Tag Archives: paperbacks

Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 2/18/19 — David Brin’s Sundiver (1980)

Monday Maps and Diagrams 2/18/19

Today’s diagram comes from David Brin’s first novel in the Uplift sequence, Sundiver (1980). I remember virtually nothing from the novel (I must have been 15 when I read it), although, I was intrigued enough to read ALL the sequels. The years have sequestered them to the “I enjoyed them as a kid but probably wouldn’t enjoy them now” category. This series on maps and diagrams was a nostalgic journey…. leafing through the pages of tomes I had long forgotten.

The diagram in Sundiver is a vehicle to descend below the surface of the sun. As with so many diagrams and maps, I’m unsure if it is needed or adds to the reading experience. But like a gorgeous cover, the image draws you in…. and suggests grand adventures and fascinating worlds.

The artist is David Perry.

The Diagram (click to enlarge)

Citation: Hi-res scan of my personal copy of the diagram from the 1983 Bantam edition of David Brin’s Sundiver (1980) [click for larger image]. Continue reading Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 2/18/19 — David Brin’s Sundiver (1980)

Book Review: The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin (1972)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1976 edition)

4.25/5 (Very Good)

Won the 1973 Hugo for Best Novella. Nominated for the 1973 Nebula for Best Novella.

In November 1969, word of the My Lai Massacre (March 16, 1968), where American soldiers killed (and raped and mutilated) between 347-504 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians, reached American newspapers. Ronald L. Haeberle’s iconic (and horrifying) photograph of massacred children and adults–superimposed with, “Q. And babies? A. and babies,” the chilling lines from NBC’s interview with massacre participant Paul Meadlo–was transformed into the “most successful poster” opposing the Vietnam War by the Art Workers Coalition. Ursula K.  Le Guin brilliantly channels this general anti-war anger, transposed to an alien local with colonizing humans as villains, in The Word for World is Forest (1972). Continue reading Book Review: The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin (1972)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCIII (Holdstock + Attanasio + Conrad + Abe)

1. While browsing through various New Dimension anthologies I’ve procured recently (stay tuned for an all New Dimension post), I found a few names that I hadn’t heard of… I impulsively purchased A. A. Attanasio’s first novel–nominated for the 1982 Nebula Award.

2. I’ve read and reviewed a few short stories and novels by Robert Holdstock over the years. Eye Among the Blind (1976) had promise. And before I jump into his most famous works, I thought I’d explore more of his short stories first.

3. More Japanese SF in translation! This novel takes place in a vast underground hospital complex. COUNT ME IN!

4. Not sure what possessed me to grab this Curtis Books edition of an author those stories were rarely anthologized… oh wait, it included the words “overpopulation.” If you haven’t yet, check out my list of overpopulation-themed SF.

All the images are hi-res scans of my personal copies.

As always, thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.

Enjoy (and happy book buying)!

1. Radix, A. A. Attanasio (1981)

(Fred Marcellino’s cover for the 1981 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCIII (Holdstock + Attanasio + Conrad + Abe)

Book Review: A Man of Double Deed, Leonard Daventry (1965)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1967 edition)

3/5 (Average)

Leonard Daventry’s A Man of Double Deed (1965) is an dark and grungy tale of polyamory, telepathy, and apocalyptical violence. Swinging between philosophical and emotional introspection and awkwardly explained action sequences based on the flimsiest of plots, Daventry’s novel succeeds as a noirish character study but fails as a compelling unity of parts. Continue reading Book Review: A Man of Double Deed, Leonard Daventry (1965)

Book Review: A City in the North, Marta Randall (1976)


(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1976 edition)

3.75/5 (Good)

Marta Randall’s A City in the North (1976), is a work of anthropological SF that focuses on “authentic” relationships between its human and alien characters (see note). A commentary on the societal effects and cultural disconnects between natives, explorers, and colonizers, A City in the North refuses to provide easy answers. Although retreating into an occasional stock evil character to jolt the plot forward, on the whole Randall’s novel intrigues and provokes due to the underlying mysteries of native culture and ritual.  Continue reading Book Review: A City in the North, Marta Randall (1976)

Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 1/21/19 — Larry Niven’s The Integral Trees (1984)

Monday Maps and Diagrams 1/21/19

Larry Niven’s output often revolves around “hard” (and often scientifically impossible–*cough* Ringworld) SF premises. The Integral Trees (serialized 1983) is no different. The action in this Nebula and Hugo Award-nominated novel takes place within a “gas torus, a ring of air around a neutron star.” In my Larry Niven period (late teens) I’m convinced I read this one — and possibly its sequel The Smoke Ring (1987), but I remember little. Same thing goes for Ringworld, which, other than its basic premise, was incredibly bland….

As with last week’s installment, Shelly Shapiro created the interior diagram.

The Diagram (click to enlarge):

Continue reading Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 1/21/19 — Larry Niven’s The Integral Trees (1984)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCI (Le Guin + Van Herck + Leinster + High + Analog Anthology)

1. I’ve acquired quite a few vintage SF novels and short story collections in translation over the last few weeks–here’s one from Paul Van Herck, a Belgian author who wrote in Dutch. Not the cheapest DAW books edition I’ve encountered….

2. I always want more Le Guin…. Here, a series of linked short stories set in a fantasy world.

3. This Analog Annual anthology contains the only publication of P. J. Plauger’s novel Fighting Madness. Plauger won the John Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer before fading from the scene.

4. I love vintage SF. I do not love Ace Doubles. Yes, they published a few PKD novels that are worth reading, but, on the whole, I find their quality quite low. This was a gift from a family friend and one of the very few Ace Doubles I’ve been looking for — mostly due to Philip E. High’s city-themed novel.

As always, enjoy the covers! (they are hi-res scans of my personal copies — click for larger image)

Are any other the works worth reading? Let me know in the comments!

EDIT: I was too harsh on my Ace Doubles comment. I realized, and mentioned in the post and comments below, that they also published early PKD, Samuel Delany, and Barry N. Malzberg novels and short story collections, etc. Due to my low tolerance of pulp, I still find the vast majority of them uninteresting.

1. Where Were You Last Pluterday?, Paul Van Herck (1968, trans. 1973)

(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCI (Le Guin + Van Herck + Leinster + High + Analog Anthology)