Book Review: The 1977 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Arthur W. Saha and Donald A. Wollheim (1977)

(Richard Corben’s cover for the 1977 edition)

4.25/5 (collated rating: Very Good)

The 1977 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wolheim and Arthur S. Saha (1977) is a glorious anthology of SF published from the year before containing rousing works by the established masters (Isaac Asimov and Brian W. Aldiss), philosophical gems from New Wave icons (Barrington J. Bayley), and gritty and disturbing commentaries on masculinity by the newer voices (James Tiptree, Jr.). While Richard Cowper and Lester del Rey misfire, the overall quality is high for a large Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Women SF Illustrators of the 1960s/70s, Part III: The Galassia Covers of Allison, A.K.A. Mariella Anderlini

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(Cover for Galassia #97, January 1969)

Two of my recent Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art posts fit (retroactively) into a linked post series on women SF illustrators from the 1960s/70s—which includes The Diagrammatic Minimalism of Ann Jonas and Donald Crews and Haunting Landscapes and Cityscapes: The 1970s Italian SF Art of Allison A.K.A. Mariella Anderlini.  This post is a continuation of the latter and explores the twelve covers Alison created for Galassia in 1969 that showcase her vivid creativity.

Galassia was one of the primary Italian SF publications for most of the 1960s (consult Michael Ashley’s Transformations: The Story of the Science-fiction Magazines from 1950-1970, 311) and introduced translations of English-language Continue reading

Book Review: Mortals and Monsters, Lester del Rey (1965)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1965 edition)

3.25/5 (collated rating: Average)

Lester del Rey’s collection Mortals and Monsters (1965) — first editions are adorned with a gorgeous collage by the superb Richard Powers — is comprised of eight short stories from the 50s and four from the early 60s.  The collection, as with all but the best collections, is a mixed bag.  ‘The Years Draw Nigh’ (1951) is almost a masterpiece while ‘Recessional’ (1965) is an upsetting exercise in 60s sexism despite the fascinating premise.

I found that a few of the del Rey’s shorts are some of the more blatantly sexist 50s works Continue reading

Book Review: The Eleventh Commandment, Lester del Rey (1962, revised: 1970)

(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1970 edition)

3.5/5 (Good)

Lester del Rey’s The Eleventh Commandment, originally published in 1962, was revised by the author in 1970. I’ve reviewed the 1970 edition — I do not know to what extent the original was changed.

My first exposure to Lester del Rey’s sci-fi bucks the impression of general averageness conveyed by my fellow reviewers.  This work strikes me as a product of the more mature side of del Rey, a move away from his normal space opera YA fare.  In The Eleventh Commandment del Rey explores the religious ramification of overpopulation (see list) concerns of the 50s/60s.  Due to the fact that overpopulation fears gained a lot of currency after the publication of the 1968 bestselling non-fiction work The Population Bomb,  I suspect it provided the impulse for del Rey to rewrite the novel.  Despite the involving premise, the plot is often a Continue reading