Christopher Priest’s An Infinite Summer (1979) clocks in as my second highest rated single-author collection, behind Michael Bishop’s Catacomb Years (1979), so far in the life of my site. I find Priest’s fiction intense and hypnotic.
As Real-Time World (1974) contains a range of Priest’s earliest published short stories, one cannot escape the feel that he is still trying to find his way as an author. Similar indecision characterized his first novel Indoctrinaire (1970). The best stories in the collection revolve around the themes—the complex nature of perception and reality, psychologically unsettled environments and characters, voyeurism and performance—that his later Continue reading Book Review: Real-Time World, Christopher Priest (1974)→
Fresh off Terry Carr’s novel Cirque (1977), I decided to return to his original Universe series of anthologies. I’ve previously reviewed Universe 1 (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.
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!
[The second of four review catch up posts. The first — > here]
1. Catacomb Years, Michael Bishop (1979)
(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1979 edition)
5/5 (collated rating: Masterpiece)
Michael Bishop’s Catacomb Years (1979) takes the form of a complex and multi-layered future history of a single city, the Urban Nucleus of Atlanta, Georgia—entombed/reborn under a vast dome where even the sky is obscured. Over the course of seven short SF works linked by recurring characters (and character references), theme, and chronology Bishop weaves one of the more spectacular future history canvases. This is a future history of a profoundly human scope focusing on transformative junctures in the life of the city from the point of view of a range of the inhabitants—from the old to the young, from technicians to recluses obsessed with bonsai, from teachers to human caregivers of the alien visitors… And most intriguing is Bishop’s willingness to Continue reading Short SF Book Reviews: Michaelmas, Algis Budrys (1976), The Machine in Shaft Ten, M. John Harrison (1975), and Catacomb Years, Michael Bishop (1979)→
I’m continuing my anthology kick (my review of one of them is already up)—a fascinating way to explore the work of lesser known authors who might have produced some quality SF but never had solo collections or novels published. Also, an unknown quantity in Joseph Green… Has anyone read his work? I do think that the Josh Kirby cover is quite evocative although the premise seems ridiculously silly.
Joachim Boaz trembles with excitement as he picked up another work by one of my all time favorite SF authors, Michael Bishop! If only I could convince myself to finally review Catacomb Years (1979) which was downright fantastic…
1. The Mind Behind the Eye (variant title: Gold the Man), Joseph Green (1972)
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1964 edition of Alien Worlds (1964), ed. Roger Elwood)
Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1979 Dutch edition of Greybeard (1964) by Brian W. Aldiss appeared in a collection of SF art Space Wars, Worlds & Weapons (1977). I remember encountering the collection at a used bookstore, perhaps in Philadelphia when I went to visit my grandparents… It terrified me for years. The bizarre metal construct looming over the destroyed world—and most of all, the strange tentacled hands…
Note: A slightly shorter version of this review will appear in Big Sky, # 4 (a fanzine put together by Pete Young).
On the surface, Michael Bishop’s anthropologically inclined science fiction appears deceptively simple. In his first novel and unacknowledged masterpiece A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire (1975), the premise (moving an alien people from a planet) evolves into a vast and complex anthropological tapestry filled with stories within stories creating an almost claustrophobic doubling of characters. In Stolen Faces (1977) the biological mystery of a virulent disease grows, tumor-like, into a brilliantly nightmarish exploration of bodily and societal decay and the gravimetric forces of memory.
What a haul! Three are from numerous previous expeditions to choice used book havens…. And I caved in and bought Malzberg’s The Destruction of the Temple (1974) on abebooks because his seldom reprinted works are hard to find.
Sheckley’s Journey Beyond Tomorrow (1962) is near the top of my reading list. Supposedly one of his best.
And, who can resist Michael Bishop’s magnum opus, No Enemy But Time (1982)?!?
And James White is always solid…
Thoughts? Anything particularly worth reading?
1. The Destruction of the Temple, Barry N. Malzberg (1974)
(Jack Guaghan’s cover for the February 1975 issue of Galaxy, where “Allegiances” was first published)
The tenth and final (at least for now) installment in my guest post series on the science fiction of Michael Bishop comes via Peter S. a longtime commentator on my site. He should start his own SF review site…. His comments (and this review) are greatly appreciated!
He selected the novella “Allegiances” (1975) from the anthology The 1976 Annual World’s Best SF (1976), ed. Donald A. Wollheim he owned (image below)–DOMED CITIES!
The novella was included in Catacomb Years(1979) reviewed by 2thD recently.
Thanks everyone for a successful series. All the comments and contributions are greatly appreciated. I have more plans along these lines for the future!
“Allegiances” (1975) — Michael Bishop
When I come across a Science Fiction anthology, I first check the contents to see if there is anything unusual such as a story by a favorite author that I have not seen before, or maybe a lost gem from an author I was not previously aware of. I also check to see who the editor is, since each editor has their own distinctive way of putting together a collection.