This is an updated review of one of the first books I posted about on this blog: Inverted World by Christopher Priest. That was back in the days when my blog was called “Who’s Dreaming Who” and everything was still in black and white! (Here’s a link to that review, it’s a very short and simple early review, by the way.)
Christopher Priest is a writer you need to read, it’s as simple as that. I can recommend this book, also his 2002 novel The Separation, and the magical The Prestige (1995), made famous by Christopher Nolan’s 2006 movie.
*If you watch to the end of the video, there is a “ghost” clip of something spooky that happened while I was recording this! Enjoy:-)
Summary of My Updated Review
Helward Mann lives in a city that is “winched along tracks through a devastated land”. Upon reaching the age of 650 miles, he becomes an adult and begins working for the “Track Guild”. Their job is to tear up the track south of the city, and re-lay it in the north. Only guildsmen can leave the city and see what lies outside, and they are sworn to secrecy. Most citizens don’t even know the city is moving.
‘In the bottom compartment of her jewellery case he came across a small flat gold-cased object, equipped with a wrist strap. The dial had no hands but the twelve-numbered face intrigued him and he fastened it to his wrist.’
-J.G. Ballard, Chronopolis
In a world where timepieces have been abolished, Conrad Newman is in jail, waiting to stand trial for murder.
The story opens with the protagonist Conrad Newman in jail awaiting trial. We learn that he has fashioned a sundial in his cell which he uses to keep track of the “daily roster.” It’s clear that Conrad is obsessed with time, as he worries about “going mad” if he is unable to tell what time it is “at any given moment.” There are no clocks in the prison.
On a recent trip over to England I found these three gems in a second-hand book store. The shop was “Empire Exchange” in Manchester. It was the first time in years that I had explored the shelves of a “proper” second-hand store. I paid an unbelievable five pounds for all three books, (about $6.50).
Nova 2, Edited by Harry Harrison (1975)
The 1975 Sphere paperback. Cover art by Eddie Jones.
From the back cover: ‘Once again Harry Harrison has collected a dazzling line-up of talent for the second of his exciting NOVA collections. Established writers and new talent rub shoulders, their common ground a brilliant talent for sf.’
Includes the short stories: ZIRN LEFT UNGUARDED, THE JENGHIK PALACE IN FLAMES, JON WESTERLY DEAD by Robert Sheckley; EAST WIND, WEST WIND by Frank M. Robinson; THE SUMERIAN OATH by Philip Jose Farmer; NOW + n NOW- by Robert Silverberg; TWO ODYSSEYS INTO THE CENTER by Barry Malzberg; DARKNESS by Andre Carneiro; ON THE WHEEL by Damon Knight; MISS OMEGA RAVEN by Naomi Mitchison; THE POET IN THE HOLOGRAM IN THE MIDDLE OF PRIME TIME by Ed Bryant; THE OLD FOLKS by James E. Gunn; THE STEAM-DRIVEN BOAT by John Sladek; I TELL YOU, IT’S TRUE by Poul Anderson; AND I HAVE COME UPON THIS PLACE BY LOST WAYS by James Tiptree Jr.; THE ERGOT SHOW by Brian Aldiss Continue reading →
I’ve started reading Fritz Leiber’s 1958 Hugo Award-winner The Big Time.
“Have you ever worried about your memory, because it doesn’t seem to recall exactly the same past from one day to the next? Have you ever thought that the whole universe might be a crazy, mixed-up dream? If you have, then you’ve had hints of the Change War.”
I only managed to read a couple of “vintage” SF stories in 2018 so I’m going to make an effort to read more this year.
I’ve been looking through my older reviews starting from 2016 and have found quite a few books that fall under this category. In fact I am amazed at just how many vintage books I read and reviewed in 2016. You can tell how enthusiastic I was back then at getting this blog off the ground. So, without further ado, here are the Vintage Science Fiction and Fantasy stories I read and reviewed in 2016: Continue reading →
“Can’t make the frug contest, Helen; stomach’s upset. I’ll fix you Ubik! Ubik drops you back in the thick of things fast. Taken as directed, Ubik speeds relief to head and stomach. Remember: Ubik is only seconds away. Avoid prolonged use.”
(*Reality warning* this “review” may affect your grip on reality!)
Once upon a time there was Ubik. Ubik wrote a story about a man called PKD. In this story, PKD was a writer. He wrote science fiction tales for a living. He was fairly successful, mostly due to the sheer number of stories he wrote. But a lot of people appeared to enjoy his work so PKD was able to keep on writing. Unfortunately, PKD never seemed to have enough money on him to pay for things like the doors to open or the shower to work, so he spent a lot of time indoors.