Updates: Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Purchases No. CCCXII (J. G. Ballard, Roger Zelazny, John Wyndham, and Joel Zoss)

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

1. The Impossible Man and Other Stories, J. G. Ballard (1966)

From the back cover: “THE IMPOSSIBLE MAN is the eighth book by J. G. Ballard to be published in the United States. Since the publication of his famous first two novels in 1962, The Wind from Nowhere and The Drowned World, no writer in modern science fiction has received higher acclaim from the critics:

“…the freshest new talent in science fiction since Brian Aldiss.— DAMON KNIGHT

“Ballard is one of the brightest new stars in post-war fiction… he may turn out to be one of the most imaginative of Wells’s successors.” — KINGSLEY AMIS

THE IMPOSSIBLE MAN gathers together nine of Ballard’s most recent stories. A few samples:

In “The Drowned Giant” an enigmatic visitor is subjected to the various kindnesses of man…”

Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Mariella Anderlini’s Covers for Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber (Corwin) sequence

On twitter, I recently learned from Jay O’Connell (cover artist and author) that all of Roger Zelazny’s work will be back in print. What exactly “everything back in print” means in reality I’m not entirely sure–will it include only the best known novels? All the short stories? Are works Zelazny wanted to “kill off” like To Die in Italbar (1973) really going to get reprints? Regardless, I was inspired to look back at the non-English language covers his work has received over the years. Naturally, as I moved to the fantastic Italian presses, I re-encountered and fell in love (again) with Allison’s evocative take on Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber (Corwin) five-novel sequence.

What are your favorites?

Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCXCVIII (Harlan Ellison, Edward Bryant, Murray Constantine, Sayko Komatsu, and an automobile-themed anthology)

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

1. Car Sinister, ed. Robert Silverberg, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Joseph D. Olander (1979)

From the back cover: “MAN AND HIS MACHINE. The car is man’s most personalized machine; for teenagers it is a rite of passage and a statement of freedom; for adults it is a reflection of success, taste, and hopes; and for an entire culture it is a great and industrious mode of transportation–driving, perhaps, on the road of destruction. And the automobile–thrilling, honking, speeding, nerve-shattering–haunts us with the dark possibility that when our age of motoring innocence is over, we may no longer be the masters… CAR SINISTER–a splendid, imaginative vision of what lies down the road for all of us.”

Continue reading

Book Review: To Die in Italbar, Roger Zelazny (1973)

3/5 (Average)

Roger Zelazny described To Die in Italbar (1973) as the one novel he would “kill off” if he could! Here’s a bit of context for his condemnatory statement. In early 1969, Zelazny quit his U.S. Social Security Administration job to become a full-time writer. Yes, he wrote Lord of Light (1967) and This Immortal (1966) among many others after work! He quickly wrote To Die in Italbar in May 1969 to complete a contract but the novel was rejected by the press. Years later Zelazny added new material and finally published the novel in 1973 (citation). Haste and filler characterize the final product. That said, if action-packed SF adventure with bizarre ideas is something you are looking for and you already enjoy Zelazny, pick this one up.

Continue reading

Book Review: This Side of Infinity, ed. Terry Carr (1972) (Zelazny, Silverberg, Aldiss, Lafferty, et al.)

3.25/5 (Collated rating: Vaguely Good)

Soldiers in mech armor plagued by existential crisis. Asexual insectoid aliens pretending to be human. Children wielding pet apes as weapons. This Side of Infinity, ed. Terry Carr (1972) gathers eight kaleidoscopic visions from stalwarts (Roger Zelazny and Robert Silverberg) to lesser known authors (David Redd and George H. Smith). As a collated whole, this is a solid collection without a defining standout masterpiece but worth acquiring for the sheer variety and hallucinatory power of it all.

Continue reading

Short Story Review: Roger Zelazny’s “Halfjack” (1979)

The following review is the 10th post in my series searching for “SF short stories that are critical in some capacity of space agencies, astronauts, and the culture which produced them.” Some stories I’ll review in this series might not fit. And that is okay. I relish the act of literary archaeology.

As always, feel free to join the conversation!

Previously: Frederik Pohl’s (as Paul Flehr) “The Hated” in Galaxy Science Fiction, ed. H. L. Gold (January 1958). You can read it online here.

Up Next : Charles Runyon’s “First Man in a Satellite” in Super-Science Fiction (December 1958), ed. W. W. Scott. You can read it online here.

3.5/5 (Good)

Roger Zelazny’s “Halfjack” first appeared in the June 1979 issue of Omni, ed. Don Dixon. You can read it online here. I read the story in the The Last Defender of Camelot (1980).

Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXV (Tiptree, Jr. + Lynn + Carey + Best of SF 1968 Anthology)

1. James Tiptree, Jr.’s first novel is not considered one of her better works. But, as my appreciation of her fiction grows, it was hard to pass up (especially at $1). Have you read it?

2. I recently read and reviewed World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (1967), ed. Terry Carr and Donald A. Wollheim and was thoroughly impressed. Enough to track down the following year’s anthology….  And, as an avowed D. G. Compton fan (for example, his underrated/underread 1966 novel Farewell, Earth’s Bliss), I was thrilled to see this volume contains one of his few short stories. It also contains the original novella version of one of my favorite SF novels–Robert Silverberg’s Hawksbill Station (1968).

Love the Jack Gaughan cover!

3. A novel by Elizabeth A. Lynn, an author I’ve never read — I approach it with trepidation… But, as I always say, I love exploring lesser known works.

4. Peter Carey, another author I’ve never read. His stories (the publisher attempts to distance them from SF) seem my cup of tea.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

~

1. Up the Walls of the World, James Tiptree, Jr. (1978)

(Uncredited cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: Damnation Alley, Roger Zelazny (1969)

(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1969 edition)

3/5 (Average)

As I read Roger Zelazny’s post-apocalyptical adventure Damnation Alley (1969), the relentless throbbing of Hawkwind’s 1977 song inspired by the novel along with cringeworthy lines of dialogue from the 1977 film version kept interjecting themselves into my reading experience.

First, a snippet from the song….

I’ve got the serum and I’m going to take it
All the way to Boston, oh I’ve got to get through
The going won’t be easy, but I’m going to make it
It’s the only thing that I’m cut out to do
Ride the post-atomic radioactive trash
The sky’s on fire from the nuclear flash
Driving through the burning hoop of doom,
In an eight wheeled anti-radiation tomb
Thank you Dr. Strangelove for going doolally,
and leaving me the heritage of Damnation Alley […].

Absent from Hawkwind’s interpretation that Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXII (The Anthology Edition) (Best SF Stories from New Worlds 5, Orbit 6, Alpha 3, Best SF 1972)

Little pleases me more than reading the fascinating cross-section of the genre presented by anthologies from my favorite era of SF (1960s/70s). After the success that was World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (variant title: World’s Best Science Fiction: Third Series) (1967), ed. Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr, I decided to browse my “to post” pile of recent acquisitions and share a handful with you all. As is often the case, the collections are peppered with stories I’ve already read—I’ve linked the relevant reviews.

Filled with authors I haven’t read yet—Stephen Tall, Robin Scott, Roderick Thorp, Jean Cox, Christopher Finch, etc.

…and of course, many of my favorites including Gene Wolfe, Ursula Le Guin, Barry N. Malzberg, and Kate Wilhelm (among many many others).

Scans are from my collection.

1. The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972)

(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading