Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CVIII (Malzberg + Bishop + Sheckley + White)

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)

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading

Guest Post: “Allegiances,” Michael Bishop (1975)

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(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!


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“Allegiances” (1975) — Michael Bishop

Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1976 edition of The 1976 Annual World’s Best SF (1976), ed. Donald A. Wollheim

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.

My impression of the many anthologies that Donald Wollheim (1914 – 1990) worked on is that they are always of interest. I expect the majority of the stories in any given collection to be very good, most will be mainstream Hard Science Fiction Continue reading

Guest Post: “The Quickening,” Michael Bishop (1981)

(Roger Zimmerman’s cover for Universe 11 (1981), first place of publication for “The Quickening”)

My ninth installment of my guest post series on The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop comes via Max (twitter: @MaxCarnduff) at the fiction (and occasionally SF/F) review site Pechorin’s Journal.  His incredibly erudite review of  Anna Kavan’s Ice (1967) is the reason I have not tried to review the work myself….  Follow him on twitter and check out his site!

For this series he selected the novelette “The Quickening” (1981) which won the Nebula for Best Novelette (1982) (one of the two Nebula wins Bishop has under his belt) and was nominated for the Hugo for best novelette that same year.  The novelette appears in Bishop’s most recent retrospective collection put out by Subterranean Press, The Door Gunner and Other Flights of Fancy (2012) that desperately needs an eBook/Kindle version!



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“The Quickening” (1981)

When Joachim approached me about participating in his series of guest reviews of works by Michael Bishop I was delighted, but worried I wouldn’t be able to get a review to him on time (work, life, that sort of thing).

Well, I was right on both counts. I was right to be delighted because Michael Bishop’s a writer with real talent Continue reading

Guest Post: Catacomb Years, Michael Bishop (1979)


(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1979 edition)

The eighth (!) installment in my Michael Bishop Guest post series comes via my longtime fellow SF blogger/friend (well, multiple years) 2theD (twitter:@SFPotPourri) at PotPourri of Science Fiction Literature.  And this is a darn good linked collection of Bishop stories.

I highly recommend you check out 2theD’s blog, follow him on twitter, peruse his large collection of reviews…

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All cities are built on voiceless narratives

Collated rating: 5/5

Buying Michael Bishop’s Catacomb Years was a wise investment, albeit an impulse buy at the second-hand bookstore. This is the only Bishop novel, or collection, I own. Originally, it was going to stay stacked in my to-be-read pile for 3-4 years in the future (hey, I have a lot of catching up to do in my library) but the alluring cover proved  too much… that and Joachim Boaz manhandled me from 8,700 miles away into reading it for his collection of guest posts on the work of Michael Bishop.

You’d be a dullard if you weren’t initially struck by either the premise or the cover art: As history barrels forward in a the manner of a drunkard, American cities like Atlanta eventually cap themselves in domes under the idea of Preemptive Isolation, only to suffer the pangs of dying from its onset Continue reading

Guest Post: Blooded on Arachne (selections), Michael Bishop (1982)


(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1982 edition)

The seventh installment of my guest post series on the SF of Michael Bishop comes via Carl V. Anderson (twitter: @SteelDroppings) over at the SF/F site Stainless Steel Droppings.  Although he does not often review older SF he was excited to participate in my project.  We decided to split Bishop’s first collection of short stories, Blooded on Arachne (1982).  Although he found a few of the stories rather hit or miss, he was blown away by “In Chinistrex Fortronza the People are Machines” 5/5 among others.  Check out Carl’s worthwhile site (for example, posts on the new Hugo art nominees, Andre Norton reviews etc. etc. etc.)

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Blooded on Arachne (1982)–Michael Bishop

When Joachim Boaz asked me to join a group to guest post about author Michael Bishop, I jumped at the opportunity despite my overwhelming schedule. I had not been doing much short story reading, and the proposition of exploring work from an author I had not read…admittedly don’t recall ever having heard of…excited me. Of course there was more to it than that. Having followed Joachim’s site for several years and knowing his passion Continue reading

Guest Post: A Little Knowledge, Michael Bishop (1977)

(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1978 edition)

The sixth installment of my The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop guest post series was graciously provided by Heloise over at Heloise Merlin’s Weblog.  She is a long time fan of Michael Bishop’s work and we have engaged in numerous (fruitful) discussions of his work—including whether or not the first version of A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire (1975) is superior to his complete rewrite Eyes of Fire (1980).

Heloise purposefully chose one of Bishop’s lesser known novels.  But, from the review, A Little Knowledge (1977) has been wrongly ignored: “even though [A Little Knowledge] never leaves this single place on Earth, in the end Bishop’s novel manages to give more of a sense of what it means for humans to live in a vast, largely unexplored universe than most novels that are filled with large spaceships and far-future technologies.”

I plan acquiring a copy ASAP.

Visit Heloise’s site! Enjoy!  Comment!

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A Little Knowledge (1977)—Michael Bishop

Michael Bishop’s Urban Nucleus sequence (consisting of the novel A Little Knowledge and the stories collected in Catacomb Years) is unusual among his early works in that it is not an anthropological Science Fiction novel; unlike books like A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire or And Strange at Ecteban the Trees, while reading A Little Knowledge, one is not so much reminded of Ursula K. LeGuin but it rather seems influenced by Philip K. Dick – and not by his largely consensual novels like Ubik or The Man in the High Castle, but his Continue reading

Guest Post: Brighten to Incandescence (selections), Michael Bishop (2003)

(Jamie Bishop’s cover for the 2003 edition)

The fourth installment of my The Science Fiction of Michael Bishop guest post series was written by MPorcius (twitter: @hankbukowsi) at MPorcius Fiction Log—a valued and longtime commentator on my site.  I have procured quite a few books due to his quality reviews which I highly recommend perusing.  Check out his site (especially if you like classic SF)!

Over the course of this series we moved from Michael Bishop’s most well known novella (“Death and Designation Among the Asadi“) to his novels (Brittle Innings, No Enemy but Time) and now to an intriguing collection of lesser known short SF and non-genre stories.

MPorcius decided to only focus on the SF in Brighten to Incandescence but points out that all the stories in the collection are worth reading!



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Brighten to Incandescence (2003) — Michael Bishop

Brighten to Incandescence, published by Golden Gryphon Press in 2003, is Michael Bishop’s seventh collection of stories. In the final chapter of the book, a series of notes on the stories, Bishop explains that he and the people at Golden Gryphon initially were thinking of putting out a Best Of volume, then decided to publish a collection of previously uncollected pieces instead. What we have in Brighten to Incandescence, then, are 17 stories, many of which were passed over for inclusion in previous collections for years or even decades; these stories probably do not represent Bishop’s best or most salable work.

Happily, the stories are all worth Continue reading

Guest Post: No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop (1982)


(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1983 edition)

The third installment of my Guest Post Series on Michael Bishop’s SF was written by Megan (twitter: @couchtomoon) over at the relatively new but completely worthwhile SF review site From Couch to the Moon.  She’s already put together a substantial list of delightful reviews.  Megan selected Bishop’s single most famous and Nebula award-winning novel, No Enemy But Time (1982)—and sadly, one of few books of his still in print.  Along with Transfigurations (1979), it was republished and selected for the Gollancz Masterwork [list].

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No Enemy But Time (1982) — Michael Bishop

Coming out of Bishop’s 1982 Nebula award winning novel, No Enemy But Time, is like coming out of a time travel trance: the experience is jarring, hazy, and unwelcome. Bishop sweeps the reader into his world—humanity’s distant past—and paints a primitive African landscape dappled with hippos, hyenas, and volcanoes, but lush Continue reading

Guest Post: Brittle Innings, Michael Bishop (1994)


(Paul Swenson’s cover for the 2012 edition)

The second installment of my guest post series on Michael Bishop’s SF is the critically acclaimed Brittle Innings (1994) (Nominated for the 1994 Hugo + Won the 1995 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel)—his last published genre novel.  In the words of the wonderful James Harris—over at Auxiliary Memory—who wrote the following review, “Brittle Innings is Flannery O’Connor mashed up with Mary Shelley, and a dash of A League of Their Own.”  Make sure to check out his site [here] where he discusses writing, science fiction, movies, and definitely track down his best SF novels of the each decade lists!

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Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop:  Literary v. Genre Fiction

Stories about minor league baseball always have to deal the ambition of making it big, of going to the show, and playing for the majors.  Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop is a baseball novel by a science fiction writer, and I can’t help but wonder if this novel isn’t about writing in the minor leagues hoping to make it big in the literary majors Continue reading