Updates: Recent Acquisitions No. CXXV (M. John Harrison + Coney 3x + Anthology + Cooper)

M. John Harrison’s collection The Machine in Shaft Tent (1975) contains one of the more humorous inside flap advertisements I have encountered:


Don’t worry, I certainly intend to “see tomorrow today!”  I’ll be disappointed if I can’t!

The others are a strange blend…  From Edmund Cooper’s apparently anti-Free Love/60s culture Kronk (1970) to a delightful collection of another one of my favorite years of SF.

Also, I seldom accept advanced reader copies due to my limited time/limited interest in newer SF/and incredible mental block when it comes to, how shall I say it, outside forces guiding my central hobby which tends to take me in a variety of directions solely on whim.  But, Gollancz was nice enough to send me their new omnibus collection of 1970s Michael G. Coney novels (amazon link: US, UK).  Not only did I enjoy Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975) but I recently reviewed and loved Coney’s bizarre and original Friends Come in Boxes (1973).  With two out of two successes it’s hardly like I wouldn’t buy his work on sight anyway (another one of my requirements when accepting AVCs)….  I will review two or three of the novels in the omnibus one at a time over the next few months.


1. The Machine in Shaft Ten, M. John Harrison (1975)


(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: Friends Come in Boxes, Michael G. Coney (1973)

(John Holmes’ cover for the 1973 edition)

4.25/5 (Good)


Michael G. Coney’s focus on everyday struggles—the normal minutiae of life—reached wonderful heights in the lyrical paean to youth and youthful travails Hello Summer, Goodbye (variant title: Rax) (1975).  While the true import of Hello Summer, Goodbye‘s narrative only slowly unfurls as the young man comes of age and perceives more about his world, the world of  Friends Come in Boxes (1973) relentlessly writhes and boils as each main character is compelled to commit a crime Continue reading

Book Review: Hello Summer, Goodbye (variant title: Rax), Michael G. Coney (1975)

(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1975 edition)

4.5/5 (Very Good)

Michael G. Coney’s Hello Summer, Goodbye (variant title: Rax) (1975) — often considered a minor classic of the genre — is a lyrical paean to young love arrayed against a backdrop of a world filled with increasingly sinister undercurrents, unusual (and fantastic) fauna and flora, and characters we connect with in deeply emotional ways.  I am the first to admit that I am intensely suspicious of SF labeled thusly: “This is a love story, and a way story, and a science fiction store, and more besides” (authors note).  However, the “love story” elements are so delicately wrought and unfold naturally without undue melodramatic flair that I was smitten with the characters and felt for their struggles.

Welcome to an alien world where anomie trees Continue reading