the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Vintage SciFi’ Category


Goodness, it’s already January 19th? When did that even happen?  Apparently I am starting out 2018 with terrible time management skills.

Thank you to everyone is who participating in Vintage Science Fiction month, I hope you’ve taken an opportunity to pick up an author you’ve never read before, a title you’ve never read before, or even used this month as a time to revisit your favorite classics.  This year’s Vintage Month has been a little on the quiet side, and you know what? I am a 110% OK with that.

If you’re interested in exploring Vintage Science Fiction titles, and seeing what your friends are up to, these links are for you!


The Howling Frog has been enjoying some excellent Leigh Brackett novels, reviewing The Reavers of Skaith, The Hounds of Skaith, and The Ginger Star. (If the name Leigh Brackett rings a bell it’s because her Eric John Stark adventures are awesome, and oh yeah, she was one of the screenwriters for  The Empire Strikes Back.)


My Reader’s Block read a buffet of short fiction in the 1966 edition of World’s Best Science Fiction, which included work by Simak, Fritz,  Niven, Saberhagen, all the rock stars of that decade along with names she didn’t recognize. She gives a run down of every story, what a great snapshot of the Science Fiction short fiction of ’66!   Not exactly Vintage, but filled with classic Star Trek injokes, she also had some fun with the new illustrated book Search For Spock.


Every Day Should be Tuesday gave five stars to Andre Norton’s The Beast Master.  This is an excellently written review, with tidbits from what may have inspired portions of the book and what this book went on to influence. Norton is one of my favorite classic authors, I get a kick out of seeing her work still being enjoyed!


Bookforager enjoyed The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe by D.G. Compton. Written in the mid-70s, this novel is character driven, has touches of the upcoming cyberpunk trend,  features a middle aged female protagonist, and a surprise reveal.  I’m not familiar with Compton’s work, but after reading this review, I need to track down a copy of this book!


Kaedrin read Larry Niven’s classic Ringworld,  which I like to think of as the novel that launched a thousand ideas, books, spin-offs, and video games.  I don’t know about you, but I know I take for granted how much of an influence Ringworld has had on contemporary scifi ideas.


There is a lot of general Vintage Science Fiction chatter happening on twitter, follow @VintageSciFiMonth_ or #VintageSciFiMonth to hop into the conversation!


As for me, I’m reading quicker than I have time to review! I’m currently enjoying a volume of Clifford Simak short fiction. Mostly written between 1940 and 1960,  his ideas are far ahead of their time – there is a time travel story in here that screams “The Company”, there is a story about vegetable intelligence that I’d love to discuss with an evolutionary biologist, there is a terrifying theory about how the dinosaurs were really wiped out, and it’s all just so damn readable!


Whatever book you pick up this weekend, be it Vintage or not, be it a new-to-you author or not, I wish you reading enjoyment and relaxation!




Sorry about the radio silence, it’s been a long week!   I haven’t written formal reviews for these books, but here’s what I’ve been reading recently for Vintage Science Fiction month!


The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (1957) – I’ve been meaning to read this forever. It’s one of those books that can spark never ending conversations, in a good way! It’s a sort of space opera version of The Count of Monte Cristo.  Gully Foyle is just a regular guy, and he gets marooned in space, the only survivor of a nearly destroyed ship.  A ship comes to salvage, and sees Foyle. But instead of rescuing him, the ship leaves. Foyle vows to find the people who left him behind, and destroy them.    Things I enjoyed about The Stars My Destination included the explanation of how people discovered how to teleport themselves and how teleportation drastically changes how society functions, how Foyle survives a few minutes at a time on the dying ship, his tiger tattoos and the lunatics who tattood him, and I really loved the revelation at the end about WHY certain people want to get their hands on Gully Foyle. The last chapter was absolutely brilliant. Things I didn’t like about this book were basically all of the characters.  Maybe upon reread I’ll connect with the characters more, but I didn’t care for any of them, and I couldn’t buy into Foyle’s insta-relationship with Olivia.


9th Annual Year’s Best SF, edited by Judith Merrill (1964) – I’ve been dipping in and out of this anthology. I started with one of my favorite Cordwainer Smith short stories, “Drunkboat”, what a great story! I mean, everything Smith wrote was fantastic!  And then I got laugh out of “Double Standard”, by Frederic Brown. Told from the point of view of  a person who lives inside a television set, who acts towards the window, and wonders about the people he sees on the other side of the window, different people every night. This hilariously rated G story originally appeared in Playboy.  Other fun stories I enjoyed included  “Mrs Pigafetta Swims Well” by R. Bretnor, “Poppa Needs Shorts”, by Walt & Leigh Richmond, and “Ming Vase”, by E.C. Tubb.  I expect to dip into this anthology more, as there are stories by Alfred Bester, Fritz Leiber, and Hal Clement I’d like to read.


Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein (1953) – So, I do consider myself a Heinlein fan. And many people list Starman Jones as their favorite Heinlein juvenile. But it fell completely flat for me. Maybe I would have liked it more if I’d read it as a pre-teen? It seems like something a pre-teen could really get into.   The characters felt very flat to me, and Max Jones, the main character, he doesn’t seem to have any personality. Things happen around them, he responds to them in whatever way the story needs, the story moves on. So, the less said about this one, the better.



Two weeks from today:

If you live in the northern hemisphere the days will finally be getting longer (omg, FINALLY).

Many people will have a stack of things that are destined to be returned for a different size/color/completely different item

I will have already posted my Favorite Books I  Read This Year blog post

we will all be saying “2018 can’t possibly be worse”

Vintage Month readers will be drafting their first Vintage blog posts of the month!!


I like to figure out ahead of time what  I’m going to read for Vintage Month. Or, to be more honest, I like to figure out what I plan to read. I rarely am able to get to it all.  This January will be unique, as everything I plan to read are books (and magazines) that people gave me.  These are all items that someone thought “I bet Andrea would like this”.  All of these items have been curated for me by people who care about me.  That makes them extra special!


Here’s what my friends knew I’d be interested in:

From my friend Andy comes Starman Jones and A Requiem for Astounding. Starman Jones is one of Andy’s favorite Heinlein juveniles, and it looks like a fun, easy, breezy read.   A Requiem For Astounding is a rare find, written by fan and historian Alva Rogers as a biography of Astounding magazine. I don’t know that I’ll be reading requiem cover to cover, but I’m sure I’ll dabble in it.  I worry I don’t have the context to get everything out of Requiem that Rogers hopes.


Just arrived the other day from my friend Richard at Tip the Wink, is among others, Nova by Delany, and the 9th Annual Year’s Best S-F edited by Judith Merrill.  I very much enjoyed Delany’s Babel-17, and Dahlgren looks intimidating, so Nova looks like the perfect book for me.  I’ve enjoyed other anthologies edited by Merrill, so I’m thrilled to pick up anything she edited. I glanced through the TOC to see a number of familiar names, and “Drunkboat”, which is one of my favorite Cordwainer Smith short stories. And this particular little paperback is my favorite kind of paperback – hundreds of onion skin thin pages,  economically tiny print, ultra cheap printing. It is the kind of paperback that screams “I was built to be thrown in your bag, read on the train and handled roughly.  Sneak in a few pages at every opportunity you can”.  Yes I personify and anthropomorphize books. I regret nothing.

My friend Elizabeth sent me these random Analog magazines shortly after  we met.  She is an uncanny reader of people, as the January issue includes a serialized portion of Frank Herbert’s Dune!!  When we get to those chapters in the Dune Read Along over at Red Star Reviews, I’ll be reading it from this magazine. And who knows how the text changed in the editing for the magazine to the editing into a novel?  I get a kick out of the advertisements and editorials in these magazines.  It is weird for me, to be reading these magazine issues so far removed from their context.  the editorials and letters to the editor won’t make any sense, the items that are being advertised no longer exists.   If all goes well, I’ll feel like an anthropologist.


That is my January plan!  what’s on your Vintage Plate?



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.


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how ’bout now?


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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.