“Crabs Take Over the Island”

“Crabs Take Over the Island” by Anatoly Dnieprov
translated by George Yankovsky
from Science Fact/Fiction, eds. Farrell, Gage, Pfordresher, Rodrigues
Scott, Foresman and Company, 1974
Translation originally published in Russian Science Fiction, NYU Press, 1969
Originally published in Russian in Дорога в сто парсеков, 1959
Price I paid: $6.56

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Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede

Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede by Bradley Denton
William Morrow and Company, 1991
Price I paid: Libraries are fun and educational

Several years ago Bradley Denton’s first novel appeared as a paperback original entitled Wrack & Roll. Locus called it “an eccentric triumph, recommended reading for members of that paradox-ridden generation where rock ‘n’ roll will never die, but kids have turned into grownups all the same.” “Moves at breakneck pace, filled with comic invention and brutal satire,” said Booklist. “Impressive work, highly original…Highly recommended,” said Science Fiction Chronicle.

Now he breaks into hardcover with Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede, an extraordinary novel of realism and wild fantasy in the postmodern vein. This book brews a heady concoction out of such diverse elements as space aliens living in disguise next door in suburban Kansas; a resurrected Buddy Holly appearing on TV worldwide with the planet Jupiter in the background, on all channels, twenty-four hours a day, a desperately depressed computer-store clerk, Oliver Vale, whose nutty mother worships rock ‘n’ roll. What results is a car-and-motorcycle chase across the southern Midwest ending in a huge revival rally at the drive-in movie theater. Attending are a motorcycle gang, a murderous renegade secret agent, a sympathetic psychiatrist, a robot Doberman who likes beer, various alien beings in human disguise, and thousands of worried people whose TVs won’t work right.

Along with the strange and wonderful aspects of the story comes a strong sense of what life and the world have gone though over the last thirty years, a gently jaundiced view of the world at present, and a deep and abiding love of rock ‘n’ roll and its saving powers.

Bradley Denton is a strong and original voice in American fiction, dealing with pop culture elements and finely tuned characters in a hyperbolic plot reminiscent of early Vonnegut novels or the work of James Morrow, with a dash of Douglas Adams in his Hitchhiker’s Guide mode. Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede has wit, color, intensity, narrative drive, and an involving story. Hold onto your seats, Bradley Denton is here.

from the inside flap
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Sorry

Hey, you know what I just realized? Well, see, I took last week off from work and as a result I completely forgot about pretty much every other routine thing I do, including blogging. I got some good reading done, just not anything relevant to here! Oops!

Anyway, here’s some relevant John Prine to enjoy. I’ll be back on my regular routine with the next review. I think it’ll be a good one!

The Humanoids

The Humanoids by [Jack Williamson]
image from Amazon.com

The Humanoids by Jack Williamson
Spectrum Literary Agency, 2011
Originally published by Simon and Schuster, 1949
Originally serialized in Astounding, March-May 1948
Price I paid: $5.99 (eBook)

Clay Forester is a scientist working in a weapons laboratory on a distant planet, when a vast army of robotic “humanoids” land and, as they have done on countless other worlds, take control of every aspect of human society. The official line is to “guard men from harm”, but in fact the humanoids deny any meaningful freedom to their human victims. Forester tries to fight back, with the help of a vagabond band of “psychophysical” adepts with amazing transphysical powers. Forester’s long fight against the strictures and despotic “protections” offered by the humanoids makes a fascinating tale, which Damon Knight called “without a doubt, one of the most important science-fantasy books of its decade.”

Author’s self-revealing Afterword, “Me And My Humanoids”, also included.

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With Folded Hands

“With Folded Hands” by Jack Williamson
from The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction ed. Asimov, Waugh, Greenberg
Carroll & Graf, 1989
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, June 1947
Price I paid: $3

During the 1940s, the great names emerged in an eruption of talent. They formed the mould for the next three decades of science fiction and their writing is as fresh today as it was then.

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The Hanging Stones

Cover image from isfdb.org

The Hanging Stones by Manly Wade Wellman
Doubleday, 1982
Price I paid: nary a thing

Silver John, the wandering balladeer, is well respected among the back-country folk for his knowledge of woodcraft, the manly simplicity of his singing, and especially for his dealings with the dark mysteries that flourish amid a land untamed by modern civilization. So he is welcomed by the men and women working high in the Southern Mountains. The new Stonehenge they are helping reconstruct has been plagued by unaccountable happenings—nothing violent yet, but there lurks in the woods many a blinking eye. Their imaginations, agitated by the area’s history as a gathering place for devil worshipers, create a succession of wood-haunting ghouls, each more terrible than the last. Their employer Noel Kottler, millionaire industrialist, is unschooled in mountain lore and scoffs at what he considers childish fancy. Silver John doesn’t. Neither does Esdras Hogue, seventh son of a seventh son, whose communication with primordial cavemen proves a stronger defense against the evil forces unleashed upon them than all the latest ammunition Kottler can muster.

from the inside flap
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E for Effort

“E for Effort” by T.L. Sherred
from The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction ed. Asimov, Waugh, Greenberg
Carroll & Graf, 1989
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1947
Price I paid: $3

During the 1940s, the great names emerged in an eruption of talent. They formed the mould for the next three decades of science fiction and their writing is as fresh today as it was then.

Continue reading “E for Effort”