(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1970 Ace edition)
I must confess, I generally skip the introductions to anthologies—even if they are written by my favorite authors who happen to be notable anthologists (Judith Merril, Robert Silverberg, Barry N. Malzberg, etc.). While paging through various collections hunting for stories, I encountered Judith Merril’s micro-introduction to her famous New Wave anthology England Swings SF (1968). Here’s a list of the contents.
Although it is spread across three pages, it is only a few lines of text–a poetic beckoning, itself a condensed version of what the New Wave embodied. Merril’s intro as poem demonstrates literary invention, the blend of old (“scout ship”) and new (“heading out of sight into the multiplex mystery of inner/outer space”) images, and references to both high (“surrealism) and pop culture (“Beatles”). Continue reading Fragment(s): The Power of a Good Introduction (Judith Merril’s 1968 New Wave Anthology England Swings SF)
(Dennis Anderson’s cover for the 1973 edition)
4/5 (Collated rating: Good)
For an anthology, bound to contain a filler story or two, this one is spectacular. Robert Silverberg’s New Dimensions 3 (1973) lives up to his claim to contain “stories that demonstrate vigorous and original ways [often experimental] of approaching the body of ideas, images, and concepts that is science fiction” yet do not sacrifice “emotional vitality, or clarity of insight.” Ursula K. Le Guin, with her rumination on utopias, and James T. Tipree, Jr.’s proto-cyberpunk tale of commercialism and performing gender, deliver some of their best work.
Continue reading Book Review: New Dimensions 3, ed. Robert Silverberg (1973) (Le Guin + Tiptree, Jr. + Lafferty + Malzberg + Effinger + et al.)
(Fiction 114, May 1963)
Whenever it is Philippe Curval’s birthday I am pulled back into the fascinating world of French SF cover art–in particular the magazine Fiction, which, during its early years, had an utterly different aesthetic than anything found on American magazines. As I desperately want to read his novels (the vast majority remain untranslated), I can only enjoy the magazine covers he created in the 50s (Part I and Part I of my series on his photocollages).
This is all to say, I have chosen another lesser known artist for Fiction to showcase, Michel Jakubowski. This post which continues a loose series I’ve cobbled together on Adventures in French Science Fiction Cover Art (list below). I cannot find any information on him online. Perhaps he’s related to the more famous French SF author and editor Maxim Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Dark Depths and Haunting Layers of Michel Jakubowski
1. One of two SF/F gifts (not specifically for Christmas — but let’s pretend!) I’ve included in this post…. Due to my recent series on Maps and Diagrams in Science Fiction, a reader and fan of the site sent me his extra copy of J.B. Post’s An Atlas of Fantasy (1973)–which includes some SF maps as well. Thank you!
2. The second gift—I’ve been spacing a giant pile of vintage SF I received from a family friend out over many months! Sturgeon sometimes intrigues, and sometimes infuriates—hopefully there will be more of the former in this collection. No stories in the vein of “The Hurkle Is a Happy Beast” (1949) please.
3. Dr. Adder, K. W. Jeter’s infamous “couldn’t be published when it was written” novel that might have defined “cyberpunk” long before Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984). I have the Bluejay Books 1st edition with lots of evocative (and disturbing) interior art.
4. And finally, a completely unknown quantity from an author I’d never heard of–Gina Berriault. Promises to be a Cold War satire of impending nuclear destruction. And it has a History professor as a main character! (i.e. maybe a 1960s version of me? we shall see).
And let me know in the comments if you receive any SF/fantasy Christmas gifts.
1. An Atlas of Fantasy, J. B. Post (1973)
(Uncredited cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCVIII “Christmas Edition” (An Atlas of Fantasy + Sturgeon + Jeter + Berriault)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 12/24/18
Sometimes a map tells a story…. Sometimes a series of maps reveal the evolution of a story. C. J. Cherryh’s sequence of six maps of the same location in Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983) tracks the evolving relationship between settlers, azi clones, and native caliban lizard creatures.
A careful eye might be able to discern the general trajectory of the novel’s plot — if you haven’t read it yet, than perhaps (if you can tear your eyes off of MAPS) proceed no further….
Continue reading Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 12/24/18 — C. J. Cherryh’s Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1974 edition)
“The only truth is what happens, in plain and simple reality. I’ve seen the inside of too many minds to think any man’s intentions can be good. We’re evil inside ourselves Kilgarin. We’re sick and foul and filthy. The only ones who come close to being pure are those too stupid to be anything else” (72).
Back in 2016 I read Universe 1, ed. Terry Carr (1971) and was pleasantly surprised by Gerard F. Conway’s short story “Mindship” (1971) about telepathic (“sensitive”) “corks” who calm the minds of the spaceship crews whose psychic powers run interstellar “engines.” This story forms the prologue of Conway’s novel continuation. In an odd way, the novel reinterprets the original short story and adds an additional level of mystery (it wasn’t an accidental death, it was a murder!) to its straightforward plot.
Continue reading Book Review: Mindship, Gerard F. Conway (1974)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 12/17/18
A map from one of the better known dystopias by one of my favorite authors… Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker (1980). I have not read it, yet. I know, I know, I should. I have opened its pages and savored a passage or two–“Eusa sed, This is a dream. He opent up his iys but that ben open aul redde (34).”
Citation: Map from the 1998 Indiana University Press Expanded edition of Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker (1980). [click to enlarge] Continue reading Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 12/17/18 — Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker (1980)