Archive for March, 2019



Planes crash,

People die,

And industry

Gets slapped

On the wrist.








March 30, 2019 at 8:05 pm 1 comment

Book Review: Secret Rendezvous, Kobo Abe (1977, trans. 1979)

I cannot convey how important an article like this is to me.
It is, to me, important to remember past authors, no matter the genre.

I love the history of writers. Their efforts deserve to be remembered.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

(Tadanoi Yokoo’s cover for the 1979 edition)

5/5 (Masterpiece)

In Kobo Abe’s Secret Rendezvous (1977, trans. 1979) the hospital lies like a recumbent body, leaking fluids through its membranes and undefined in its expansiveness, across the urban landscape. Within its labyrinthine interior, humans (agents of “disease”) animate various functions of the hospital for their own purposes–some sinister, some scientific, some sinisterly scientific. The hospital body lurches and vibrates with the sounds of its doctors and orderlies as they rewire the building’s organs and nerves in order to experiment on themselves and their patients. Within this veritable entity lacking a functional guiding agent, a harrowing, existential, and surreal Freudian mystery unfolds.

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March 28, 2019 at 11:32 pm Leave a comment

Fragment(s): Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 3/25/19: A French edition of Mark S. Geston’s Lords of the Starship (1967) and Out of the Mouth of the Dragon (1969)

I always a book more, whether fiction or nonfiction, when they have maps.
With maps you can see where the current action in connection with past action.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

Today’s installment of Monday Maps and Diagrams returns to the worlds of Mark S. Geston. In 1980 French publisher OPTA released the first two volumes of Geston’s TheWars series,Lords of the Starship (1967) and Out of the Mouth of the Dragon (1969), in a handsome volume with a striking interior map by Claude Fritsch. The series charts the slow climb out of a Dark Age, where the landscape is littered with unusual mutants and the relics of past technologically superior empires and peoples…. I find the map and cover try to evoke more “medieval” imagery than the actual novels (I mean, even in the first one, the technology exists to “construct” a spaceship).

Enjoy! And, as always, comments are welcome and appreciated!

My review of Lords of the Starship (1967).

Citation: Claude Fritsch’s interior map (above) and cover art (below) for the 1st French OPTA edition of Les…

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March 25, 2019 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Crashed Spaceships, Part II

I’m relogging this for the third picture is pricelessly.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

(Detail from Alan Daniels’ cover for the 1980 German edition of Open Prison (1964), James White)

The crashed spaceship — a wrecked hulk spinning in the emptiness of space, shattered metal struts strewn across an alien landscape…. I find few SF scenarios more nostalgic than this one as a younger me was obsessed with books about the societies formed from the survivors of such cataclysms (Anne McCaffrey’s Acorna Universe sequence, of dubious quality now, was a cornerstone of my youth).

I have selected a range of fascinating covers which add to an art post I made in 2012–Crashed Spaceships. My favorite of the bunch is Tibor Csernus’ cover for the 1973 French edition of Clifford D. Simak’s Time and Again (1951) due to the verdant and wet landscape the spaceship finds itself in. My second favorite is Dean Ellis’ “descriptive” cover for the 1974 edition of Alan Dean…

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March 24, 2019 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment

Short Story Reviews: Four Stories from New Worlds Science Fiction (April 1964), ed. John Carnell

For fans of science fiction. I think it is interesting to read older science fiction
and see how it compares to today’s science.
I think Arthur C. Clark is the winner of predicting the direction
science would take.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

To mix things up a bit I decided to review four stories in John Carnell’s last issue of New Worlds ScienceFiction (April 1964) before he handed over the reins of the dying publication to Michael Moorcock, who would elevate it to New Wave greatness. Other than the James White serial Open Prison, which I plan on reading in book form when I procure a copy, three of the four authors reviewed below owed much of their careers to John Carnell, and would see few stories in print after his departure (see the individual story reviews for details). Only Barrington J. Bayley, writing as P. F. Woods, would see continued publication (and growing popularity) in New Worlds under Moorcock.

Of the stories I recommend reading William Spencer’s rumination on overpopulation and urban life,  “Megapolitan Underground.” The others are worthwhile only for die-hard fans of Carnell’s New Worlds and other editorial…

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March 23, 2019 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCV (Farmer + Simak + Effinger + New Dimensions Anthology)

Enjoy the old science fiction writers.
It is interesting to read their current and the
knoweledge of the science of their day.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

1. I recently read and reviewed enthusiastically New Dimensions 3, ed. Robert Silverberg (1973). Inspired, I procured quite a few more in the series… Here is number 1. Looks like an absolutely spectacular lineup — Le Guin, Ellison, Malzberg, Lafferty, etc.

2. One always needs more Clifford D. Simak, right?

3. Huge fan of George Alec Effinger’s novels and short stories. Here’s what I’ve reviewed so far…. Heroics (1979), Irrational Numbers (1976), and What Entropy Means to Me (1972).

4.  Philip José Farmer, despite multiple masterpieces, churned out a lot of crud… I expect this will fall in that category.

Note: The hi-res scans are of my personal copies — click to enlarge.

Let me know what you think in the comments!



1. New Dimensions 1, ed. Robert Silverberg (1971)

(Uncredited cover for the 1973 edition)

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March 16, 2019 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

[Short] Diaristic Fragments on Czech Experimental Film: The Ear (1970), dir. Karel Kachyna

What a great article.
The author of the blog offers glimpsed of the past
you will not find elsewhere.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

8/10 (Very Good)

On the night of 20-21st of August 1968, the Warsaw Pact countries (led by the USSR) invaded Czechoslovakia ending the period of liberalization known as Prague Spring. And with it, the Czech New Wave film movement “ended.” Regardless, Karel Kachyna filmed The Ear (1970), a paranoid psychological thriller redolent with New Wave stylings, that brandishes a proverbial middle finger in the direction of the Communist Party. Unsurprisingly, the film was promptly banned until 1989, and Kachyna

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March 10, 2019 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

The Magic of Snow

A taste of the glory of childhood.

Sherrie's Scriptorium

As I wait for the third snow storm in three days I was feeling a bit done with it all. For some reason I began to reminisce about how I felt about snow as a kid. I wrote down a bunch of memories and by the end of it I realized that snow really is amazing and how sad it is that as adults all we worry about is the shoveling, trying to drive and lost work time. It’s been a very gloomy, long winter around here and since I felt cheered up by the end of reliving my childhood memories of snow, I thought I would share some of them here and maybe you too can remember the magic of snow. (There’s no promise that I will enjoy shoveling later!)

In trying to remember my earliest memories of snow the first thing that comes to mind is looking out…

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March 3, 2019 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCIV (Ely + Abe + Coulson + Malec)

Something new for science fans. But not so new.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

1. Overpopulation + an author I’ve not encountered before? Can there be a better combo? I’ve long been a fan of the subgenre–and I’ve gathered a substantial number of both read and unread overpopulation-themed SF into a list. And yes, I know Laser Books has a reputation for publishing low-quality crud…. I am not expecting a masterpiece!

2. I’ve been on a Kobo Abe kick as of late! Secret Rendezvous (1977, trans. 1979) is, as of now, my favorite read of the year–I hope to have a review up soon. Back cover blurb here.

I went ahead and purchased another “SFish” Abe novel… I’ve seen Abe’s 1966 film adaption of his own work (directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara) and it’s a brilliant cinematic experience. I’m hoping the novel has some of the same magic!

3. Another source material novel for one of my favorite SF films–Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1966)… I’m 50…

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March 2, 2019 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

for you to find…

A great piece.

Read Between the Minds

she had learned
her lesson
bread crumbs
for her
she marked her path
white stones
she found
along the way
she walked
one cannot say
life’s journey
can become
a daze
she gave up
her quest
that she
had ended
where she began
she decided
to wander
no more
when she
reached the crest
a hill
looking down
she found
her stones
were in the pattern
a heart
in the center
she had sought

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March 1, 2019 at 12:02 am Leave a comment


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