" 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

Monday, May 28, 2018

Gardner Dozois, July 23rd,1947 – May 27th, 2018

  Upon learning that Gardner Dozois had passed away yesterday I wanted to remember his work.

While he had many roles, author, editor, and anthologist, during his career in science fiction it is probably for his work as the editor of The Year's Best Science Fiction series that I best remember him. Every year the one book I was guaranteed to buy was the latest volume in the series. Every year I depended on Gardner to introduce me to not just the best stories but often the best new authors (at least to me). 


It is in these volumes, I met Robert Reed's Great Ship, Eleanor Arnason's Holmes Sherlock and the rest of the Hwarhath, and authors like Ken Liu, Vandana Singh, Aliette de Bodard, Lavie Tidhar, Yoon Ha Lee, and Greg Egan among many others. I also found stories that stuck with me like "Mammoths to the Great Plains" by Elanor Arnason or "The Waiting Stars" by Aliette de Bodard. But his greatest gift and one of my favourite stories of all time, all the more unexpected because it wasn't even science fiction (was it? ) , was "The Night We Buried Road Dog" by Jack Cady. It appeared in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eleventh Annual Collectionnot I suspect because it was one of the year's best science fiction stories, but because Dozois wanted it there so we could all enjoy it, and I thank him for that.

Here is the tribute at Tor.com


and from Boing Boing


and from Michael Swanwick


and from Alastair Reynolds


and from Alec Nevala-Lee


And now I just noticed some great stuff in volume 13.

Cover Credits

8 th Michael Whelan
31st Jim Burns
30th  Michael Whelan
11th Kim Poor, design Nathaniel Estes
13th Bob Eagleton, design Todd Radom

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Experimental History of Scifi Book Covers (Plus Crime Covers Link)

One of Frank R. Paul's beautiful alien ecosystems,
from the back cover of Amazing Stories for Aug. 1941.

In my previous post discussing Moorcook's essay on Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 I mentioned how much I love these overviews of SF authors, illustrators and their works. Here is another from io9 a video on (The Experimental History of Scifi Book Covers) put together by Nerdwriter?

A selection of covers by Frank R. Paul

Some of my favourite publishers and illustrators are discussed, including Frank R. Paul, Richard Powers, and the myriad artists who worked for Penguin books over the years. I am still disappointed that our trip to London generated no covers by Alan Aldridge, but just like yesterday's link I was again compelled to return to my shelves and see what I could find.

Two Paul Lehr covers, Entropy is by Fernando Fernandes.

Two Richard Powers covers, the Penguin is by Brian Kneale


And an added bonus: 
Celebrating the Artists Who Illuminated Classic 

Crime  (Warning pretty sexist stuff, the pulp roots show)



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?