the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘Vintage SciFi

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:

vintage-books-for-2017

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?

 

 

 

Vintage SF badge

 

If you could ask your great grandparents what their life was like when they were growing up, you would, right?

If you could go back in time and see what your country and your family were like before social media took over the universe, you’d be interesting in seeing what the world was like, right?

 

This January,  you can.  This January, I invite you to travel through time with me.  Travel into the past,  look into the youthful eyes of your great grandparents. See what came before so we could have what we have now.

Ok, maybe not time travel exactly. . .  but sort of.

 

Everything comes from somewhere. You came from your parents, duh.  But who are the parents of your favorite science fiction books? I’ll tell you:  the parents of your favorite science fiction books are the books that author read to be inspired and to dream.  And those books have parents too.  If you don’t like me using the word “book parents” here, how about “the author’s influences”?  Something they were influenced and inspired by to create something new and modern.

By reading older fiction, you get to see how that fiction progressed to get to where it is today. You get to experience the family tree, as it were, of speculative fiction.

To learn more, click on “Vintage Sci-Fi Not-A-Challenge” tab up top.  This is not a reading challenge. You do not have to do anything.  You can read one book or ten. You can listen to a radio broadcast, you can watch and old movie or old TV shows.  You can post a comment, a few sentences, a full on book review, a video blog post, you can just lurk if you want.  There is one rule:  what you read/listen to/view/ discuss should be older than me.  If it was born before 1979 it’s fair game for Vintage Month.

I’ll be posting again about Vintage Month in December, but in the meantime, help get the word out, because like every party the more the merrier.  I’m taking a break from social media for a little while,  so have fun talking about Vintage Month on twitter by using #VintageSciFi and #VintageSciFiMonth, and following @VintageSciFi_  (don’t forget the Underscore at the end!), which is run by the amazing and enthusiastic Jacob at Red Star Reviews.  If you’re on other social media feel free to chat about it there too.

an you believe 2017 will be the 6th year of Vintage Month???  I can’t!

It’s Red Alert for the Interstellar Patrol.  Are you ready to take a trip back in time?

Vintage SF badge

Welcome to Vintage Science Fiction month, where we celebrate speculative fiction from yesteryear.  Welcome to those of you who are reading something older for the first time, welcome to those of you who randomly read older stuff all the time, welcome to those of you who read Citizen of the Galaxy or Dune or Babel-17 in their first printings. Vintage Month is a sort of multi-generational  book club.

 

A discussion that often comes up when reading older fiction is “did it age well?”. A corollary to that is it isn’t the books that age, it’s us.  Something that was edgy and groundbreaking in 1935 certainly feels old fashioned now. Something I loved to pieces when I was fifteen might not thrill mid-30s me.  We age, and the books stay the same. Society and culture changes, but the book that was written in 1962 is still that same book.

 

frazetta cover princess of marsWhich brings me to the title of this blog post.

 

As you are reading older science fiction books this month, and hopefully posting your thoughts online, in which context will you be reading the book? Will you read A Princess of Mars in the pulpy context of it’s time, or will you compare it against today’s more diverse fiction?  Will you chuckle along with Stanislaw Lem’s Cyberiad, or wonder why his computers and robots were so clunky?

 

There’s no one right way to review a book, or to frame your thoughts on something.  But think about, and be aware of the timeframe in which these books were written, and the lives the authors lived.  Some of you will judge older titles against today’s expectations (why are these characters so simple? How come no one is conflicted? Why are there so few women and minorities? Why is this book so . . . problematic? Is it actually problematic? etc).  Others of you will be more aware and understanding of the time in which the books were published. Like I  said, there is no right or wrong way, and many of us will end up having our cake and eating it too.  If you are of the younger generation, I invite and encourage you to ask older Vintage Month bloggers about what was happening the world when certain books were published. Mark Geston makes so much more sense when seen through the eyes of a Vietnam Vet.  Space travel stories of the 1940s read more like science and less like fantasy when you realize how little we actually knew about spaceflight, and that NASA didn’t even exist yet, let alone our dreams of a Moon landing.

 

And for books that are published today? Five, ten, or even fifteen years from now, when you return to the same book, you will have changed, but the book will remain the same.  And you’ll remember the context in which it was written. You’ll have a connection to that context.

And twenty years from now, when the books that were published circa 2010 are considered “old”, you’ll be defending your favorite title to some young-un who finds it problematic.  You’ll be the one telling that young and annoyingly loud,  rascal that if they’d only think about the time in which said book was written . . . .

the-stars-my-destination 2

Vintage SF badge

 

it’s astounding
the science fiction,vintage scifi photo
that we, love to read.
so grab a book
something that’s much older

 

hopefully there’s no mold.
I’ve got all these books from way back
authors who started a trend.
they might be old fashioned,Andy Vintage letter pg 4

things were different, back then.

Let’s read Vintage again!
Let’s read Vintage again!

it’s fun with the classics,
do they age like that fine wine?

with your hands on a book
from before nineteen seventy nine.

it’s the space opera oldies
that makes you love these kinds of booksBest of Hal Clement
Let’s read Vintage again!
Let’s read Vintage again!

it’s so dreamy
sci-fantasy read me!
Verne, Clarke and Norton
and Asimov.
in another dimension
with interstellar intention!
well caffienated, I’ll read all.

With a bit of a mind flip
You’re into a time slip
Old books won’t ever be the same.
Maybe on a space station
or a fantasy incantation

Let’s read Vintage again!
Let’s read Vintage again!

 

no ear-worm yet? Let me help you with that.

no ear-worm yet? Let me help you with that.

 

 

And no, this  blog post isn’t a drunken prank.  Every January for the last few years I’ve read older science fiction and fantasy.  Older books, older TV shows, older movies.  It’s neat to see how things were back then, and how they are now, you know? click here for more info.

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:

Vintage SF badgeDrunken Dragon Reviews

Book Haven

Lesley Conner

Uncertain Tales

The Broken  Bullhorn

Andrew Robins (for the guest post AND the loan of the DVDs!)

Antyphayes

Bruce Baugh

Battered, Tattered, Yellowed and Creased

Fate SF

Howling Frog Books

Tethyan Books

Dab of Darkness

this is how she fight start

Over the Effing Rainbow

Susan Hated Literature

The Bastard Title

Two Dudes in an Attic

My Reader’s Block

Stainless Steel Droppings

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

Science Fiction Times

Lynn’s Book Blog

Nashville Book Worm

RedStar Reviews

The Finch and Pea

Bookishly Witty

 

 

stableford FloriansThe Florians, by Brian Stableford

published in 1976

where I got it: purchased used

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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Over at Dab of Darkness, Nlrymrtl reviews the audio books of Possible to Rue by Piers Anthony, and “The Book of Beasts”, which was written in 1900 by E. Nesbit

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

 

 

 


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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.