Archive for January 2012
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!!)
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Confusion give away for a copy of the Limited Edition of The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi. It’s a beautiful little hard-back novella, sure to please any Scalzi fan.
and the winner is. . . .
Congrats Stephanie, please watch your e-mail for a message from me.
Hellstrom’s Hive, by Frank Herbert
Published in 1973
where I got it: purchased used
There will be spoilers in this review, if only because they show up early in the novel, and it would be impossible to tell you anything about the plot without spoiling a few surprises. But don’t worry, there are many more surprises I didn’t tell you about.
If you’ve read Dune, you’ll be familiar with Herbert’s odd style of telling a story in third person, yet showing nearly everyone’s internal monologues and thoughts processes as if it were first person. For people who have never read a Herbert before, it is a strange style, and you’ll get used to it fairly quickly.
Something very strange is going on in a rural valley in the Pacific Northwest. An unnamed government agency has a file on the documentary maker Nils Hellstrom. They know something subversive (probably communism or a religious cult) is happening on his rural farm slash movie studio, but they can’t seem to catch him in the act. And every agent they send in as a lost backpacker or hiker disappears without a trace. When an agent finds a secret Hellstrom document partially outlining some kind of super weapon, the agency knows it’s time to up their game. We get to know a handful of agents, and in only a few pages (sometimes a few sentences), Herbert digs deeps into their personas to flesh them out into full developed characters with hopes and fears. If you ask me, Herbert has always been a master of subtle character development.
And then we get the story from Nils’ point of view. He’s not harboring communists or making dirty movies. He’s desperately trying to save the human race. More a culture than a cult, he has helped created a utopian society, one free of fear, jealousy, hunger, and anger. A society where everyone is peaceful and happy, where everyone works in harmony to help the larger group. This perfect society, the only way to save the human race, is based on another on of Earth’s creatures, albeit on most humans find unsavory.
Vintage Science Fiction Month Returns!!
The Wanting Seed, by Anthony Burgess
published in 1962
where I got it – garage sale
In this Dystopian futuristic London, Earth’s population has exploded,requiring government involvement to keep population under control. Solutions include limiting families to one birth, allowing a high infant mortality rate, and doing anything to discourage pregnancy. Energy is scarce, so nothing is wasted, and dead bodies are used as fertilizers and energy. Most people subsist on government supplied rations of artificially created foodstuffs. Burgess writes so perfectly smoothly that you don’t even feel the disturbing qualities overtake the story. By the time you realize what’s happening, it’s too late to put the book down.
The story follows Tristram Foxe and his wife Beatrice-Joanna. Tristram is a scholar and school teacher, and Beatrice-Joanna is having an affair with her brother in law, Derek, who is a government official. in a future where procreating families are looked down upon, homosexuality is a highly promoted lifestyle choice as a way of having a perfectly healthy sexual relationship where children are impossible. Many heterosexuals act homosexual in public, as overt homosexuality has become a way to further one’s career opportunities. Derek, for instance, flirts with men all day long, but visits Beatrice-Joanna as often as possible. Beatrice-Joanna becomes pregnant by Derek (after purposely misusing her government supplied contraceptives), and when Tristram finds out the child may not be his, he kicks her out, and she goes north to find shelter on her sister’s farm.
Their marital troubles aside, society is falling apart around Tristram and Beatrice-Joanna. The government has started to threaten random blood testing of women for pregnancy, further enforcement of government supplied contraceptives, and social pressures for sterilization. Ranks of the angry unemployed are hired as junior police officers and general goons to keep the populace terrorized.
Congrats! You survived my EpicConFusion posts, as full of geekery, author stalking and horrible photos as they were. (BTW, thanks for all the comments, I am slowly getting to respond to them. too slowly. it’s all twitter’s and my day job’s fault)
But you survived! You deserve a prize!
How about a hard cover Limited Edition of John Scalzi’s The Sagan Diary, with stunning cover art by Bob Eggleton?
here’s the blurb:
Fans of John Scalzi’s “Old Man” universe, prepare yourselves: there’s a long new story in that universe, told from the point of view of one of the series’ most intruiging characters.
Subterranean Press is proud to present The Sagan Diary, a long novelette that for the first time looks at the worlds of the Hugo-nominated Old Man’s War and it’s sequel The Ghost Brigades from the point of view of Lieutenant Jane Sagan, who is a series of diary entries gives her views on some of the events included in the series. . . and sheds new light into some previously unexplored corner. If you thought you knew Jane Sagan before, prepare to be surprised.
If you’re a fan of his Old Man’s War series, you’d probably be interested in this. I’m interested in it too, but as husband and I both received copies, even if I give one away, I’ll still have one to read.
This contest will be open until the evening of Sunday, Jan 29th, Eastern Standard Time. It’s open to anyone living on planet Earth, however if you live outside the US the shipping might take a while.
Sounds great you say? How do I enter, you ask? All you have to do is leave a comment in this post telling me an author you’d love to meet at a convention. The winner will be contacted within a few days after the give away closes.