Short Story Reviews: Lee Killough’s “Caveat Emptor” (1970), “Caravan” (1972), and “Sentience” (1973)

While travelling to visit my family in Texas, I stopped at the original Half Price Books location in Dallas. I procured a giant pile of vintage SF that I’ll feature in the upcoming year in my acquisition posts, including a signed copy (for $3) of Lee Killough’s A Voice Out of Ramah (1979). I realized that I’ve only read Killough’s “Bête et Noir” (1980) and, as is my wont, decided to start with her first three published pieces of short fiction before diving into a novel. As these are her first published works, I suspect she has not found her best form.


“Caveat Emptor” (1970), 2.5/5 (Bad): First appeared in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, ed. John Campbell, Jr. (May 1970). You can read it online here. Equine Andvarian aliens pilot a trading vessel across the Commonwealth. Soon after first contact, a young human woman named Danae learns their language and customs on board their vessel. Danae sets up a trade meeting with the business conglomerate Galiol, a member of the Federation, whom she represents (109). Killough posits that megacompanies, driven by profit, will drive humanity’s expansion outward. The climax of the story features economic gamesmanship as the head of Galiol attempts to take advantage of the newly contacted alien species. But both get what they want in the end. Business is business for humans and aliens…

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Book Review: Universe 10, ed. Terry Carr (1980) (Lafferty + Bishop + Tiptree, Jr., Waldrop, et al.)

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(Uncredited cover for the 1982 edition)

3.5/5 (collated rating: Good)

Fresh off Terry Carr’s novel Cirque (1977), I decided to return to his original Universe series of anthologies.  I’ve previously reviewed Universe (1971) and Universe 2 (1972).  As with the majority of SF anthologies, Universe 10 (1980) is sprinkled with both good and bad.  I selected it from the veritable sea of anthologies on my shelves due to the presence of authors I wish to explore further and those who are foreign to me: Michael Bishop and James Tiptree, Jr. in the former category; Lee Killough, Howard Waldrop, Carter Scholz, and F. M. Busby in the latter.

Michael Bishop’s “Saving Face”, James Tiptree, Jr.’s “A Source of Innocent Merriment,” and Carter Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXIII (Simak + Moore + Universe Anthology + Lewin)

I had a choice, one of the worst SF covers I have ever seen vs. a standard Richard Powers cover. Despite my undying Powers love, I chose the worst (weird white face bathed in purple/pink strangeness)…. you know…. a conversation starter? As I have read little of Simak’s non-novel SF, I was quite happy to I come across one of his collections at the local bookstore.

Ward Moore’s 1953 alt-history classic fetches quite the price online. Perhaps due to a renewed interest as it was recently published in the Gollancz Masterwork series. Regardless, I found a 70s edition (alas, a bland cover) for a few dollars. I’ve been listening to his humorous satire of salesmen Greener Than You Think (1947) as an ebook while at the gym and thought I’d give his most famous novel a go…

My Universe anthology series grows and grows–and, this one contains authors new to me, including Howard Waldrop, F. M. Busby, and Lee Killough.

Thoughts/comments welcome!  I doubt many will support my choice of picking the hideous cover over Powers, but, I can submit a picture of it to our esteemed purveyor of trash covers, Good Show, Sir!

1. Bring the Jubilee, Ward Moore (1953)

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(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading