Comic book author and artist Gene Day (1951-1982) is best known for his SF work on Marvel Comics’ Star Wars series and as an editor and artist for Dark Fantasy (1973-1980). He also created art for Chaosium games including Nomad Gods(1977). My brief bibliographic blurb is based on Wikipedia. Here is a wonderful gallery of his work including images from his various Star Wars publications.
Future Day (1979), a “graphic album,” contains seven “graphic stories” on themes of galactic conflict. It might be worth comparing Day’s rather nihilistic formulations of war and galactic expansion/conquest with the positivist depiction of heroic liberation in Star Wars. I would suggest that Day is deliberately responding to the phenomenon of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). The art and storylines are filled with indirect correlates to the Star Wars universe (“cute” R2D2-esque robots, hulking spaceships with similar details to imperial cruisers and X-wings, etc.)
As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Habitats, ed. Susan Shwartz (1984)
From the back cover: “HABITATS. Where people live determines their cultures and ambitions. What then of times to come: the fabulous days of star flight, the furious days of interplanetary competition, the horrendous days of world disaster, or the weirdly wonderful days of epic changes undreamed of? In this astonishingly original anthology eleven brilliant science fiction writers have created eleven scenes of high adventure in future human habitations.
As always which books/covers intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Fool’s Run, Patricia A. McKillip (1987)
Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1988 edition
From the back cover: “Terra Viridian is a young woman who obeyed a vision, took a laser assault rifle, and turned fifteen hundred innocents into light. She was captured, convicted, and sentences to the orbital prison called the Underworld. Forever.
1. I’m a sucker for themed anthologies! Especially of original stories… This one is on the top of my list to read!
2. The lengths the cover blurb goes to proclaim Sheila MacLeod’s Circuit-Breaker (1978) not SF is humorous. The blurb writer ends up describing the aim of New Wave science fiction (interior vs. exterior space). So many of these arguments demonstrate a lack of knowledge of genre and depends on dismissive stereotypes. As it my practice, I try to avoid these exclusionary/gate-keeping arguments. I recently picked up a copy of her only other SF novel Xanthe and the Robots (1977).
Curious about this one — and all SF about potentially insane astronauts.
A handful of favorite stories of (possibly) insane astronauts
(The Brothers Hildebrandt’s cover for the 1976 edition)
4/5 (collated rating: Good)
Cyborgs. Grand adventure. Space plagues. Theater performances for aliens. Trauma and recovery. Anne McCaffrey’s fix-up novel The Ship Who Sang (1969) is comprised of four previously published short fictions and one specially written for the volume (listed below). The fourth section, published in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact (June 1969) ed. John Campbell, Jr. as “Dramatic Mission” (1969), was nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Award (1970) for best novella. The stories follow the space opera adventures and emotional development of the cyborg Continue reading →
All the following books came from the Chicago, IL bookstore Bucket O’Blood. I bought them online to support one of my favorite bookstores negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Check them out! If able, support your favorite stores (buy online, buy gift cards for later purchases, etc.) in this trying time.
While I’ve only reviewed two of Cherryh’s novels on my site—-Merchanter’s Luck (1982) and Port Eternity (1982)—she was one of my favorite pre-blog authors. I’ve previously read fifteen or so of her novels including Cyteen (1988) and Downbellow Station (1981). I have yet to read any of her pre-1980 novels so I look forward to diving into this trilogy.
2. An unknown author and novel (at least to me)…. with a flashy/fun cover. According to SF Encyclopedia, “A counter-cultural ethos also inspired the grimmer Centerforce (1974), in which motorcycle dropouts and commune dwellers combine in opposition to a Near-Future police-state America.”
3. One of C. J. Cherryh’s few standalone novels–Hestia (1979). Seems like a standard anthropological mystery on an alien world. Thoughts? As always, annoyed by the cat woman alien art….
4. Book three of C. J. Cherryh’s Faded Sun trilogy.
Let me know what you think of the books and covers in the comments!
My “to review” pile is growing and my memory of them is fading… hence short—far less analytical—reviews.
1. The Lights in the Sky Are Stars, Fredric Brown (1953)
(Mitchell Hooks’ cover for the 1955 edition)
Frederic Brown’s The Lights in the Sky are Stars (1953) is a slick 1950s vision of the fanatical men and women who take America by the scruff of the neck and yank it, without letting the law get in the way, towards space and the deep beyond. As a rumination on radicalism, The Lights in the Sky are Stars succeeds—I’m not entirely sure if it was entirely intentional as Continue reading →
Preliminary note: This is the sixth post in a series of vintage generation ship short fiction reviews. All of the stories I’ll review are available online (see links below). You are welcome to read and discuss along with me as I explore humanity’s visions of generational voyage. And thanks go out to all who have joined already.
Previously: J. G. Ballard’s “Thirteen to Centaurus” (1962) in the April 1962 issue of Amazing Stories, ed. Cele Goldsmith
Next up: Chad Oliver’s “Stardust” in the July 1952 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, ed. John W. Campbell, Jr. You can read it online here.
I’ve compiled a helpful list on the theme with links to all my reviews.
(Charles Schneeman’s cover for the June 1947 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, ed. John W. Campbell, Jr.)
A. E. van Vogt’s “Centaurus II” (1947)* (story link) first appeared in the June 1947 issue of Astounding Science Fiction edited by John W. Campbell, Jr. Together with two later stories—“Rogue Ship” Continue reading →