“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

Continue reading ““Crabs Take Over the Island””

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
Continue reading “Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede”

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.

Continue reading “The Humanoids”

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”

Pirates of Venus

Pirates of Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Bison Books, 2001
First serialized in Argosy, 1932
First published in book form by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., 1934
Price I paid: Hooray for public libraries

The shimmering, cloud-covered planet of Venus conceals a wondrous secret: the strikingly beautiful yet deadly world of Amtor. In Amtor, cities of immortal beings flourish in giant trees reaching thousands of feet into the sky; ferocious beasts stalk the wilderness below; rare flashes of sunlight precipitate devastating storms; and the inhabitants believe their world is saucer-shaped with a fiery center and an icy rim. Stranded on Amtor after his spaceship crashes, astronaut Carson Napier is swept into a world where revolution is ripe, the love of a princess carries a dear price, and death can come as easily from the blade of a sword as from the ray of a futuristic gun.

Pirates of Venus is the exciting inaugural volume in the last series imagined and penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This commemorative edition features new illustrations by Thomas Floyd, the original frontispiece by J. Allen St. John, an afterword by Phillip Burger, a glossary of Amtor terms by Scott Tracy Griffin, a map of Amtor drawn by Edgar Rice Burroughs that appeared in the first edition, and an introduction by acclaimed science fiction and horror novelist F. Paul Wilson.

Continue reading “Pirates of Venus”

Giant Killer

“Giant Killer” by A. Bertram Chandler
from The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction ed. Asimov, Waugh, Greenberg
Carroll & Graf, 1989
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, October 1945
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 “Giant Killer”

Battle for the Stars

Battle for the Stars by Edmond Hamilton
Paperback Library, 1967
Originally published by Dodd, Mead / Torquil, 1961
Price I paid: 90¢

CLUSTER WORLD N-356-44

“It was no place for a man to be.

Men were tissue, blood, bone, nerve. This place was not made for them. It was made for force and radiation. Go home, men.

But I can’t, thought Jay Birrel. Not yet…I have to go on into this place where a human being looks as pathetic as an insect in a furnace.”

And so begins Edmond Hamilton’s most fascinating inter-planetary adventure—BATTLE FOR THE STARS.

Continue reading “Battle for the Stars”

Lone Star Planet

Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
Gollancz, 2015
Originally published in Fantastic Universe, March 1957
Price I paid: 99¢

New Texas: its citizens figure that name about says it all. The Solar League ambassador to the Lone Star Planet has the unenviable task of convincing New Texans that a s’Srauff attack is imminent, and dangerous. Unfortunately it’s common knowledge that the s’Srauff are evolved from canine ancestors – and not a Texan alive is about to be scared of a talking dog! But unless he can get them to act, and fast, there won’t be a Texan alive, scared or otherwise!

From the SFGateway sale page
Continue reading “Lone Star Planet”