Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCXCIX (Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Jack Williamson, Jacob Transure, Star Anthology)

Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. Ahead of Time, Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore (1953)

From the inside page: “A brain in a box fights a criminal plot

A visitor from the future turns out to be peculiar even for his society

An eternal hillbilly family survives the centuries and gets into political trouble

A sick electronic calculator catches a psychosis from its operator

…these are some of the highly original and vividly written stories you will find in this selection of a master’s work.

Science fiction and fantasy grow constantly in popularity. Writing of this quality and imagination is the reason. Henry Kuttner demonstrates again in his book why more and more readers are becoming devotees of that intriguing fiction which is not content to stay in the world as we see it and know it, which takes us to the farthest reaches of space and time, to the farthest reaches of the human mind.”

Continue reading

Future Media Short Story Reviews: Tomorrow’s TV, ed. Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Charles Waugh (1982) (Isaac Asimov, Jack C. Haldeman II, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Ray Nelson)

The seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth stories in my series on the science fictional media landscape of the future appear in the anthology Tomorrow’s TV, ed. Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Charles Wagh (1982).

Previously: Two short stories by Fritz Leiber.

“The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” (1949) in The Girl with the Hungry Eyes, and Other Stories (1949). You can read it online here.

“A Bad Day for Sales” (1953) in Galaxy Science Fiction, ed. H. L. Gold (July 1953). You can read it online here.

Up Next: Ann Warren Griffith’s “Captive Audience” (1953) in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas (August 1953). You can read it online here.

3.25/5 (collated rating: Above Average)

Tomorrow’s TV (1982) gathers together five short stories published between 1951 and 1979 on future speculations and disturbing manifestations of the tube of the future. The extensive number of TV-related science fiction from these decades (especially the 50s and early 60s) should not come as a surprise. According to Gary R. Edgerton’s magisterial monograph The Columbia History of American Television (2007), no “technology before TV every integrated faster into American life” (xi). Isaac Asimov speculates on the nature of education and the role of the “teacher” if every kid goes to school on their TV. Ray Bradbury imagines a frosty world where everyone turns inward towards the hypnotic glow of their TV sets. Robert Bloch explores the intersection of programming as escape and its collision with the real world. Ray Nelson narrates a hyperviolent expose of the alien entities behind subliminal messaging. And Jack Haldeman II imagines what will happen when the human mind reaches a moment of information overload.

Continue reading

Future Media Short Story Review: Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian” (1951)

The second story in my series on the science fictional media landscape of the future!

Today: Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian” first appeared in the August 7th 1951 issue of The Reporter. You can read it in the February 1952 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas online here.

Previously: Lino Aldani’s “Good Night, Sophie” in Futuro, no. 1, ed. Lino Aldani, Giulio Raiola and Massimo Lo Jacono (March/April 1963). You can read it in English translation online here.

Next up: Avram Davidson and Sidney Klein’s “The Teeth of Despair” first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Robert P. Mills (May 1961). You can read it online here.

4/5 (Good)

You can read “The Pedestrian” in the February 1952 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas here.

Scenes and fragments from Fahrenheit 451 (1953), The Martian Chronicles (1951), Dandelion Wine (1951), The Illustrated Man (1951), and I Sing the Body Electric! (1969) percolate through my memories like embers that refuse to flicker out. The oppressive Venusian rains in “All Summer in a Day” (1954) and the carcasses consumed by lions in “The Veldt” (1951) remain the most distinct. Beacons of cryptic violence and sadness that continue to guide my reading adventures. All were from my first years of reading SF. Some were from cassette audiobooks with my family on long travels into the west. Others read in distant pastures surrounded by the sounds of creeks and roving cows. Until today, he was firmly an author of my youth. Yes, I’d seen (and enjoyed) the 1966 François Truffaut adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 in college but I’d never returned to the texts…

Continue reading

Updates: Recent Purchases No. CCLXXXIV (Ray Bradbury, H. R. F. Keating, Judith Moffett, New Dimensions anthology)

Which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?

1. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (1950)

From the back cover: “A MAGNIFICANCTLY ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES WHICH MASTERFULLY ENHANCES THE CLASSIC WONDER AND TERROR BY THE WORLD-RENOWNED AUTHOR OF THE ILLUSTRATED MAN RAY BRADBURY.

Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXVIII (Carter + Boyd + Platonov + Anthology with Sturgeon, Bradbury, Budrys, et al.)

1) Can’t resist a beautiful Richard Powers cover even on a rather standard 60s anthology of short stories—includes Ray Bradbury, Fredric Brown, Theodore Sturgeon, Wyman Guin, Algis Budrys, etc.

Relevant reviews: Algis Budrys’ collection Budrys’ Inferno (1963) and Wyman Guin’s superb collection Living Way Out (variant title: Beyond Bedlam) (1967).

2) A SF novel by Angela Carter — enough said…

3) One of the great (and lesser read) Soviet dystopias! Can’t wait!

4) Another bargain bin find by John Boyd… with some incredibly hyperbolic cover blurbs on the back about his earlier (and lackluster) novel The Last Starship from Earth (1968).

As always, thoughts/comments are welcome!

1. Beyond, ed. Thomas A. Dardis (1963)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1963 edition) Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Cosmic Coral and Eye Trees: The SF Art of H. Lawrence Hoffman

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 11.24.29 AM

(Cover for the 1968 edition of Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg)

My pseudo-series exploring the more esoteric reaches of SF art continues.  Previous posts include The Brothers Quay and SF Covers, The 1960s Covers of Emanuel Schongut, and A Spotlight on the SF Covers of David McCall Johnston.  You all read my site because of my more esoteric dalliances, right? Hah.

H. Lawrence Hoffman (b. 1911-1977) [wikipedia article]  illustrated a vast range of covers for the major presses such as Popular Library—his mystery novel covers, including those by Dashiell Hammett, are particularly evocative [here is a substantial gallery displaying the range of his non-SF covers].

His use of coral and figures inspired by Central American Art (see his cover for The Gate of Worlds (1967), Robert Silverberg) demonstrate his more experimental moments.  His coral covers are stunning— Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg and A Century of Science Fiction (1962), ed. Damon Knight.  And the 1973 edition of Alien Art by Gordon R. Dickson scratches a strange artistic itch…

What are your Continue reading