" In this universe the night was falling; the shadows were lengthening towards an east that would not know another dawn. But elsewhere the stars were still young and the light of morning lingered; and along the path he once had followed, Man would one day go again"

Arthur C. Clarke Against the Fall of Night

Saturday, May 19, 2018


This article (link below) by Moorcock from Literary Hub puts Bradbury and his works wonderfully in context, not only looking at his influences, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, among others but also mentioning the works of his contemporaries like Frederik Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth and Philip K. Dick. I love this type of overview and it also acts as an excuse to look over my own shelves. This one was right in my wheel house. 

The Truth of Ray Bradbury’s
Prophetic Vision


"For all his nostalgia, Bradbury was perfectly positioned to experience what to most of us was still the future. In the 1940s and 50s Southern California boomed. People from all over the USA were attracted there by jobs in agriculture, engineering and the non-print media. Hollywood dream factories expanded to include television. Fantasy and reality found a perfect blend. Bradbury’s visual imagination, his lyrical style and experience of a changing world were ideally suited to suggest what the future might hold for us."


"Bradbury might be the first author to offer “market forces” as the base of a dystopia. In that sense he could be said to share ties with those East Coast writers who provided Galaxy with some of its best work. Marxist critics would have no difficulty in analyzing the book as a description of a certain kind of doctrinaire capitalism, where the middle class is reduced to nothing more than so many consumer units, where entertainment has become a never-ending reality show and literacy is not only marginalized but actively discouraged. On rereading this wonderfully spare moral tale others have also been struck by its parallels in present-day society."

Cover credits

Pleasure to Burn cover by Joseph Mugnaini

Amazing Stories, Tarzan and the Ant Men, At The Earth's Core covers by J. Allen St. John

The Book of Skaith cover by Don Maitz

Startling Stories cover by Alex Schomburg

Planet Stories cover by Allen Anderson

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

New Arrivals including Leinster, Schmidt, Herbert, Cherryh, Harrison among others

A trip to Fair's Fair Used Books, one of Calgary's last used bookstores (with the closing of Cabin Fever Books this month) was very fruitful.

Cherryh is one of the few SF writers my wife and I have met and she was a huge presence in our reading in the 1980's. Cover by Rego, Book Club edition.

In my last post I mentioned how happy I was to have obtained Living Way Out with a cover by Ron Walotsky. This cover by Ron for the Book Club Edition of Cherryh's Forty Thousand in Gehenna is beautiful but in a very different style.

Some larger format Analogs.

This issue, cover by John Schoenherr contains "Gunpowder God" which was expanded by H. Beam Piper into one of Doug and my favourite Piper novels  Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen.

This issue, cover by John Schoenherr contains the conclusion of Frank Herbert's "Dune World"

Above, this issue, cover by John Schoenherr contains 
one of Schmitz's Telzey Amberdon stories.

Below, a John Schoenherr cover for one of Leinster's 
Med Ship stories.

Earlier, I mentioned how happy I was to get a copy of the SFBC edition of Foundation. It was the centre piece of many of the SF book club ads I had seen in my older books and magazines and it really struck a chord. When I saw this Analog with the Kelly Freas cover for William R. Burkett's Sleeping Planet, an image I have seen reproduced many times, I really had a similar feeling, that my collection had taken on a whole new shape and significance for me. 

Another Book Club edition, cover by Jerry LoFano.

And some things are just beautiful, like these interior illustrations by Bill Sanderson. I will be looking for West of Eden.

SF does not get much more whimsical 
than the illustration below. Someone experiencing
the Golden Age of Science Fiction, perhaps?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

New Arrivals and updated Reading Exercise

My last post featured items I picked up on a trip to visit family. The items in this post came via ABE. 

This cover by Ronald Walotsky always intrigued me and when I realized this collection, included Guin's short story "Beyond Bedlam" I had to get it.

I have made no secret of my admiration of the art of Richard Powers. I consider this cover one of his best, so I finally abandoned any hope of picking up a copy without incurring shipping costs and ordered it.

The rest of these books come from Alex Simpson on
 ABE, I was really impressed with the service. The books are in beautiful condition, the seller reduced the shipping charges even further upon receiving the order and I had my books in about a week. Thanks.

I was initially looking for Badger books, a UK imprint discussed at length on the unsubscibed blog.

I found a Badger book (Reactor XK9, cover by H. Fox) and a Vega book (Special Mission, cover H. Fox). Vega seems to be an America imprint for Badger books. I then looked to see what else this bookseller had and found some lovely stuff.

A couple of years ago, my buddy Doug convinced me to reread Foundation, one of his favourite books. I borrowed his cool 1951 Book Club Edition, I have been looking for a reasonably priced copy of my own ever since.

Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favourite novels by one of my favourite authors. I wanted this edition because it was intended for use in the Ontario school system. It does have a cover image from the rather wretched 1966 film. I just noticed a remake is on tap for 2018, I will probably stick with the book.

Early Book Club Edition, 1958, cover Paul Baron.

And a couple of items which show my collecting tastes are  still fairly eclectic.

New additions to the reading list include;

Arnason Eleanor, Mammoths of the Great Plains, (2010)
Asher Neal, Strood, (ss) 2004
Barnes John, The Birds And The Bees And The Gasoline Trees, (ss) 2011
Bear Elizabeth, Dolly. (ss) (2011)
Okorafor Nnedi, Wahala, (ss) (2011)

And Doug dropped off some more magazines for my perusal.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New Arrivals. Attic Books, London Ontario

My wife and I made a trip east to visit family last week. One highlight was a visit to Attic Books in London Ontario, possibly the best used book store we have ever visited. We picked up a number of books but a highlight for me was these beautiful copies of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Some lovely covers here.

Cover artists, TL David Hardy, TR Ed Emsh, 
BR Ron Walotsky, BL Carol Pohl

Two author tribute issues and a Brigadier Ffellowes story by Sterling E. Lanier. 

Cover artists. L to R, H Castellon, David Hardy, Ron Walotsky

Great stuff. a favourite Zelazny story, the first part of Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle.

Cover artists L to R. Bert Tanner, Mazey and Schell, Jack Gaughan for Ballard's wonderful Vermillion Sands story "The Cloud-Sculptors of Coral D".

Our trip also took us to Toronto where I took the following photo.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Reading Exercise Part Two

Illustration by Jack Gaughan

The reading exercise mentioned in my last post continues with Doug and I both offering selections and then reading and briefly discussing them. I had hoped to be providing posts on some of the titles by now but that will have to wait as I have other commitments for the next few weeks. Doug has read everything we have chosen so far but I have to admit I read less than half of Class Six Climb by Cochrane. While I look at older SF as historic artifacts that may include the racism and sexist attitudes of the time the misogyny of Class Six Climb was setting my teeth on edge. But it was the writing that finished me off. Many of the incidents included in the plot were simply illogical, and after one third of the story the characters still had not begun the climb. I could go on but I see little point. My intent in this blog has always been to post only about works or authors that I think have something worthwhile to offer.

Cover by Frank Kelly Freas                                       Cover by Dean Ellis

The system or non-system we have initiated for choosing specific titles has worked so far. While I was trying to avoid reading a number of works on specific themes one after another, the repetition of themes is almost unavoidable as certain tropes have come to define science fiction. So instead we simply play it by ear. The recent revelations concerning Jupiter have, for example encouraged us to read a number of stories concerning that planet. I have to admit I am enjoying seeing how the same concepts play out across stories by different authors and also how the passage of time and a more diverse group of authors has changed the way they are handled. 

Anderson Poul, Call me Joe, (ss) (1957)
Anderson Poul, Epilogue, (ss) (1962)
Anvil Christopher,  Strangers in Paradise, (1966)
Anvil Christopher, Experts In the Field, (ss) (1967)
Anvil Christopher, The Trap, (ss) (1969)
Asimov Isaac, Not Final, (ss) (1941)
Asimov Isaac, Victory Unintentional, (ss) (1942) 
Baxter Stephen, Tempest 43, (ss) (2009)
Bodard Aliette de, The Waiting Stars, (ss) (2013
Clement, Hal, Close to Critical, (1958)
Dickson Gorden R., Wolfling, (1969)
Egan Greg, Wang’s Carpets, (ss) (1995)
                                                       Cover by John Harris
Cover by Dominic Harman  
Hallus Tak, Mini-Talent, (ss)  (1969)
Harrison Harry, The Man from P.I.G., (ss) (1967)
Harrison Harry, The Man from R.O.B.O.T. (ss) (1969)
Kapp Colin, The Wizard of Anharitte, (1972)
Kornbluth C.M. & Pohl Fredrick, The Space Merchants, (1953) 
Laumer Keith,The Last Command, (ss) (1967) 
Leiber Fritz, Gather Darkness, (1943)
Piper H. Beam & McGuire John J., Null-ABC (ss), (1953)
Reynolds Alastair, Fixation (ss) (2009)
Schmitz James H.,The Witches of Karres, (1949)
Sheckly Robert, Specialist (ss) (1953)
Silverberg, Downward to the Earth, (1969)
Simak, Clifford, Time is the Simplest Thing, (1961)
Simak Clifford,  Desertion, (ss) (1944)

Illustration by Frank Kelly Freas

Sipes Richard Grey, Of Terrans Bearing Gifts, (ss) (1967)
Van Vogt, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, (1939)