Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCCVII (Jack Williamson, William E. Cochrane, a Groff Conklin anthology, and an anthology of gay and lesbian SF)

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

1. 6 Great Short Novels of Science Fiction, ed. Groff Conklin (1954)

From the back cover: “THE BLAST: STUART CLOETE envisions New York City under atomic attack, and tells the story of the lone survivor.

COVENTRY: ROBERT HEINLEIN shows what happens to one of the last individualists, who request a sentence to purgatory.

THE OTHER WORLD: MURRAY LEINSTER reveals a savage, feudal civilization which lives off the sweat of slaves kidnapped from our world.

BARRIER: ANTHONY BOUCHER writers of a time traveler, and his strange encounters with the people who will come after us.

SURFACE TENSION: JAMES BLISH traces a race of microscopic men that works out its destiny under water on a planet somewhere far out of the galaxy.

MATURITY: THEODORE STURGEON depicts the agonizing plight of a super man born in our midst.

Continue reading

Updates: Immortality Themed SF Novels/Short Stories Resource Posted


I while back I put out a call for SF novels/short works on immortality to add to a preliminary list I put together.  Due to my lack of knowledge of newer SF and uncanny ability to forget relevant previously read works I eagerly added your suggestions.  And Marta Randall’s Islands (1976) motivated me to finally post  it…

Here’s the LIST!

If you can think of any that I might be missing be sure to Continue reading

Updates: Year in Review (Top Ten SF Novels + Top Ten Short Stories/Novelettes/Novellas + other categories)

Everyone likes lists!  And I do too….  This is an opportunity to collate some of my favorite (and least favorite) novels and shorter SF works I read this year.  Last year I discovered Barry N. Malzberg and this year I was seduced by…. Well, read and find out.


Top Ten Novels

1. We Who Are About To…, Joanna Russ (1976): A scathing, and underread, literary SF novel by one of the more important feminist SF writers of the 70s (of The Female Man fame).

2. A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire, Michael Bishop (1975): A well-written anthropological clash of cultures novel.  Slow, gorgeous, emotionally engaging….

3. Level 7, Mordecai Roshwald (1959): A strange satire of the bomb shelter…  Everyday surrealism. Continue reading

Updates (New Resource): List of Immortality Themed SF (a call to contribute!)

This post is a call for readers to submit their favorite immortality themed science fiction NOT included on my list below (and even examples they did not care for so I can make this a more substantial resource).  I’ll make a page with all the information I receive for easy consultation soon (INDEX of similar pages/articles).

A while back I started gathering a list of titles — via SF Encyclopedia, other online resources, and my own shelves — on immortality themed SF.  I have always been intrigued by the social space (one plagued by violence and despair or buoyed by the hope of a better future) that the possibility of immortality might generate.

I would argue that the single best example of social effects that the possibility of immortality might create is Clifford D. Simak’s Why Call Them Back From Heaven? (1967).  In similar fashion, James Gunn’s The Immortals (1962) takes place in a world where immortals do exist, they skirt Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Rotating Wheel Space Station/Habitat, Part I

Screen shot 2012-01-08 at 11.27.40 PM

(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1973 edition of Operation Umanaq (1973), John Rankine)

Here are only a small portion of the cover images I’ve collected of space stations and space habitats of the rotating wheel variety — i.e. the ring (or a torus) spins creating pseudo-gravity.  As in the double-wheeled space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)…  I have always been enamored with space stations/habitats which was part of reason I adored Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a kid (although today I prefer it over the over Star Treks due to the complicated arc Continue reading

Updates: An Incomplete List of Worthwhile Classic Science Fiction Blogs/Resources

I love the idea of a community of science fiction reviewers — so I’ve put together a list of a handful of book review blogs focused on classic/slightly more esoteric science fiction.  Obviously there are plenty of great blogs I’ve omitted that have reviews of new releases or only occasional vintage science fiction….  Or, blogs that refrain from reviews of vintage science fiction unless participating in certain reading challenges….

Please visit them, comment on their reviews, and browse through their back catalogues.

1] Speculiction….: An under visited /commented on blog with quality book reviews of classic science fiction — however, the reviewer, Jesse, is limited by the lack of older science fiction available to him in Poland.  I especially enjoyed his reviews of Ballard’s “beautifully strange enigma” that is The Crystal World (1966) and of course, my favorite science fiction novel of all time, John Brunner’s magisterial Stand on Zanzibar (1968).  An index of his reviews can be found here.  He also has a good mix of newer science fiction reviews as well.

2] The PorPor Books Blog: SF and Fantasy Books 1968-1988: I find this blog Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Composite Cover (illustrating a multiplicity of scenes, stories, thematic elements) Part II


(Vincent di Fate’s cover for the 1975 edition of The Other Side of Tomorrow (1973), ed. Roger Elwood)

My second composite cover post — here’s a link to Part I if you missed it.  I’ve included a few covers by Vincent di Fate who has always been one of my favorite illustrators of the 1970s.  His cover for The Other Side of Tomorrow (1973) is top-notch.  A conglomerations of screens are placed on a barren stylized landscape where two figures gaze intently at them.  Each screen shows a different scene, a space station, spaceships, a boy’s contemplative face, an old man — and, a ringed planet looms in the background.  Whether or not the screens illustrate individual stories in the collection is unclear — regardless, the composite nature of the illustration is  Continue reading

Book Review: Beyond This Horizon, Robert A. Heinlein (magazine publication 1942, novelized 1948)

(Sandy Kossin’s cover for the 1960 edition)

2.5/5 (Bad)

Beyond This Horizon (magazine publication 1942, novelized 1948) was Robert A. Heinlein’s second published novel and one of the few non-juvenile works he published until the late 50s and early 60s.  Interesting tangent: Starship Troopers (1959) was originally conceived as a juvenile but rejected by his normal publisher due to its more serious content.

Unfortunately, Beyond this Horizon is plagued by an utterly contrived Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XLV (Heinlein + Farmer + Shaw + Lanier)

My San Antonio, TX haul….

I’ve read multiple of Shaw’s books in the past — they are often intriguing on the conceptual level but fall apart during delivery (Ground Zero Man, One Million Tomorrows)….  But, the back cover of Shadow of Heaven (1969) was intriguing enough to grab a copy.

The multiple Farmer novels I’ve read (most of the Riverworld series and Traitor to the Living) were trash.  But, I’m willing to give him another go — against my better judgement.

Heinlein is overrated but readable and Stephen Lanier’s Hiero’s Journey (1973) is supposed to be an intriguing post-apocalyptical tale….

1. Shadow of the Heaven, Bob Shaw (1969)

(George Underwood’s cover Continue reading