Archive for January 2015
wow, it’s the end of January already! How did that happen??
As it turned out, the majority of what I read for Vintage Month was published in the 60s and 70s. I got a taste of New Wave, more psychology studies than I can shake a stick at, our fears of overpopulation, our hopeful expectations of future technology, and science fiction as written through the lens of the Vietnam War. My focus on that time period was accidental, but i’m happy it worked out that way.
I want to thank everyone who participated in Vintage Science Fiction Month this year. Whether you wrote reviews, did a discussion or a guest post, or simply retweeted something tagged #VintageSciFi that looked interesting, it’s because of YOU that Vintage SciFi Month was a success.
A huge Thank You goes out to:
Andrew Robins (for the guest post AND the loan of the DVDs!)
published in 1978
where I got it: purchased used
Ahh, Star Trek. I grew up with you, I watched all your spin offs, I learned all about diplomacy and crazy hairstyles from you, I’ve even transferred my school girl crush on Shatner’s Kirk to Vic Mignogna’s Kirk. But in all these years, I’ve never read a Star Trek tie in novel. Until now. Browsing at a bookstore with some friends, Vulcan! by Kathleen Sky was pushed into my hands. ok sure, why not?
You know sometimes you just need a fun, brain-candy kind of book? Something that is sure to entertain but doesn’t require your brain to do any back-flips? This was one of the books, and the timing couldn’t have been better, because boy was I in the mood for some easy to read candy.
The premise is that the Neutral Zone between Federation space and Romulan space is shifting, and a solar system that had always been on the Federation side will soon be on the Romulan side. The Enterprise’s mission is to visit the planet and determine if the life forms there are intelligent or not. On the way, they pick up the Federation’s preeminent expert on zenobiology, Dr. Katalya Tremain. Kirk has been warned that she’s got a difficult personality, but he figures he’ll put on the charm, and she’ll be like putty in his hands. Dr. Tremain beams aboard, sees Spock standing in the transporter room, and freaks the hell out. Apparently “difficult personality” was subtle talk for she’s happily vocal about her bigoted hatred for all Vulcans.
published in 1976
where I got it: purchased used
Back in January of 2013, Susan of Dab of Darkness wrote a guest post about the works of Brian Stableford, and I’ve been looking for a copy of The Florians ever since. And I eventually found one!
Once upon in the future, Earth was able to send out colony ships with the idea that as they sent back confirmation of habitable planets, we would sent out more colonists. Habitable planets found or not, shortly after the ships were sent out, the project was cancelled for economic reasons. We never set out more ships, we never tried to reach our colonists, and couldn’t afford to worry if they had survived or not. There are those who want to completely cancel all space programs. Many people want us to work on solving problems on Earth (pollution, over population, disease, etc) before spending money we don’t have on outer space missions with no guarantee.
However, limited funding has made a few ships available to contact colonies. Alexis Alexander is a member of the small crew of the Daedelus, on a mission to connect with as many surviving colonies as possible. The ship won’t bring supplies or food or anything like that, only the medical lab on board, and the ecological, biological, and medical expertise of Alexis and his crewmates. All they can do is help the colonists adapt to their new worlds, help them fight off diseases. Even if the colonists don’t meet intelligent life forms, they will still be breathing alien air, be interacting with alien soil and microbes and such.
Looking for some more Vintage SciFi goodies? I’ve got you covered! Remember, it’ll be a lot easier for everyone to find your post if you link to it in the “Vintage SciFi Not-a-Challenge” tab up top, or tweet it with hashtag #VintageScifi
check these out!
Bruce Baugh reviewed Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow
Over at The Bastard Title is a fantastic review of Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr.
Tethyan Books enjoyed the Retro Hugo Award winning Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
Over the Effing Rainbow continues reading through Frank Herbert’s Dune.
Science Fiction Times reviews Isaac Asimov’s first published story, “The Callistan Menace”
Book Haven reviews StarMan’s Son by Andre Norton, and suggests this title as a great starting point for her work
At The Finch and Pea is an in depth review of The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson
Bookishly Witty reviews The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
My Reader’s Block reads the terrifying Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Susan Hated Literature offers a review of Inverted World by Christopher Priest (also? gorgeous cover art!)
Pornokitch entertainingly discusses the History of the Hugo and Nebula awards
Today’s guest post is from Lesley Conner. Lesley is one of my go-to people when I have a crazy idea at 4am and need someone to tell me that yes, the idea is crazy, but let’s do it anyway. Everyone should have a Lesley in their life.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, on Page and Film
a guest post by Lesley Conner
Lesley Conner is a writer, social media editor and marketing leader for Apex Publications, and Managing Editor for Apex Magazine. She spends her days pestering book reviewers, proofreading, wrangling the slush pile, doling out contracts, and chatting about books, writing, and anything else that crosses her mind on the @ApexBookCompany Twitter account. Most of her nights are spent with a good book and a glass of wine. She recently sold her alternative history horror novel, The Weight of Chains, to Sinister Grin Press. It’s slated to be released in early 2015. To find out all her secrets, you can find her on Twitter at @LesleyConner.
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Invasion of the Body Snatchers has become an iconic cultural reference over the years. If things feel off, if people seem to be acting a little strange, whispers of how it must be the pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers fly. I smile and bob my head like I know exactly what people mean, and go on with my day. And the thing is, I do know what they mean…. vaguely. In the hazy vision of a giant seed pod popping open and a perfectly formed, adult body emerging to take the place of my friends and neighbors kind of way.
Until recently I hadn’t read Invasion of the Body Snatchers or seen any of three movies that the 1955 novel inspired. I knew the basic premise of the story – we all do – an alien species is taking over Earth by replacing all of the humans with exact replicas grown in giant pods. But beyond that… shrug, I didn’t know.
So when the chance came up to do another vintage sci-fi post for Andrea, I decided it was time to find out more, reading both the novel and watching the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers so that I could compare and contrast the book to the film. (Why did I pick the 1978 film? Besides the fact that Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum were in it? It was available through Netflix streaming. I searched and pushed play. Easy peasy.)
Read the rest of this entry »
Space 1999 is a Science Fiction TV show that ran for 2 seasons from 1975 to 1977, and starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain of Mission Impossible fame, and English-Canadian stage actor Barry Morse.
From a science point of view, the premise of the show is absolutely ridiculous, but from a social science point of view I found a lot of things to be fascinated by. Moonbase Alpha is a research station on the Moon, whose technicians also periodically check on nuclear waste storage facilities on the far side of the moon. Radiation has built up, and there is a massive explosion, causing the Moon to get knocked out of orbit and go shooting off through the galaxy. Ok, that’s the ridiculous. The fascinating is that none of these people are astronauts or explorers. They are scientists, astronomers, field technicians, nuclear waste specialists, a handful of shuttle pilots, and the necessary physicians, accountants and bureaucrats needed to support the staff of a science station. They were all expecting to go back to Earth after their however-many-months stint at the station was over, and now they are involuntarily hurtling through the galaxy. Instantly, we’ve got some interesting psychology going on.
As the runaway Moon whizzes past planets, they have time to observe and send down shuttles to explore. (offering unlimited opportunity for an adventure of the week/monster of the week television show!) Realizing they may never get back to Earth, they hope to find a planet to settle on. Yes, it is patently ridiculous that the runaway Moon’s random path would take it right past a new planet every few episodes, but just go with it. If you can’t swallow that plot device, you’re not going to make it very far into the series.
If you can get past the silly parts of the show, you’ll find Space 1999 has a Star Trek: Voyager meets Firefly vibe. You’ll find yourself saying “this is so ridiculous!”, and then really enjoying the show.
My friend Andy got me hooked on Andre Norton (he’s working on getting me hooked on typewriters, but that’s a different story). Although we see each other all the time and live near each other, we often send letters, cards, and post cards back and forth. Andy types his on one of the many typewriters he owns, and in trade, I send him postcards with nearly illegible handwriting. Here’s a portion of a letter I recently received from Andy:
(warning: this post is 100% scanned images, so may take a while to load)