As always, which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Strength of Stones, Greg Bear (1981)
From the back cover: “Ages ago this world was named God-Does-Battle. No one remembers wh. It was colonized in the most up-to-date way possible, supplied with the best Cities ever built by Robert Kahn. Huge laboratories labored for decades to produce the right combinations of plant, animal, and machine, and to fit them into the right design. The result was magnificent; living Cities, able to regenerate broken parts, to produce food on demand, and medicine, and clothing. so careful, so advanced was Robert Kahn that he even built into his Cities the ability to protect their inhabitants; to sense the presence of the occasional person whose potential for violence or cruelty made him a threat to society, to remove him from the City, and to erect walls of needle-sharp crystal to be sure he did not return.
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 →
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.
Michael Bishop’s“Saving Face”, James Tiptree, Jr.’s “A Source of Innocent Merriment,” and Carter Continue reading →
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 →
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…
…hence, today’s themed art post!
Tentacles and Other Strange Appendages.
I have a confession: I am warming to the art of Charles Moll—1974 edition of New Dimensions 3 ed. Continue reading →
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.
Bishop’s Hugo- and Nebula-nominated novella, “Death and Designation Among the Asadi” ( Continue reading →