Tag Archives: space opera

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCII (Sturgeon + Turner + Schenck + Best of 1973 Anthology)

1. I seldom buy duplicate editions. I originally read Sturgeon’s masterpiece as a teen and I’m unsure where my original 70s edition with a Bob Pepper cover ran off to…. And this perfect condition 1960 edition has glorious Richard Powers art!

2. George Turner—an author I know next to nothing about. I’ve already read 75 pages of his first novel and am absolutely entranced.

3. Hilbert Schenck—another author who is new to me. He published primarily in the early 80s and snagged a few Nebula nominations for his short fiction. His second novel proved to be a dud (I’ll have a review up soon).

4. Why are you buying another Donald A. Wollheim Best Of collection when you’re firmly in the Terry Carr camp of Best Of anthologies? Good question.

That said, I recently reviewed The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF (1972) and it was solid.

Note 1: All images are hi-res scans of my personal copies — click to expand.

Note 2: A diligent Twitter follower indicated that the 1984 edition cover of the Turner novel is Tony Roberts’ work.

Thoughts? Comments? Tangents? All are welcome.

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1. More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (1953)

(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1960 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCII (Sturgeon + Turner + Schenck + Best of 1973 Anthology)

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: A Nostalgic Piece of Space Art + Rumination

(Don Dixon’s cover art for the 1st edition of The Crucible of Time (1983), John Brunner)

This post is about a Don Dixon SF space art cover that gives me nostalgic chills. But first, a rumination….

As with so many new readers, my first science fiction adventures–almost a decade and a half ago–followed the Hugo Awards closely and the back catalogue of the established male “masters” (often those whom my dad remembered reading in his childhood–Heinlein, Clarke, Brunner, Herbert, Pohl, Anderson, etc.). And boy did John Brunner feature heavily! I read everything of his I could get my hands on. From the genius that STILL is Stand on Zanzibar (1968)–my first New Wave SF novel–to the half-hearted pulpy adventures (Born under Mars, Meeting at Infinity) that scream paycheck. These novels were some of my first reviewed works on my site (John Brunner review list below). As my readers know, my tastes have changed radically as my willingness and knowledge of lesser known authors and/or “unpopular” authors expands as I read more along the edges. Brunner’s radical  New Wave SF (and at some degree his short fiction) remains a constant.

All of this is to say that it’s unsurprising that Don Dixon’s cover art Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Art: A Nostalgic Piece of Space Art + Rumination

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCI (Bob Shaw + James Morrow + Richard E. Peck + Anthology of French SF)

1. An anthology of (primarily) 70s French SF? Yes! New authors (at least to me). New adventures. New perspectives.

2. I’ve never read James Morrow… I might as well start with his first SF novel.

3. Bob Shaw’s “Light of Other Days” (1966) is a brilliant piece of short fiction. And I finally have the novel version. After the relentlessly average Shaw novels I’ve read, I look forward to his acknowledged best.

My other Bob Shaw reviews:

Ground Zero Man (variant title: The Peace Machine) (1971)

One Million Tomorrows (variant title:1 Million Tomorrows) (1971)

The Two-Timers (1968)

4. I bought this virtually unknown Doubleday edition due to the art. First class art. Check out my  exploration of her work: Collage and Mechanism: Anita Siegel’s Art for Doubleday Science Fiction.

Wait, there’s one other reason–I’m slowly collating titles for an “academia in SF” list and I might as well read a few of them.

Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

Note: Hi-res scans are of my personal copies.

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1. Travelling Towards Epsilon, ed. Maxim Jakubowksi (1977)

(Christos Kondeatis’ cover for the 1977 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXCI (Bob Shaw + James Morrow + Richard E. Peck + Anthology of French SF)

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

(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1972 edition)

3.5/5 (collated rating: Good)

The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972) doesn’t feel like a “best of” collection. The majority of the contents are unspectacular space operas and hard SF in the Analog vein. Amongst the chaff, a few more inventive visions shined through—in particular, Joanna Russ’ mysteriously gauzy and stylized experiment replete with twins and dream machines; Michael G. Coney’s evocative overpopulation story about tourist robots; Christopher Priest’s “factual” recounting of human experimental subjects that isn’t factual at all; and Barry Malzberg’s brief almost flash piece about differing perspectives all tied together by the New York metro.

On the whole, I give it a solid recommendation although the best can be found in single-author collections.

Brief Analysis/Summary

“The Fourth Profession” (1971), novelette by Larry Niven, 3/5 (Average): Nominated for the 1972 Continue reading Book Review: The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972)

Book Review: The Halcyon Drift, Brian Stableford (1972)

(Angus McKie’s cover for the 1976 edition)

2.75/5 (Vaguely Average)

I have not had the best luck with Brian Stableford’s science fiction (albeit, I’m not sure I’ve read a single short story of his). Jesse over at Speculiction… swears (and I believe him!) that Stableford is occasionally capable of intelligent and sustained SF — consult his wonderful review of Man in a Cage (1975). Jesse barely dignifies The Halcyon Drift (1972) with a review. I’m in the same boat (or spaceship?). It took weeks of staring at my battered copy in a pile of other superior “to review” novels to convince myself to put finger to keyboard. How does one approach a bare by the numbers outline of a space opera?

By starting with the plot?

The Prologue forms the most evocative and moody Continue reading Book Review: The Halcyon Drift, Brian Stableford (1972)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVIII (Heinlein + Tenn + Wyndham + Bell)

1. My friend Mike sent this to me…. of dubious quality to say the least. But, O my, the cover!

2. Tell me again why I continue to buy Robert Heinlein paperbacks? Why in the world did I read SO MANY OF HIS BOOKS as a kid? Some of life’s persistent questions….

3. John Wyndham short fiction—or rather, a fix-up novel of sorts–with a co-writer. Did not realize any of his work was co-written…. Has anyone read it?

4. William Tenn’s short fiction collection is by far the most appealing of the bunch—his stories always have me chortling with laughter.  For example, The Human Angle (1956) and Of Men and Monsters (1968)

1. Gone To Be Snakes Now, Neal Bell (1974)

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVIII (Heinlein + Tenn + Wyndham + Bell)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVI (Wyndham + Conway + Brown + Wright)

Post-PhD job takes over… and books are not reviewed. But reading and buying still happens!

1. A supposed cult classic republished by Picador Press….. Has anyone read Smallcreep’s Day (1965)? Near the top of my “to read” pile. And I love Barbara Costall’s cover.

2. Early in the year I reviewed Conway’s short story “Mindship” (1971) in Universe 1 (1971), ed. Terry Carr. It was pretty solid. I tracked down the novel version which included the short as the prologue.

3. I was obsessed with Austin Tappan Wright’s Islandia (1942) as a kid. Not with the novel per se, which I never owned, but the lengthy and descriptive entry in Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi’s spectacular (and wonder inducing) The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (1987). And of course, the idea of  Wright slowly creating an imaginary world that could exist within our own and only “discovered” after his death resonated with a young me…

I’ve included the map from the entry in The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

4. And finally, another John Wyndham novel… although the premise sounds downright bland and trite. But then again, I still have not read a lot of his work and I know he was a formative voice in SF.

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1. Smallcreep’s Day, Peter Currell Brown (1965)

(Barbara Costall’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVI (Wyndham + Conway + Brown + Wright)