Updates: Year in Review (Top Ten SF Novels + Top Ten Short Stories/Novelettes/Novellas + other categories)

Everyone likes lists!  And I do too….  This is an opportunity to collate some of my favorite (and least favorite) novels and shorter SF works I read this year.  Last year I discovered Barry N. Malzberg and this year I was seduced by…. Well, read and find out.


Top Ten Novels

1. We Who Are About To…, Joanna Russ (1976): A scathing, and underread, literary SF novel by one of the more important feminist SF writers of the 70s (of The Female Man fame).

2. A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire, Michael Bishop (1975): A well-written anthropological clash of cultures novel.  Slow, gorgeous, emotionally engaging….

3. Level 7, Mordecai Roshwald (1959): A strange satire of the bomb shelter…  Everyday surrealism. Continue reading

Book Review: Beasts, John Crowley (1976)


(John Cayea’s cover for the 1976 edition)

4.5/5 (Very Good)

“‘They want to kill us all, you know.  They’re trying […].  The government.  Men.  You.’  Still his eyes searched hers. ‘We’re no use to them.  Worse than useless.  Poachers.  Thieves.  Polygamists.  We won’t be sterilized.  There’s no good in us.  We’re their creation, and they’re phasing us out.  When they can catch us'” (33).

While reading John Crowley’s Beasts (1976) I was reminded of the life of Stephan Bibrowski (1891-1932) à la Lionel the Lion-faced Man.  Stephan was afflicted with hypertrichosis (most likely) which caused his entire body to be covered with hair.  His mother was so horrified at his appearance  — which she believed was caused because she saw her husband mauled by a lion while she was pregnant Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXXIX (Priest + Brunner + Crowley + Wallace + Duncan)

Ah, what a delightful group! A few from my father, a few from Marx books which I hadn’t posted yet….  Priest and Crowley’s novels involve fascinating worldscapes — a world winched across the horizon, a world at the top of a pillar…  Both are considered among the better stylists in science fiction and fantasy.

And, my 22nd (?) Brunner novel!  The Stone That Never Came Down (1973) — from his glory period of the late 60s-early 70s (this period produced Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, Shockwave Rider, The Jagged Orbit).

And two more impulsive finds — Ian Wallace’s Croyd (1967) — a reader claimed it was one of the best sci-fi novels of the 60s, and thus due to my intense curiosity, I had to find a copy.  And Dark Dominion (1954), I know little about David Duncan — he wrote only three sci-fi novels in the 50s.  His work is described by SF encyclopedia as “quietly eloquent, inherently memorable, worth remarking upon.”

And the covers!

1. The Inverted World, Christopher Priest (1974)

(Jack Fargasso’s cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading