(Richard Corben’s cover for the 1977 edition)
4.25/5 (collated rating: Very Good)
The 1977 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wolheim and Arthur S. Saha (1977) is a glorious anthology of SF published from the year before containing rousing works by the established masters (Isaac Asimov and Brian W. Aldiss), philosophical gems from New Wave icons (Barrington J. Bayley), and gritty and disturbing commentaries on masculinity by the newer voices (James Tiptree, Jr.). While Richard Cowper and Lester del Rey misfire, the overall quality is high for a large Continue reading
(Gary Viskupic’s cover for the 1979 edition)
Nominated for the 1980 Nebula Award for Best Novel
Richard Cowper’s The Road to Corlay (1978) charts the ethereal pastoral wanderings and religious musings of the followers of The White Bird of Kinship, an anti-institutional pseudo-Christian religion at odds with the oppressive Church Militant that holds sway over what remains of Europe. Continue reading
My perambulations through Scotland (Edinburgh–> castles–> castles–> Aberdeen–> Orkney Islands–> broch–> chambered cairn –> haggis meat pie) has not provided the most suitable opportunities to sit down and put in the hours necessary to review books. However it has given me the opportunity to acquire a range of UK editions.
1) Michael Moorcock’s first Jerry Cornelius novel. Count me intrigued (but filled with trepidation)! I look forward to reading The Final Programme (1968) when I finally get home to the States.
A bizarre Bob Haberfield cover!
Relevant recent review: An Alien Heat (1972)
2) Gardner Dozois blew me away with his short story “Horse of Air” (1970) and I look forward to trying one of his novel length works. Strangers (1978) was nominated for the 1979 Nebula Award.
3) Rick Raphael’s slice of life fix-up novel–about life patrolling the streets of the future–Code Three (1967) was not without merits. I’m eager to read more of his short fiction.
4) Richard Cowper’s Profundis (1979) mixed humor and a wicked streak of satire to create a SF parable that made me want more. And the short stories in The Custodians (1976) were middling to good. Kuldesak (1972) takes on a far more standard theme…
Note: as I am not home with my handy scanner these are cover images I found online rather than high resolution images of my own copies.
I look forward to your thoughts! Any favorite covers?
1. The Final Programme, Michael Moorcock (1968)
(Bob Haberfield’s cover for the 1971 edition) Continue reading
An eclectic collection of 70s SF…. Two virtually unknown authors (Gawron + Pfeil) and two authors slightly better known by SF fans (Platt + Cowper).
I’ve not been impressed with Platt in the past—for example, maybe you all remember my review for Garbage World (1966) or Planet of the Voles (1971)? But, nothing peeks my interest more than future urbanization gone amok… [2theD’s review: here].
Richard Cowper’s work intrigues but I often find it on the slight side. See my reviews of The Custodian and Other Stories (1976) and Profundus (1979). The book I procured below is considered his most famous although the premise does little to inspire….
Donald J. Pfeil wrote three novels (SF encyclopedia is somewhat dismissive of all three) and remains best known for editing the short-lived Vertex magazine: according to SF encyclopedia, “in quality [Vertex] was the strongest of the new sf magazines from the first half of the 1970s.” Unfortunately, it ran into financial problems and folded after only a few years…. Might be worth collecting!
1. An Apology for Rain, Jean Mark Gawron (1974)
(Margo Herr’s cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading
(Geoff Taylor’s cover for the 1978 edition)
3.25/5 (collated rating: Vaguely Good)
The Custodians and Other Stories contains Richard Cowper’s most famous short SF (both received Nebula nods): “The Custodians” (1975) and “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” (1976), later published side-by-side with his Nebula-nominated novel in the same sequence The Road to Corlay (1978).
My limited exposure to Cowper’s work so far—i.e. the hilarious post-apocalyptical black comedy on the British class system replete with intelligent dolphins and giant submarines, Profundis (1979)—suggests an author who can weave a solid story in a range of SF sub-genres from time travel Continue reading
While in Scotland a few weeks ago I could not help but peek into a few used book stores! As an American, I am intimately acquainted with the common US publishers (Ballantine + Signet + Avon + et al) but do not own very many 70s/80s UK editions (Pan + Grenada + Panther, etc). Thus, there was something special about snatching a copy of Best SF Stories from New Worlds 8 (1974) as it was one of the few in the series never published in the US…
Enjoy the cover art!
[I am not sure what to make of the Jim Burns’ cover… I have the feeling that it appeared on Good Show Sir a while back]
[If you are in Edinburgh and want new SF/F stop by Transreal Fiction—and talk to the owner Mike!]
1. The Moment of Eclipse, Brian W. Aldiss (1970)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1985 edition) Continue reading
A strange bunch….
Another Barry N. Malzberg novel—Chorale (1978)—to add to my nearly complete collection of his SF novels + short story collections.
Another Richard Cowper novel—purchased months ago mainly due to the gorgeous Paul Lehr cover. The whimsical subject matter of the work unfortunately does not match the profound and surreal stillness of Lehr’s vision.
A short story collection containing a nice range of nebula-nominated (and winning) short SF from 1970: Sturgeon, Laumer, Wolfe, Fritz Leiber, Lafferty, Harrison, Russ.
And finally what is supposedly one of Lafferty’s oddest experiments: Annals of Klepsis (1983).
1. Phoenix, Richard Cowper (1968)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1970 edition) Continue reading
A nice batch—some more from the $1 hardback sale at my local bookstore, one procured via abebooks, and one from a friend. I grabbed Cowper’s The Road to Corlay (1978) after seeing two solid reviews from my friends at Speculiction… [review here] and Porpourri of Science Fiction Literature [review here]. I enjoyed Cowper’s later novel Profundis (1979).
I had no idea the Pulitzer-winning writer and journalist John Hersey from dystopic SF allegories…
And, a collection of early work from the fruitful partnership of Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth… With a gorgeous Richard Powers cover!
I’ve always enjoyed really short SF stories so I look forward to devouring Asimov and Conklin collection (perhaps in stages due to its length).
Enjoy the covers!
1. The Wonder Effect, C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl (1962)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition) Continue reading
Bargain bins yield some Clarke and Asimov classics I read when I was a teen but never owned…. I remember thinking at the time that Imperial Earth (1975) was one of Clarke’s best novels. Dickson’s Dorsai! (1960) — I’ve never been a fan of military SF — is a classic I need to get around to reading. And, my final find was Richard Cowper’s Time Out of Mind (1973). I was surprisingly impressed with his lighthearted romp of a novel, Profundis (1979).
Thoughts on the books?
1. Time Out of Mind, Richard Cowper (1973)
(Don Maitz’s cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover: “As a young boy, Laurie Linton encountered a strange apparition: a ghostly man who urgently mouthed a message: KILL MAGOBION! Years later, as members of the UN Narcotics Security Agency, Linton and the beautiful Carol Kennedy were assigned a special duty: investigation of a mysterious drug which endowed its addicts with superhuman powers. Continue reading