1. A lesser-known novel by Nancy Kress… She remains a complete unknown author to me. I’ve heard high praise for her best-known novel–the Hugo and Nebula-nominated Beggars in Space (1990).
2. In the mid-80s Bluejay Books released a series of illustrated editions of previously published novels and novellas from the likes of Vernor Vinge, Rosel George Brown, and Theodore Sturgeon. As I’ve long respected the work of Norman Spinrad, I tracked down a Bluejay Books edition of his Hugo-nominated novella “Riding the Torch” (1974) with illustrations by Tom Kidd. At first glance the illustrations are not my cup of tea…. but the Spinrad novella has a wonderful premise.
I’ve previously reviewed Spinrad’s meta-fictional masterpiece The Iron Dream (1972) and his worthwhile short story collection The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde (1970).
3. I recent reviewed Charles Sheffield’s novel Sight of Proteus (1978) and was impressed enough to track down a short story collection. Unfortunately my copy is rather battered, obfuscating my absolute favorite Attila Hejja SPACE SCENE cover!
4. Post-apocalyptic nightmares where survivors are forced to live inside radiation suits? Yes! Raving preacher promising deliverance if survivors leave their radiation suits? Yes! Probability of novel being a “lost” masterpiece? Close to zero.
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Enjoyed? Hated?
1. An Alien Light, Nancy Kress (1988)
(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1st edition) Continue reading
Little pleases me more than reading the fascinating cross-section of the genre presented by anthologies from my favorite era of SF (1960s/70s). After the success that was World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (variant title: World’s Best Science Fiction: Third Series) (1967), ed. Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr, I decided to browse my “to post” pile of recent acquisitions and share a handful with you all. As is often the case, the collections are peppered with stories I’ve already read—I’ve linked the relevant reviews.
Filled with authors I haven’t read yet—Stephen Tall, Robin Scott, Roderick Thorp, Jean Cox, Christopher Finch, etc.
…and of course, many of my favorites including Gene Wolfe, Ursula Le Guin, Barry N. Malzberg, and Kate Wilhelm (among many many others).
Scans are from my collection.
1. The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972)
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading
At last, inspired to make a cover art post! [list of art posts]
Thanks to my frequent commentator Peter S, I followed up on his suggestion to take a peek at Jack Gaughan’s 1969 cover for the Walker & Co. edition of James White’s All Judgement Fled (1968)—and was blown away by some of the other works in his art sequence for the press.
Jack Gaughan’s covers for Walker & Co. between 1969-1970 showcase some of his more surrealist inclinations. Beautiful, often minimalistic, evocative… Some famous novels are graced by his covers: James Blish’s A Case of Conscience (1958), Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris (1961), Silverberg’s Nightwings (1968), Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), and Norman Spinrad’s Bug Jack Barron (1969).
Titles in this art sequence without suitable images online: A Gift from Earth (1968), Re-Birth (1955), All Judgement Fled (1968), Trouble with Lichen (1960), The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). If you have any in your collection I’d love to see them!
Many of these covers have wrap-around illustrations. If you have one at home I’d love to see a photo of what the back looks like! (post in comments).
(1969 edition of The Wanderer (1964), Fritz Leiber) Continue reading
I like lists! I like reading lists! Here’s my rundown of the best and worst of what I read in 2014.
This year I have tried something new—my first guest post series. My ten post Michael Bishop review series—reviews written by SF bloggers interested in classic SF and frequent readers of my site—hopefully introduced a lot of my frequent readers to one of my favorite (and criminally underrated) authors. My second post series did not transpire solely on my site but stretched to others—what Gollancz Masterworks should include… Thanks for all the wonderful contributions!
Feel free to list your best reads of the year. Maybe I’ll add a few of them to my to read/to acquire list.
…and, if you tend to agree with at least some of my views on SF, read these!
Best SF novel
1. Ice, Anna Kavan (1967): Easily the best novel I have read this year, Kavan weaves a Kafka-esque landscape will touches of J. G. Ballard. Ice, caused by some manmade disaster, is slowly creeping over the world. The unnamed narrator is torn between two forces: returning to his earlier research on jungle dwelling singing lemurs in the southern regions vs. tracking down a young woman about whom he has Continue reading
The Gollancz Masterwork series [list] ranges from famous novels such as Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) to lesser known short story collections such as The Caltraps of Time (1968) by David I. Masson. The Masterwork series has the power to introduce readers to the canonical “best of SF” and works that should be considered classics. Many of the second group have not seen print for decades. Although I have some qualms about certain inclusions, I was genuinely blown away that they recently chose one of my favorite novels The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe (variant title: The Unsleeping Eye) (1973) by D. G. Compton—an underread and unjustly forgotten author.
Over the course of the next week or so a handful of my fellow SF bloggers (most of whom have a focus on earlier SF) will release lists on their sites of SF they would like to see featured by Gollancz. I have not given them any guidelines so the lists should be varied and hopefully will generate some discussion. I highly recommend you head over to their sites (I will post the links as they come in) and comment.
Thoughts + comments are always welcome (as well as your own lists!).
More “What to Include in the Gollancz Masterwork Series” Lists (blog friends)
Chris over at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, and Creased
Megan over at From Couch to Moon
2theD over at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature
Ian Sales over at It Doesn’t Have to be Right…
Jesse over at Speculiction…
2theD over at Tongues of Speculation (his votes regarding translated SF)
Martin over at Martin’s Booklog
My guidelines for inclusion
1. My frequent readers know that I prefer (passionately) SF from the 50s-70s Continue reading
(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1970 edition)
4/5 (collated rating: Good)
A solid collection of seventeen short stories and one novelette by one of my favorite New Wave authors, Norman Spinrad. Although the collection seldom reaches the heights of his inventive and original alt-history novel The Iron Dream (1972), The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde (1970) is still a wonderful showcase of his earliest short fiction. However, Spinrad’s relentlessly bleak outlook on Earth’s future will not appeal to all SF readers. I only recommend the collection for fans of experimental late 60s SF, the New Wave movement, and bleak satires of societal ills (count me in!).
The best include: “Technicality” (1966), a war against pacifist aliens who wield horrific but non-lethal weapons; “The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde” (1969), an absurdist pastiche of the bastardization of ideology and societal decadence; and “Dead Continue reading
Another wonderful batch including two novellas by Kate Wilhelm in the collection Abyss (1971).
A Norman Spinrad novel, The Men in the Jungle (1967), courtesy of the MPorcius, the proprietor of MPorcius Fiction Log. I sent him a portion of my wall of shame (i.e. worst SF novels) and got a few worthwhile ones in return…
Another Vance novel courtesy of MPorcius as well—one of the Demon Prince novels. Do I have to read them in order?
And Brian N. Ball’s first novel, Sundog (1965). I thought Singularity Station (1973) was unadulterated pulp fun.
So the Spinrad novel critiques pulp and Ball revels in pulp…
1. Abyss, Kate Wilhelm (1971)
(Lou Feck’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading
I’m a proponent of book store traveling (travel where bookstores are the first target). Two Half Price Books and a quality independent used books store yielded what will be the first of many acquisition posts of worthy SF.
Who could resist a $5 signed copy of Spinrad’s masterpiece Bug Jack Barron (1967)? Or a normally pricey edition of Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) for $2? And some Vonnegut, Jr. and a quality anthology containing the best of New Worlds….
1. Bug Jack Barron, Norman Spinrad (serialized 1967)
(Alex Gnidziejko’s cover for the 1969 edition) Continue reading
Dawn Treader bookstore haul part II [part I]! A batch of my favorite authors: Norman Spinrad, Joanna Russ, Barry N. Malzberg, and C. M. Kornbluth. Two novels and two short story collections!
…and some fun covers.
1. No Direction Home, Norman Spinrad (1975)
(Charles Moll’s cover for the 1975 edition)
From the back cover: “A GHASTLY WORLD… AN ULTIMATE ORGASM… A COSMIC NIGHTMARE… Bone-chilling, mind-shattering science fiction that will take you Continue reading