Published a few months before the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, Robert Hoskins’ anthology First Step Outward (1969) charts an imagined future history of humanity’s exploration of the galaxy. The stories, gathered from some of the big names of the day (Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, etc.), are grouped as if part of the same future with headings such as “To the Planets” and “To the Stars.” As with most anthologies, this contains a range of gems (such as Sturgeon’s “The Man Who Lost the Sea”) and duds (Ross Rocklynne’s “Jaywalker”).
I’ve previously reviewed five of the thirteen stories in their own posts–linked for easy consultation.
Brief Plot Summary/Analysis
“Cold War” (1949), Kris Neville, 3/5 (Average): Previously reviewed in its own post here.
“Third Stage” (1963), Poul Anderson, 3.5/5 (Good): Previously reviewed in its own post here.
“Gentlemen, Be Seated!” (1948), Robert A. Heinlein, 2.75/5 (Vaguely Average): My first return to Robert A. Heinlein in around a decade is exactly like I thought it would be–thoroughly disappointing. Yes, yes, yes, I know this is far from what he was capable of. The number of reprints this misfire of a story receives mystifies (it appeared in the regularly reprinted The Green Hills of Earth and The Past Through Tomorrow).
(Cover for the 1967 edition of vol. 1 of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1965), Robert A. Heinlein)
The Portuguese painter and illustrator Lima de Freitas (1927-1998) created a vast number of covers for the Portuguese press Livros do Brasil. For more on the range of art he produced in his career consult his wikipedia page [here].
A while back I reviewed Mordecai Roshwald’s Level 7 (1959) and discovered de Freitas’ amazing cover (below). More than any of the US editions, it evokes the claustrophobic tone of the novel (and even some of the surreal elements).
As the son of two architects, architecturally inclined SF covers always fascinate. Thus, as an introduction to his art (if you do not know it already) I have collected a handful of his cityscapes. They are surreal masterpieces. Lima de Freitas’ covers emphasize the city as a canvas, the textures of human Continue reading →
(Cover for the 1967 edition of Extrapolasis (1967), Alexander Malec)
Between 1965 and 1971, the husband-and-wife team Donald Crews and Ann Jonas created a handful of fascinating minimalistic and diagrammatic covers for Doubleday. I should note that their cover for the 1966 edition of Nebula Award Stories 1965 (1966), ed. Damon Knight was reused in different colors for multiple Nebula anthologies (1967, 1971, 1971). Thus, their new covers for Doubleday appeared only (to the best of my knowledge) in a two-year span from 1965 and 1967.
Two themed anthologies—one in “honor” of the election [*cough* I mean, well, I won’t go all political] year cycle… Another on one of my favorite SF themes, television of the future!
That said, both Asimov edited collections (from the 80s but with stories from only earlier decades) have a serious fault: out of the combined 35 stories there is not a single story by a woman author. I’ve read a vast number of 60s/70s collections which do not fall into this trap…. Orbit 1 (1966) almost manages gender parity! I can think of numerous stories by women authors that fit both themes. For example, Kit Reed’s wonderful “At Central” (1967) fits the TV anthology!
A hard to find for cheap early M. John Harrison novel…. Unfortunately I only found a much uglier edition that the one I show below as the rest were out of my price range….
And, a complete shot in the dark—a SF novel by the mainstream French/Lithuanian novelist/screenwriter Romain Gary, the author of White Dog (1970)..
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts + comments.
A fun bunch of thrift store finds and gifts…. I’m most excited about Robert Sheckley’s novel Immortality, Inc. (1958) — not only is the cover gorgeous (the initials read LSG but I can’t figure out who the artist might be) but Sheckley is fast becoming a favorite of mine (for example, the short story collections Store of Infinity and The People Trap).
I know very little about George Zebrowski’s novels. So, I’ll approach The Omega Point (1972) with a tad bit trepidation. Has anyone read him? If so, what do you think?
I’ve read Heinlein’s The Man Who Sold the Moon but I have a much later edition and sort of enjoy the standard pulp cover for the 1951 edition.
And another Anderson classic….
1. Immortality, Inc., Robert Sheckley (1958) (MY REVIEW)