Archive for the ‘Vintage SciFi’ Category
It’s almost December. you know what that means? that means it’s almost January. And we all know what that means!
January means the return of Vintage Science Fiction month!
Shiny new stuff is well, shiny and new, and we all love it. But what came before it? Your favorite author happened to mention they were inspired by the writing of Jack Vance or H.P. Lovecraft or Andre Norton or James Blish? Aren’t you curious about how your favorite authors put their own spin on the dying earth and chthonic horrors? To get a little philosophical, by knowing where I came from, I can better see where I stand, and better see where we’ve yet to go. This January, let’s find out.
As in past years, I’ve arbitrarily decided 1979 is the magic year for determining if something is vintage or not, and as in past years I’ll ask that anyone participating link up their review in the Vintage Science Fiction tab at the top of the page. This January, blog about a book or a comic book or a movie or a radio show or an author from before 1979 and let me know about it so I can come visit your blog. It’s that easy. Feel free to grab the red spaceship image above, and use it as a badge-y thing.
That’s just the cake. Here’s the icing:
believe it or not, the best gift you can give to a book lover is not more books.
the best gift you can give to a book lover is introducing them to a new bookstore! Seriously, September should be “share your favorite bookstore with a friend who has never been there” month.
On Saturday I went with a good friend to John King Books in Detroit. He’d never been there before, and I keep talking about the place. I’ve written about this store a few times before, it’s famous in the area for being the largest used bookstore in Michigan. It’s even got a cameo in Libriomancer, by Jim C. Hines! Mr. King got his start once upon a time as a collector and appraiser of rare books. As the collection grew he needed more and more space. Finally, he bought a four story warehouse and filled it (and I do mean filled!) to the ceiling with books and related paraphernalia. Being down the road from Wayne State University, there is plenty of scholarly material, plus cases and cases of vinyl records, vintage children’s books, postcards, lithographs, and we even saw an antique typewriter. Did I mention the miles and miles of books? The bookstore is just for regular retail books, his rare book room is by appointment only.
Visiting John King is an adventure, let me tell you! It’s not unlike being in the Cave of Wonders from the Disney version of Aladdin crossed with a Choose your Own Adventure story, you just want to explore, and explore and explore, because who knows what will be around the next corner? We had a blast going through the different floors and enjoying the hand drawn maps and signs. There are milk crates at the end of many aisles filled with more books. There are milk crates in the aisles to use as step stools. The shelving is basic, the lighting is terrible, the building has no heat or AC. I finally found the bathroom.
I visit John King Books every few months, and unfortunately, their science fiction section was very picked over on this visit. I was also on a strict budget this time, so stayed away from the new-ish stuff shelves and played the “how much can I get for $20?” game. I got a few gems, a few weird ones, and other random stuff that jumped out at me!
not a bad haul:
20 bloggers posted over 40 reviews and discussions, there were guest posts, a giveaway (which still has a few hours left in it, go win yourself some goodies!), and new bonds formed in the blogging community. Wow people, is there anything we can’t do? The only bad thing was that there was so much going on I couldn’t keep up with it! I wasn’t even able to comment on all the reviews, and I do apologize for that.
And I couldn’t have done any of this without YOU. Give yourselves a round of applause for rocking it out AGAIN. Here’s a listing of everyone I know of who participated. If you should be on this list, and aren’t, shout at the top of your lungs in the comments, and I’ll fix it up.
Over the Effing Rainbow
Bitter Tea And Mystery
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
There’s a right broad
Pan Spectrum Analyzer
Two Dudes in an Attic
Lynn’s Book Blog
Impressions of a Reader
Stainess Steel Droppings
The Finch and Pea
You Can Never Have Too Many Books
Ready When You Are, C.B.
Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations
Dab of Darkness
Science Fiction times
Whether you posted one book review or ten, or did a discussion post or a guest post, or tweeted or retweeted or simply lurked and enjoyed what you saw on other people’s blogs, I give you my heartfelt and sincerest thanks for spending the darkest days of winter with me and being willing to read some crunchy paperbacks by authors we’d never heard of.
I got some totally sweet stuff coming up in February too. A little less in the crunchy-dead-person department, but still, rockin’ cool stuff is heading our way! (also, spring might be heading our way, which is also damn cool)
Well, January is nearly here (scary isn’t it?) and I’ve started going through my crumbly moldy old paperbacks, trying to narrow down my list of what to read for the upcoming Vintage Scifi Month.
So far, I’ve got:
The Lost Continent by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1916)
Conan the Warrior , by Robert E Howard, (1935)
The Man Who Sold the Moon by Robert Heinlein (1950)
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov (1954)
The Planet Buyer by Cordwainer Smith (1964)
The Goblin Reservation by Clifford Simak (1968)
The Zero Stone by Andre Norton (1968)
That’s a good start, don’t you think? I’ll have one more opportunity to visit John King Books in Detroit before New Years, and my John King Wish list includes Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids, Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, Bester’s The Stars My Destination, and as always more Heinlein, Norton, Smith and other random goodies which I’m sure will change up the list above. Realistically, I’ll only be able to get through eight to ten books in January.
My tastes tend to run Golden Age and New Wave, but that doesn’t mean you’re locked into that time frame or those kinds of speculative fiction books. The original pseudo-rules hold true, and you can find excellent recommendations here, and a new growing list, here. Feel free to post more recommendations or what you’re planning to read in the comments.
on twitter? use hashtag #VintageSciFi
are you excited? cuz I am!!
It is a dark time in the northern hemisphere. Although Black Friday has been survived, the upcoming holiday season drives bookworms from their hidden libraries, and pursues them across the galaxy. . .
Evading the dreaded TV toy commercials, a group of bloggers led by yours truly established a secret plan for January reading.
It will be known as Vintage Science Fiction month, and many vintage books will be read, into the far reaches of the blogosphere. .. . .
I suddenly kinda feel like watching Star Wars. hey, the first one came out before 1979, so it’s vintage. . . right?
Ok peeps, here’s the deal: A while ago I realized I was horribly underread in the classics of Scifi. Sure, the stuff is dated and sexist and clunky and sometimes the language is archaic, but damn if I don’t enjoy reading about Martians and black holes, and old Star Trek books and Jules Vernian adventures, and stories from back when everything was possible because no one knew what might not be possible. The more of the stuff I read, the more I liked it, but I was so distracted by new shiny stuff that, well, you get the idea.
So last January I hosted Vintage Science Fiction month, and a whole ton of ya’ll participated by reading Vintage-y stuff and blogging about it, and we linked it all together here. My definition of Vintage is anything before 1979, and my definition of Scifi is pretty loose: scifi, sci-fantasy, sword and sorcery, robots, magical swords, near future, far future, pulp scifi adventure, satire, War of the Worlds, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley. . .
And guess what? It was buckets and buckets of fun! I had the opportunity to read obscure out of print goodness, met a bunch of new blogger friends, researched some authors, worked and read my butt off, and had the best month ever! On a more serious note, I gained a deeper appreciation for books that were written in the last 30 years by reading what came before them. From a genre-evolution standpoint, it’s truly fascinating.
Vintage SciFi month was so much fun, in fact, that I’m doing it again this year! Same month, same channel, same badge. Start your countdown to interstellar adventure and link to your January reviews in the comments of the Vintage Scifi tab at the top of the page. But this time, there’s a twist. I’ve got some surprises up my sleeves for you!
comments? questions? thoughts? shout ‘em out!
Wow, what a month we’ve had! Wow, what a month YOU’VE had!
Teh Vintage Science Fiction not-a-challenge was more successful than I could have ever imagined it would be. That little red badge was plastered all over the place, twitter was on fire, and occurring at the same time as the Science Fiction Experience at Stainless Steel Droppings didn’t hurt much either. We revived a love for pulp fiction, golden age dreaming, alien invasions, time travel, and true Vintage science fiction stories that were written as follies of the imagination before the year 1900. We met the forefathers and foremothers of the stories that would be come the genres that enrich our lives so much.
ten-plus bloggers, over 25 authors read, and over 30 Vintage titles, including a radio show! Ladies and Gentlemen, you rocked this out! Massive thanks and shout outs to Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf, The Written World, Geeky Daddy, The Edwardian Adventurer, Dark Cargo, Snake Oil Review, Stainless Steel Droppings, Beyond the Brush, Books Without any Pictures, Lynn’s Book Blog, Science Fiction Times, Stories Geek, and Geek Banter !
There was so much going on, I couldn’t even keep track of it all, and my promises to comment on everyone’s reviews went unfulfilled. (note to self: next time, read less books, and comment on more posts!!)
Published in 1954
where I got it: borrowed from a friend
Using her own Encycl0pedia Galactica device, Norton gives the reader a very quick introduction to the future: a series of cold wars led to government and military funded science, which lead to creation and use of weapons of mass destruction, which lead to loss of life and sudden fear and hatred of anything science related. Knowledge was spurned as evil, and anyone with a drop of “scientist blood” in them were rounded up and imprisoned. (this futuristic fear of science is showing up a lot. . . a reaction to everyone’s sudden fear of Atomic weaponry, the Cold War, and what humanity truly is capable of destroying?)
But the scientists and their families have survived. Lars Nordis is one such scientist, and he and his young daughter Dessie and brother Dard live in a ramshackle farm where they in turns starve and freeze. Lars holds scientific secrets, and he makes Dard memorize a series of numbers, although he won’t tell Dard what the numbers mean. I believe Dard and Dessie are synethsetes of some sort, and do wish that had been explored more.
After a raid by the Peacemen that destroys their home and kills Lars, Dard and Dessie have no choice but to find the rumored underground scientists who Lars has been doing work for. Dard finds them, and after helping them defend their hideouts from the Peacemen, they happily accept Dard and Dessie into their group. But what of the formula Dard memorized? What does it mean and who is he supposed to give it to?
This is where the story got really good for me.
The scientists are so desperate, they are willing to take incredible changes to leave planet Earth. They have built a spaceship and plan to escape Earth and find a new home. But the risks loom large. The long sleep formula might not work. The formulas stolen from an enemy “Voice” (computer) might not be correct. The ship might get hit by an asteroid. They might run out of fuel before finding a suitable planet. But still, they go. With high hopes, they risk everything they have, including their families, for a slim chance of finding a new place to live. If Earth doesn’t want them, they will take to the stars!
published in 1966
where I got it: own a very well loved copy
why I read it: tanstaafl
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is my absolute favorite Heinlein. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. So this review will surely jump the shark into fangirl gushing eventually. Or at least into in-joke territory. The quick version of this review is “go read this book”.
In this near future story, the Moon has become a penal colony – Earth’s dumping ground for it’s undesirebles. Referred to as Luna by it’s “guests”, it’s residents are known as Loonies. It’s been about a hundred years since prisoners were first sent up, and although all children born on Luna are born free, few of them can ever hope to return to Earth due to irreversible physiological changes that occur in humans that spend too much time in low gravity. Luna is managed by the prison Authority, who have placed their Warden in charge of all Loonies. With a population of over three million, and most of them “free”, the population of Luna is still required to do business through Authority: sell their hydroponic crops, buy water and ice, buy air to breathe. Is only game in town.
As Manuel Garcia’s grandfather liked to say “Luna was only open prison in history. No bars, no guards, no rules – and no need for them”. The moon isn’t any place for bravado or machismo. You learn how to use your p-suit and live civilly with others or you have an accident.
Ok, so I mixed my metaphors just a little bit. ..
Here’s a spiffy badge-y thing for you to use. Put it in your sidebar, in your reviews, whatever you’d like. And if you don’t need no stinkin’ badges, that’s OK too.
Closer to January I’ll also set up a tab up at the top where everyone can post their review links in the comments so we can all see what everyone else is up to. It’s gonna be just swell!
In no particular order, here’s what I’ve come up with so far that I’m planning to read in January:
Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess
The Stars are Ours by Andre Norton
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Space Lords by Cordwainer Smith
City by Clifford Simak
The Heaven Makers by Frank Herbert
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke
Regan’s Planet by Robert Silverberg
Something by A.E. Van Vogt
Something by Jack Vance
something by Robert E Howard
And if I get through that list, it’s not like I don’t have stacks and stacks of other Vintage goodies to read.
Remember, this is a not-a-challenge. no sign ups, no e-mails, no reminders, no contests or points or winners. Just old fashioned pulpy fun.
oh, and btw, I’m working on my “best of 2011″ list, really, I am.