the Little Red Reviewer

Countdown to Vintage Science Fiction Month!

Posted on: December 4, 2016

Vintage SF badgeAhh, January.   The post-holiday slump,  the pressure of News Years Resolutions,  the local $10 a month gym is packed to the rafters.  And let’s not even talk about how long it takes to unbury you car when it’s time to go to work.

What’s so great about January, you say?  Not only is there 3 more minutes of daylight each day, but January is Vintage Science Fiction month!  a few years ago (ok, more than a few!), I started reading older than me science fiction every January as a way to get in touch with the roots of science fiction.  Thanks to the blogosphere, book vloggers, twitter, and other social media,  Vintage Month has become an actual thing!  If you’re interested in the history of Vintage Month, click  on the Vintage SciFi tab up at the top of my blog or type “Vintage” in the side bar search thingy.

2017-scifiexperienceVintage Month is also connected with Stainless Steel Dropping’s The SciFi Experience, and many bloggers are already talking about their plans for The SciFi Experience and Vintage Month, including  Red Star Reviews‘ Vintage reading plans, Jim Harris’s in-depth essay at Auxiliary Memory and the vintage and SciFi Experience announcement post at Lynn’s Book Blog

Ok, so Vintage Month.   The idea is to read (or watch or listen to) anything scifi / fantasy / spec fic / fantastika  from 1979 or earlier.   You can read a book, listen to an audio book, watch old movies or TV shows.   Then talk about it online.  Or comment on someone else’s post online.  Don’t have time to experience something Vintage-y in January?  That’s OK too. If you comment on someone else’s Vintage post, guess what? You’re a participant in Vintage Month.  Why 1979 you ask? It’s the year I was born.


Are you on twitter?   Feel free to follow VintageSciFi_ , which is run by the amazing RedStarReviews.  Use the hashtag #VintageSciFi or #VintageSciFiMonth.  If you’re on Instagram or Pinterest, those tags work there too.


Due to some day-jobbery projects that are scheduled to hit in January,  my Vintage dabblings may be less than usual.  That’s OK, because Vintage Month is in good hands! Your hands!


Anyways, here’s whats on my TBR or at least dabbled in pile for Vintage Month:


Voyage of the Space Beagle by A.E. Van Vogt – this is a “fix up” novel that was published in 1950. A “fix-up” is when an author takes a bunch of somewhat related short stories and literally fixes them up into a (mostly) functioning novels. Not all fix ups were a success. To be honest, I’m most interested in this Vogt because it includes a version of the 1939 short story “Black Destroyer”. That short story is credited with having started the Golden Age of Science Fiction and it was the inspiration for the movie “Alien”, one of my favorite movies of all time.


Andre Norton’s Sargasso of Space and Uncharted StarsSargasso just looks hella fun, and Uncharted Stars is a sort of sequel to The Zero Stone, which is my all time favorite Norton.


Early Days, by Robert Silverberg -This is actually a brand new publication from Subterranean Press. It contains over a dozen now impossible to find Silverberg short stories that were published in the 1950s, along with story notes and commentary.  An issue I’ve found with Vintage stuff, is because I’m not familiar with the context in which these stories were written, I have trouble connecting with the subtleties. I’m looking forward to the commentaries and story notes in this book, so that I can delve deeper into the context. Scifi + history = Andrea is a happy camper.


And last but so very not least, is The Universe Wreckers, an Edmond Hamilton volume of his pulp short stories, and let me just tell you, the photo doesn’t do this book justice.   A three volume set gifted to me by someone very special to me,  The Collected Edmond Hamilton is all of this prolific author’s prose works.  It’s from Haffner Press, which means it’s a beautifully produced collector’s item.  Since receiving these as a gift, I’ve been intimidated by them.  It’s like that Sub Press numbered edition you bought as a gift to yourself, and now you’re afraid to take it out of the plastic? Yeah, like that.  So, here’s to getting over being intimidated by beautiful bindings! This volume has 10 short stories, letters to the editor, and correspondence between Hamilton and his magazine editors. That means more historical context for me, YAY!!   Also, if his name sounds familiar, it’s because he was married to Leigh Brackett.


Well, that’s enough rambling from me.  What Vintage-y stuff are you excited to read in January?



26 Responses to "Countdown to Vintage Science Fiction Month!"

I am going to give Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky a go. It’s a Russian novel written as a response to the oppressive Communist regime and was a very risky thing to do. It came to my attention after watching a documentary called Hypernormalisation.


Great book.

Liked by 1 person

Looking forward to what you think of Space Beagle. I read it years ago and remember really enjoying it…


I’m also reading Andre Norton – The Stars Are Ours!, and probably its sequel Star Born. You tempt me to include Edmond Hamilton and A. E. Van Vogt.


I don’t normally read anything except new releases, but boy do I want to try and join in! I must peruse my shelves and see what pretty 1979 books I have:-)


I am adding Voyage of the space beagle to my tbr. It sounds interesting. In fact, all these sound interesting.


I like your choices, especially the Andre Norton books. As you say, Uncharted Stars is a sequel to the Zero Stone, which is great Norton SF.
The Sargasso of Space is another good one from Norton; I believe it is the start of her Solar Queen series.



[…] is hosting Vintage Science Fiction Month in January. I’m joining the fun with a batch of Leigh Brackett […]


Leigh Brackett is good. I always found Van Vogt and Hamilton pretty poor writers. Would rather go back and reread some Theodore Sturgeon, Clifford Simak and Philip K. Dick


[…] am also planning to participate in Vintage Sci-fi event in January (hosted by Little Red Reviewer) for which most of these sci-fi books will work as they were all published before 1979.The books […]


You have some nice selections there, I’m sure you’ll like some or all of them. Old SF is always an adventure.

Not sure what oldies will be on my plate. Probably some Pohl Anderson short works, some Larry Niven Known Space stories, one of the Redwall books, maybe a re-read of David Eddings’ The Belgariad. That’s more than enough for a month!


ooh, Redwall!!! haven’t read that for ages! And Belgariad!


My initial reaction was that I couldn’t justify buying more books when I have so many that I haven’t read…

…but thinking about it, I have been meaning to read The Dispossessed, which would qualify. And so would The Fifth Head of Cerberus. And so, perhaps more in the ‘vintage’ spirit, would E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s “The Skylark of Space”, published in 1928 and one of the most seminal SF novels ever published. So… maybe I will participate!

[If it’s ‘Vintage SF&F’ more generally, I’ve also been meaning to read Cabell’s “Figures of Earth” (1921.]


See how easy it is? (easy to participate, AND easy to justify buying a few more books!). If you’re interested in e-books, search for Open Road Media on NetGalley, they’ve been doing digital versions of a lot of older science fiction. I’ve also found some free SF&F e-books on Project Gutenberg. And there’s always the library.


Ha. Easy to have the vague idea of participating – actually doing so will be harder. And I’ve not persuaded myself to buy anything (yet) – those are all things I have already lying around.

[I don’t do e-books. Though sometimes I’m tempted – having some sort of note-taking or bookmarking facility would be helpful sometimes]


The Dispossesed and Fifth Head of Cereberus are both classics. I find E.E. Smith unreadable. Some of the worst writing ever published. Love Cabell but haven’t read him for ages.


Yeah, I’m not expecting much from the Smith. It was considered not the most literary scifi even back in the 40s, when SF wasn’t exactly that literary.
But it’s very short and it’s one of the foundational works of the genre, and I’ve read very little of that sort of thing (Asimov is about as far back as I’ve gone), so it seems like a good educational experience…

I’m pleased you’ve both heard of and read Cabell! I’ve only read Jurgen so far, but I’ve no doubt I’ll be reading a bunch more in the future.


Ballantine Books reprinted a bunch of Cabell back in the sixties and I read them then. Not sure how easy they are to get hold of anymore.


Well, I think copyright has now expired, so there have been a bunch of editions of his more famous works in the last few years by those little presses that just put out low-volume, low-cost copies of hundred-year-old editions because they don’t have to pay for them. Not sure how far into his back-catalogue they go, though.


I may try some Andre Norton as well, I read her as a kid but it’s been awhile. Maybe the Beast Master/ Lord of thunder combo.


I enjoyed Norton as a teenager but haven’t read any since her first several Witch World books. She was a good introduction to the field.


[…] (the Little Red Reviewer) Countdown to Vintage Science Fiction Month! — “Ok, so Vintage Month. The idea is to read (or watch or listen to) anything scifi / […]


Got the card, pun, groan. Thxx. Very cold, icy here.


you’re welcome. 🙂 it was 25 degrees here today. hoping for a warm up on Monday, up to 30.


[…] Red Reviewer and Jacob at Red Star Reviews are hosting Vintage Science Fiction Month in January.  Here is Andrea’s announcement post.  You can follow Vintage Science Fiction Month on Twitter […]


[…] published prior to our birth year! Check out the founder LittleRedReviewer’s post on VintageSciFiMonth for more […]


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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