By participating in my wife’s health whatchamacallit at her work (haven’t held down a job with benefits outside a vacation, so I don’t understand all the lavish extravagance the patricians enjoy) I got a hundred dollar gift card for Amazon. I thought what better way than to indulge in some science fiction?
I had recently picked up PKD’s Radio Free Ablemuth, R.A. Lafferty’s ARRIVE AT EASTERWINE, AND NOT TO MENTION CAMELS. They were all waiting for me to slog through Gene Wolfe’s BOOK OF THE LONG SUN series. I got the compact edition that combines the 4 books into two and I swear I will be blind before I am through – that is the slogging.
So here are the science fiction treasures I acquired! The first three I have at the recommendation of the excellent science fiction site SCIENCE FICTION AND OTHER SUSPECT RUMINATIONS (I have sung the author’s praises here before). So far his recommendations have been great and so I tracked down a few more.
A FUNERAL FOR THE EYES OF FIRE
If I had stumbled upon this in a bookstore, I would have scooped it up for the title alone (the cover as well, ever wondered what happened to the days of great science fiction book covers? ever wondered whatever happened to the days of great book covers?). I also have Bishop’s PHILLIP K. DICK IS DEAD, ALAS somewhere around here to read… someday.
WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO…
I know she is more famous for THE FEMALE MAN, but that seems a little old hat nowadays and it just isn’t in my taste. I’m more of a solid identity sort of guy most of the time. Perhaps it will appeal to me later but for now this title takes me and Mr. Boaz (of aforementioned site) gave this a 5/5.
Wow, that took ten minutes to find a postable (oh, eat shit, it’s a word now, I decree) pic of that cover. This is why I don’t post that much anymore.
I’ve wanted to read this one for a long time. I’m slow coming around to the whole Amazon thing, but I’m liking it. This one won the Hugo for best novel in 1964, but has been shoved aside for 20,000 shelf copies of LORD OF THE RINGS and a bunch of other stuff. Nothing against LORD OF THE RINGS (besides my needing a constant supply of Nodoz while reading it) but seriously, can’t you keep some of the copies in the back? I am sure if someone needs a copy of LOTR they can come to the counter and ask for it. It is not in any danger of going out of print, but hundreds of perfectly good books do and have. I haven’t read this one so I cannot speak for it, but one of my all time favorite authors has been out of print for quite some time.
Which leads us to…
THE ANNALS OF KLEPSIS
What can I say? I love Lafferty’s writing. Here is the blurb from the back cover:
OH COME TO KLEPSIS TO
CLAIM YOUR SHARE . . .
AND BREATHE THE RANK
AND LAWLESS AIR!
Plots and intrigues and romances abound.
Smoke pictures, ghosts, and treasure chests to be found.
Magnifying monocles and hallucinogenic grapes–
the unvoiced dreams of the dregs of space.
Long John Tony Tyrone, the peg-legged historian, journeys there . . .
And marries a Princess with rainbow hair.
But the Ghost of Christopher Brannagan will not rest
Until mathematician Aloysius has put to the test
His theory concerning the Doomsday Equation
Which might save the planet from total devastation.
Or might not.
I’m willing to bet the Aloysius is Mr. Lafferty, it would not be the first time he took part in one of his stories.
Anyway that is a tour through some books which too few have read. I am half way through Wolfe’s LONG SUN now and I hope to have most of these books read before the Seattle rain comes back and stuffs my head.