the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Vintage SciFi’ Category

I had to scrape ice off the car windshield yesterday morning.  All the Halloween candy has been eaten. It’s dark when I leave for work in the morning, and dark when I get home. I only have two more episodes to go in Stranger Things 2.  I’m tryna figure out what to make for Thanksgiving.


What’s all that mean?  It means Vintage Science Fiction Month is almost here!


Once upon a time, I wanted to read more old stuff. I wanted to know more about where science fiction had come from,  how science fiction authors reacted to what had come before them, and how science fiction reflected societal trends.  Our fiction can be a reflection of our society, don’cha know. That year, I decided I would read only Vintage Scifi during the month of January, and I arbitrarily decided anything from before 1979 would be Vintage, because that was the year I was born. Some people went with the 1979, some people went with whatever year they were born, some people went with something else. As with every bloggy thing I do, there were  no hard rules. The goal was to read something “older” and then talk about it online.


#VintageSciFiMonth is now a thing. It’s so big, I have a co-host, Jacob at Red Star Reviews.  He runs the @VintageSciFi_ (underscore at the end) twitter feed.


If none of this makes any sense to you, here’s a good post that explains it.  Here’s a ginormous list of a zillion Vintage reviews that were done in conjunction with #VintageSciFiMonth.


Thanks to Vintage Science Fiction month, I discovered Cordwainer Smith, Andre Norton, Edmund Hamilton, Samuel Delany, Joan Vinge, Kate Wilhelm, tons of fun Star Trek short stories, Hal Clement, the cheesy goodness that is Space 1999, and so much more.  I’m reading it all out of order, and completely out of context, and having a blast.


What can you look forward to this January?  Rumor has it there will be a Dune read along, possibly a live tweeting of the 1984 Dune movie, Cover art posts, how and where to find Vintage scifi, and I’m sure there will be Blind Dates with a Vintage Book. You know, all the good stuff you’ve come to expect!


Are you interested in writing a guest post for Vintage Month?  guest posts can be anything from a review of a Vintage book you read, to the old scifi short story magazines, to talking about an older scifi movie or TV show you like, to just about anything Vintage Scifi-ish.

Are you interested in hosting a guest post for Vintage month?

Sound off in the comments below, and I will do my best to connect people who want to write a guest post to people who want to host one.




Vintage SF badgeOh, ya’ll are THE BEST.  look at all this Vintage-y goodness you’ve posted in the last little while!

A Jagged Orbit reviewed Ralph 124C41+ by Hugo Gernsback (hey, that guy’s first name rings a bell . . . )

Under my Apple Tree chose Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Lathe of Heaven as her Vintage read

Mervi is on a Leigh Brackett kick, reviewing The Sword of Rhiannon, The Best of Planet Stories #1 and The Ginger Star

SciFi Story of the Week tackles short fiction: “Tunesmith” by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. , “Call Me Joe” by Poul Anderson, and “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein

Even you don’t speak Italian,  google translate may be able to help you enjoy this in depth review of The Sands of Mars by Arthur C Clarke, from Nella’s blog Le Chateau Ambulant

Jean at Howling Frog enjoys a James Blish’s Star Trek 7 TOS episode novelization (and I can’t even tell you how much I adore these little books. I am kicking myself for not buying ALL OF THEM at John King Books in Detroit!)

Planetary Defense Command reviews Isaac Asimov’s Intergalactic Empires

James Wallace Harris delves deep into Why we read vintage science fiction. Is it nostalgia? something more? He also has a fascinating essay on Books that start Snowballing Themes

Kaedrin reviews Wasp by Eric Frank Russell and  Tau Zero by Poul Anderson (Anderson seems very popular this year!)

Bushi enjoyed Jerry Pournelle’s King David’s Spaceship, clunky opening aside

Looking for more Vintage scifi?  follow @VintageSciFi_ on twitter,  and check out the #VintageSciFi and #VintageSciFiMonth feeds on both twitter and instagram.  Jacob at Red Star Reviews is not only my incredible Vintagae Month co-host, but he curates and RTs and reposts much of what is found on those feeds so everyone else can find it. thanks Jacob!

I love January!

Are you having as much fun  as Jacob and I are this month? If you liked exploring something new with bloggers all over the world, I recommend checking out Short Story February (short stories for a short month!) over at Tip The Wink.  Richard is a good friend of mine, and his blog is amazing. If he’s running an event, that is something you want to be part of!

Also?  Winners of the Vintage SciFi Blind Date with a Book have been contacted, and your books will be mailed this coming week. Feel free to unveil your surprises over social medial so everyone can see what you got!

Vintage SF badgeHappy New Year!


Ok, so this isn’t EVERYTHING you need to know about how to Vintage SciFi Month, but it’s a pretty good list. Got more tips or questions? Put ’em in the comments, we’ll get ’em answered.

How do I tell everyone about my Vintage book that I did a January blog post about?   Click on the Vintage SciFi not-a-challenge tab at the top of Little Red Reviewer, and in the comments leave a link to your blog post.  If you’re on twitter, tweet a link, and mention @VintageSciFi_ and #VintageScFi.  If you’re on other social media sites, go nuts there too!


I like graphics and badges and banners. Do you have any of that stuff?

Sure!  Grab that red and yellow Vintage image at the top of this blog post and use however you’d like.

What if I want to read reviews of Vintage books that have already been reviewed?  Have I got some resources for you! The Vintage SciFi not-a-challenge tab up top is a running list of a zillion reviews that have been posted in conjunction with Vintage SciFi Month since we started doing this project.

here are some more resources:

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations – Joachim Boaz offers indepth reviews, commentary, and cover art galleries of everything science fiction you can imagine, focusing on 1930s-1970s. His site is truly incredible.

SF Mistressworks – managed by Ian Sales, SF Mistressworks features reviews of science fiction written by women. Not everything on here is Vintage, but a lot of it is.  Also just an incredible clearing house for book reviews.


Uggh, I bought this old paperback at the used book store, and it smells weird and how do I get this gross sticker off the front?

Not only is Jacob at Red Star Reviews my Vintage co-host, he’s also the master of cleaning up used books! Check out his post on how to safely remove stickers from paperbacks.

Also, if your paperback is kinda stinky, this blog post and the comments may help.


Forget tracking down paper copies and dealing with old musty books, I want to read all my Vintage books on my e-reader.

Technology meets history.  Open Road Media has been publishing a ton of older science fiction as e-books, here’s links to their Clifford Simak, Andre Norton, John Brunner,  and H.G. Wells.  Use their author index to find more.

Project Gutenberg offers a ton of free downloads for material that is no longer under copyright. Here’s a link to their Science Fiction bookshelf. My favorite thing about Project Gutenberg is all the old scifi short story magazines you can download.

I imagine has a bazillion vintage e-books available from other publishers. Many public libraries also have e-books available.


I don’t think I’ll have time to write a review, I don’t like writing reviews, I want to do blog posts that aren’t reviews. Can I still participate?

Of course you can, and we’re happy to have you!  do a blog post of Vintage books that look interesting to you. Do a post that’s nothing but cover art you think is cool.  Do a blog post that links to other people’s Vintage posts.  Comment on posts,  enter a give away, retweet some Vintage tweets, explore some reviews that were written in previous years to learn about new-to-you authors, lurk about as much as you want.  Don’t feel pressured to commit to more time or energy than you can realistically commit to.  Because I’ll tell you right now, January is going to be crazy at work for me, and I am already feeling over committed.




You ready for 2016 to be over? Because I am. I seriously, most definitely am more than ready for it to be New Years.


two yuuuge reasons I’m excited to January:

Reason the first!  I have a Vintage SciFi Month co-host!   Jacob over at Red Star Reviews is my amazing co-host, and I can’t even tell you how thankful I am to have him on board. The last few January’s have been pretty hectic for me and I’ve barely been able to keep up with blogging. So to have a bloggy partner to help promote vintage-y goodness all throughout the webisphere is just amazing. Thank you Jacob, for being so excited for Vintage Month, thank you for everything.

Reason the Second!  The amazing Jacob also runs the @VintageSciFi_ twitter feed!  If you’re on twitter, be sure to follow @VintageSciFi_ and tag it in your Vintage tweets!  More huge thanks to Jacob for running the feed and RTing everyone’s vintage posts. hmmm… he’s good on other social media platforms too, think we can convince him to take over Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube with Vintage-y goodness?

Across the webosphere, this year’s Vintage Month will feature book reviews, video reviews, giveaways, resources for where to find vintage-y goodness, photos of book hauls, and more.

And Jacob and I couldn’t do it without the bloggers, vloggers, and book reviewers who have participated in previous years and are joining this year. So Thank You for being amazing. Thank you for going back in time with us.


Vintage SF badge


Is it January yet?

how ’bout now?


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?



end of the storyThe End of the Story, the Collected Fantasies Vol 1, by Clark Ashton Smith. Edited by Scott Connors and Ron Hilger

This collection published Sept 2015

Where I got it:  rec’d ARC from the publisher (Thanks Nightshade!)









Last summer, I received an advanced reading copy of the new The End of the Story: The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, vol 1, from Nightshade Books.  It’s funny, because these are short stories from the 1930s, yet this is a new printing, with a new introduction, new cover art, etc. It’s lucky this book arrived, as I’ve always heard the name Clark Ashton Smith, but never came across any of his work.


Skimming through the introduction and the table of contents, I quickly learned two things – Clark Ashton Smith is known for cosmic horror and weird fiction, writing in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft; and that most of these stories were blessedly short. Don’t get me wrong, I like a meaty short story, but sometimes a super quick 5 page story, one that’s practically flash fiction, is exactly what fits the bill.  These were short stories I could read half a dozen of before bed, or read one while cooking dinner in between steps of stirring occasionally, and seasoning to taste.


It’s funny reading stories that were written so long ago, and most of these were written between 1925 and 1935.  Just think, in ten years, these stories will be a hundred years old. So, are they dated? Oh completely. But what’s most fascinating to me, is things that readers would have been horrified at (vampires, waking nightmares, succubi, etc) in the late 1920s, most readers today are completely used to.   Do you remember the skinny “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark” books that were popular with the 3rd to 6th grade crowd in the 80s?  Ghost stories,  stories about people’s heads falling off, all rated G, but totally creepy to any nine year old?  This is not an insult, but many of the Clark Ashton Smith stories felt quite a bit like those.  His literary style is a nicer kind of horror in a way – nothing gruesome, nothing squicky.  Many of his “big reveals” are fairly cheesy by today’s standards, such as the man’s visions were all a dream, or the old person relating the scary story disappeared into thin air, and such.  I’d happily give this collection to any ten year old, and not only would it scare the pants off them (in a fun way, I swear!), but they’d learn all sorts of fun new words, like asphodels, psammite, innominable, obloquy, invultuations, and dilatoriness.


So, the stories are dated, the big reveals aren’t at all shocking, but the prose is illuminating, and poetic. Here’s a sample, from the beginning of “The Planet of the Dead”:

Read the rest of this entry »

Taking a cue from Lynn’s Book Blog,  I’d like to highlight a few Vintage titles I’ve previously enjoyed by showing off their cover art.  What makes these books so special to me, is that without Vintage month, I wouldn’t have ever discovered them.

As you scroll through this cover art gallery, ask yourself: if you saw these books with this cover art at the bookstore, how likely would you be to pick up the book?


Just recently, I fell head over heels for Clifford Simak’s Way Station, written in 1963.  Such a feel-good story!

The original 1963 Doubleday cover art

The original 1963 Doubleday cover art

1969 Cover Art by Jack Faragasso

1969 Cover Art by Jack Faragasso

2014 Cover art from the Chinese translation

2014 Cover art from the Chinese translation

Read the rest of this entry »

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FTC Stuff

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.