Tag Archives: paperbacks

Book Review: A Rose for Armageddon, Hilbert Schenck (1982)

(Don Maitz’s cover for the 1982 edition)

2.75/5 (Vaguely Average)

Hilbert Schenck’s A Rose for Armageddon (1982) postulates that in the near future a complex computer program (“Archmorph”) will be able to predict political and social trends as “conflict was [and will be] pattern-determined” (26). Filled with references to the turbulent 1970s (Vietnam protests, campus unrest, the 1979 energy crisis) and the fear the decade generated, Schenck suggests that a cataclysmic possibility looms.

A Rose for Armageddon treads intriguing grounds in part because it centers on two non-standard individuals (it’s rare to have elderly main characters!): Dr. Elsa Adams, the Louis Agassiz Professor of Analytic Zoology and Dr. Jake Stinson Continue reading Book Review: A Rose for Armageddon, Hilbert Schenck (1982)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCII (Sturgeon + Turner + Schenck + Best of 1973 Anthology)

1. I seldom buy duplicate editions. I originally read Sturgeon’s masterpiece as a teen and I’m unsure where my original 70s edition with a Bob Pepper cover ran off to…. And this perfect condition 1960 edition has glorious Richard Powers art!

2. George Turner—an author I know next to nothing about. I’ve already read 75 pages of his first novel and am absolutely entranced.

3. Hilbert Schenck—another author who is new to me. He published primarily in the early 80s and snagged a few Nebula nominations for his short fiction. His second novel proved to be a dud (I’ll have a review up soon).

4. Why are you buying another Donald A. Wollheim Best Of collection when you’re firmly in the Terry Carr camp of Best Of anthologies? Good question.

That said, I recently reviewed The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF (1972) and it was solid.

Note 1: All images are hi-res scans of my personal copies — click to expand.

Note 2: A diligent Twitter follower indicated that the 1984 edition cover of the Turner novel is Tony Roberts’ work.

Thoughts? Comments? Tangents? All are welcome.

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1. More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (1953)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1960 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCII (Sturgeon + Turner + Schenck + Best of 1973 Anthology)

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: A Nostalgic Piece of Space Art + Rumination

(Don Dixon’s cover art for the 1st edition of The Crucible of Time (1983), John Brunner)

This post is about a Don Dixon SF space art cover that gives me nostalgic chills. But first, a rumination….

As with so many new readers, my first science fiction adventures–almost a decade and a half ago–followed the Hugo Awards closely and the back catalogue of the established male “masters” (often those whom my dad remembered reading in his childhood–Heinlein, Clarke, Brunner, Herbert, Pohl, Anderson, etc.). And boy did John Brunner feature heavily! I read everything of his I could get my hands on. From the genius that STILL is Stand on Zanzibar (1968)–my first New Wave SF novel–to the half-hearted pulpy adventures (Born under Mars, Meeting at Infinity) that scream paycheck. These novels were some of my first reviewed works on my site (John Brunner review list below). As my readers know, my tastes have changed radically as my willingness and knowledge of lesser known authors and/or “unpopular” authors expands as I read more along the edges. Brunner’s radical  New Wave SF (and at some degree his short fiction) remains a constant.

All of this is to say that it’s unsurprising that Don Dixon’s cover art Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Art: A Nostalgic Piece of Space Art + Rumination

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCI (Bob Shaw + James Morrow + Richard E. Peck + Anthology of French SF)

1. An anthology of (primarily) 70s French SF? Yes! New authors (at least to me). New adventures. New perspectives.

2. I’ve never read James Morrow… I might as well start with his first SF novel.

3. Bob Shaw’s “Light of Other Days” (1966) is a brilliant piece of short fiction. And I finally have the novel version. After the relentlessly average Shaw novels I’ve read, I look forward to his acknowledged best.

My other Bob Shaw reviews:

Ground Zero Man (variant title: The Peace Machine) (1971)

One Million Tomorrows (variant title:1 Million Tomorrows) (1971)

The Two-Timers (1968)

4. I bought this virtually unknown Doubleday edition due to the art. First class art. Check out my  exploration of her work: Collage and Mechanism: Anita Siegel’s Art for Doubleday Science Fiction.

Wait, there’s one other reason–I’m slowly collating titles for an “academia in SF” list and I might as well read a few of them.

Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

Note: Hi-res scans are of my personal copies.

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1. Travelling Towards Epsilon, ed. Maxim Jakubowksi (1977)

(Christos Kondeatis’ cover for the 1977 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCI (Bob Shaw + James Morrow + Richard E. Peck + Anthology of French SF)

Updates: Kit Reed (June 7, 1932-September 24, 2017)

(A selection of my Kit Reed collection. Left and Right cover info below. Center cover: Peter Andrew Jones, 1978)

Today I learned on twitter that Kit Reed (1932-2017), one of my favorite SF authors, passed away back in September. Although I only had infrequent conversations with her via twitter, her charm and intelligence always showed through. Her most recent novels included Where (2015) and Mormama (2017) for Tor. I, of course, know her best for her 50s-70s short fiction and Armed Camps (1969), her single SF novel published before the 1980s. Continue reading Updates: Kit Reed (June 7, 1932-September 24, 2017)

Book Review: The Halcyon Drift, Brian Stableford (1972)

(Angus McKie’s cover for the 1976 edition)

2.75/5 (Vaguely Average)

I have not had the best luck with Brian Stableford’s science fiction (albeit, I’m not sure I’ve read a single short story of his). Jesse over at Speculiction… swears (and I believe him!) that Stableford is occasionally capable of intelligent and sustained SF — consult his wonderful review of Man in a Cage (1975). Jesse barely dignifies The Halcyon Drift (1972) with a review. I’m in the same boat (or spaceship?). It took weeks of staring at my battered copy in a pile of other superior “to review” novels to convince myself to put finger to keyboard. How does one approach a bare by the numbers outline of a space opera?

By starting with the plot?

The Prologue forms the most evocative and moody Continue reading Book Review: The Halcyon Drift, Brian Stableford (1972)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXC (Ellison + Burroughs + Walker + Gladman)

1. Harlan Ellison does mystery and horror…. might not get around to this one for a while. What I’ve read of Ellison suggests he might be very good at it!

For example, see my review of his collection Approaching Oblivion (1974) (Ellison also came by an wrote a comment).

2. There is plenty of fascinating contemporary SF/fantasy out there… for anyone who adheres to some narrative of the degradation of genre, you just need to look! Gladman’s novella is case in point. I’m a sucker for any Invisible Cities-esque experiment.

3. The PorPor Books blog mostly enjoyed this environmental SF disaster novel. As it cost less than a dollar, I snatched up a copy.

4. I’ve not read any of William Burroughs’ fiction. Seems like a good place to start. I’m in love with the cover.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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1. No Doors, No Windows, Harlan Ellison (1975)

(Diane and Leo Dillon’s cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXC (Ellison + Burroughs + Walker + Gladman)