Tag Archives: paperbacks

Book Review: Daughters of Earth, Judith Merril (1968)

daughters of earth

(Robert Foster’s cover for the 1970 edition)

4/5 (Good)

Judith Merril was not only an important early science fiction author of novels and short stories but a political activist and a member of the influential 1940s sci-fi group known as the Futurians (members included her husband Frederik Pohl, James Blish, Damon Knight, David A. Wollheim, C. M. Kornbluth, et al.).  Her fascinating collection, Daughters of Earth (1968), contains three novellas from the 1950s: ‘Project Nursemaid’ (1955), the highlight of the collection — ‘Daughters of Earth’ (1952), and the underwhelming ‘Homecalling’ (1956).  

All three contain a plethora of female characters Continue reading Book Review: Daughters of Earth, Judith Merril (1968)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVIII (Ace Doubles: Brunner, Dick, Delany, et al.)

I’m the proud new owner of four ace doubles in remarkable condition!  And considering the general quality of many of the Ace doubles, I consider it quite the haul.  The contents: two early pulp works (of rather dubious quality) by John Brunner (one under his pseudonym Keith Woodcott), one early Philip K. Dick novel, two early Samuel Delany novels, and an assortment of works by lesser known authors (Tom Purdom, Jack Sharkey, and Bruce W. Ronald).  I will devour the Philip K. Dick and John Brunner works — yes, Brunner’s early works are terrible but I’m a Brunner completest which requires a high pain threshold for his pre-Stand On Zanzibar (1968) works.

1. Captives of the Flame/The Psionic Menace (1963), Samuel R. Delany, John Brunner (as Keith Woodcott)

(Cover by Jack Gaughan Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVIII (Ace Doubles: Brunner, Dick, Delany, et al.)

Book Review: The Silent Multitude, D. G. Compton (1966)

(Leo and Diane Dillon’s cover for the 1969 edition)

4.25/5 (Very Good)

“He was out now looking for signs.  He knew how to stay alive.  He was a strangely violent man, to him the fall of the city was some sort of unholy celebration (89).”

The decaying/empty city as allegory: its few post-evacuation occupants (a tramp and his cat, the cathedral’s dean, a young suburban woman, a troubled architect’s son — all well-drawn characters) wander the deserted streets of Gloucester consumed with their own obsessions.  The cement consuming fungus — a vague agent of destruction that severs us from our loci of civilization, our functionalist cityscapes, Continue reading Book Review: The Silent Multitude, D. G. Compton (1966)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVII (Gerrold, Panshin, Shaw, et al.)

My second to last backlog acquisitions post from Spring Break — a fruitful sci-fi hunting adventure indeed!

With my PhD Qualifying exams complete (proposal defense in months and months and months), I will actually get around to posting sci-fi art related (and perhaps get back to my film reviews) and reading my massive to read pile.

Enjoy!

1. Space Skimmer (1972), David Gerrold.  Another author whom I know little about and haven’t read yet.  As a Star Trek fan I know that he submitted the script that became The Trouble With Tribbles…

(Dean Ellis’ cover for Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVII (Gerrold, Panshin, Shaw, et al.)

Updates: My Top 15 Science Fiction Novels from the 1960s

Everyone loves lists!

The 60s produced some of my favorite science fiction works.  Many authors moved away from the technologic naivete of pulp sci-fi and predicted less than positive futures (overpopulation, natural disaster, etc) and attempted to instill a more literary quality to their works.  I’ve cobbled together a top eleven list — I have probably forgotten a slew of amazing works that I read years ago.  Also, I read majority of them before I created my blog and hence do not have reviews — I’ve included a blurb for those without reviews.  I’ve linked those that do.  And, as I have promised before, a review of J. G. Ballard’s masterful The Drowned World (1962) is on the way!

EDIT: Over the course of reading the comments and glancing over my bookshelves I’ve discovered how much I’d forgotten had been written in the 60s (Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, etc).  As a result, I’ll put together a more comprehensive top 20 or so in the near future.

EDIT: 06/26/2015: Because my post is receiving a substantial number of new visitors, I’ve decided to add a few novels I’ve read since I made the initial list three years ago.  Instead of a top 11 it’s now a top 15 in no particular order.

New additions:

Anna Kavan’s Ice (1967) — REVIEW LINK

Robert Sheckley’s Journey Beyond Tomorrow (1962) — REVIEW LINK

Josephine Saxton’s The Hieros Gamos of Sam and An Smith (1969) — REVIEW LINK

Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) — REVIEW LINK

~

Feel free to list your top 11!

Original list:

1. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner (1968) — is by far the best of the overpopulated world genre (for additional works consult my index).  Brunner chronicles a dystopian future society in obsessive and awe-inspiring detail with shreds of newspapers, advertising jingles, quotations from invented books, and even current (60s) events.  Be warned: low on plot, heavy on world building, experimental structure…

(Steele Savage’s cover f Continue reading Updates: My Top 15 Science Fiction Novels from the 1960s

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVI (Malzberg + Wells + Gunn +Pohl)

A nice (varied) selection of finds….

I’ve continued to be on the lookout for Malzberg’s novels and, due to the proliferation of comments by my readers about what is his best, I’ve acquiesced and picked up a copy of his acknowledged masterpiece, Beyond Apollo (1972).  I suspect it will be as good as In The Enclosure (1973).

If there is any area (besides sci-fi from the 21st century) that I haven’t read a good portion of the classics, it’s works from around the turn of the century.  I have read a large swathe of Verne’s works and from beginning of the 20th century  all of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter series — but, only a few of H. G. Wells’ oeuvre (The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine).  So, when I came across a 60s edition of The First Men in the Moon (1901) with a nostalgic looking cover I snatched it up!

The two short story collections are unknown commodities: Frederick Pohl’s In The Problem Pit (1976) and James Gunn’s Station in Space (1958).  I’ve never heard of Gunn and sort of dislike what I’ve read of Pohl so far.  Regardless, both works have intriguing covers!

Enjoy!

1. Beyond Apollo, Barry Malzberg (1972)

(Don Maitz’ cover for Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XXVI (Malzberg + Wells + Gunn +Pohl)

Book Review: The Falling Torch, Algis Budrys (1959)

(Bob Engle’s cover for the 1959 edition)

3.25/5 (Vaguely Good)

A smile, or tears, perhaps.  Tears are easier than laughter.  Tears need no gust of breath, as laughter must though breath is short — tears do not crack the muscles of the back or make the jaws ache when the jaws are sore-gummed from the artificial teeth — yes old men’s or old women’s gentle tears; these too are safe; not grown men’s sobs, but children’s tears;  not children’s tantrum-cries but children’s tears upon the moment when they learn that, in all justice, children, too, can fairly died–those are the tears that we regain when we are very old (pg 149).

Algis Budrys’ The Falling Torch (1959) is on the surface yet another simplistic brave oppressed mankind rebelling against the alien invaders who have conquered Earth novel à la Aldiss’ Bow Down to Nul (variant title: The Interpreter) (1960) and the ilk.  And I was deluded into thinking it was Continue reading Book Review: The Falling Torch, Algis Budrys (1959)