Archive for Five Science Fiction Novels

Movement in the right direction…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 24, 2010 by Aaron

The Macbook is getting closer.  I’ve been waiting a long time to have my very own computer again – a whole year!!

Also, yesterday I picked up editor Judith Merril’s SF’57 off eBay.  It’s a copy that’s been kicking around there for a while and the price has dropped during that time to about half what it was originally listed at.  I got it for $12.  It looks to be in Good condition, and at that price, a pretty good deal I thought.  A copy of Travelers of Space with a Fine jacket together with a jacketless Five Science Fiction Novels (both edited by Martin Greenberg) went for $103 on eBay today.  Wow.  I have both books, Five Science Fiction Novels in better condition with a jacket (see the Close Up) and my copy of Travelers of Space is also in Fine condition (it hasn’t made it to the blog yet but it’s in similar condition to my copy of SF’56).  This puts me in good heart as to the value of the copies I have.  Especially as the jacket of Travelers was noted in the auction to be ‘married to the book,’ whatever that means.

Close Up: Five Science Fiction Novels

Posted in 1952, Close Up with tags , , on July 2, 2009 by Aaron

closeupMartin Greenberg, editor
1952

There isn’t too much to make detailed comment about on this book.  It does have a few flaws, but they are very straightforward and readily apparent.  The book is quite thick, as is to be expected from a set of novellas.

Nice stylish cover if perhaps a little on the dull side.  I like the five spaceships representing the five novellas.  Cool.  Almost everything that is an issue with this copy is represented on the cover.
Small tears, a few nicks out and some general rubbing and that’s about it.  Pretty much the same on the rear of the dust jacket too which we’ll get to later.

No problems in the uncovered state except a little crimping of the spine at the head and tail. The boards are a little worn on the top and bottom edges too, but nothing serious.

The text block is only just a little discolored and you can see a stain there on the bottom.  The stain doesn’t travel up onto the pages.  The spine is still quite square.
You can see the chipping and general wear on the spine extremities.  Perhaps a little more than one would like, but hey, it’s not too bad…  except for this:
A substantial closed tear on the upper rear wrap-around.  The back is very similar to the front in terms of wear.

A couple of closed tears there under ‘East’ and at the top right.  A bit soiled in general too.  It’s all pretty harsh and obvious in examinations like this, but with the jacket protector on and in a normal viewing situation (general handling and on the shelf) it all doesn’t look that bad.
Year: 1952
Paid: $30
Art: Frank Kelly Freas
Quantity: 6500 copies – the second largest single print run for any Gnome Press book.
Binding: Brown boards with black shelf back.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: Nice book. The dust jacket is a little on the tatty side unfortunately. Not outlandish at $30 though.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

condition

Review: Five Science Fiction Novels – Part 1 of 5

Posted in 01 - But WIthout Horns, 1952, 1:No Launch, Five Science Fiction Novels, Review with tags , on July 2, 2009 by Aaron

This is the first installment of a 5 part review of this anthology put together by Martin Greenberg.  The book claims to be ‘Five SF Novels,’ but it really is five novellas housed in a thick book.  These mini-reviews will be done between reading other GP books, and each of these five reviews will be a bit shorter than usual.  At the end I’ll aggregate the scores for a final verdict and ‘over-review’ of the whole.

But Without Horns
Norvell W. Page

An intriguing title. I was interested. The story started off quite well too.
Norvell W. Page was a prolific pulp and comic writer penning many installments of several long-running super-hero type magazine serials.  This particular story is claimed on his wikipedia entry to be ‘an early classic explication of the superman theme.’  Perhaps so, but I can tell you that I didn’t enjoy it very much.

We were pitched straight into the story, having to pick up over the unfolding pages what our main character apparently already knew.  This was great, I was taken along for the ride in a fast paced noir-style adventure.  Our protagonist Walter Kilderling with two of his bureau buddies attempt to track down and eliminate a faceless entity.  This unseen force/character is named John Miller(!) and he gains control of people by either driving them insane or inspiring devoted worship by getting inside their minds.  John Miller is supposedly some sort of superman and is trying to breed a race of supermen using the city of Metropolis as a farm.  All the people that don’t reach the required level of intelligence are eliminated using some sort of electrical effect and the remaining populace are kept happy by the kind of communal communist-style arrangement (I think there’s supposed to be some sort of political commentary here).  However, about a third or half-way through, alarm bells started to go off.  I could sense the wheels of the story were starting to lose traction.IMG_3868-1

Anyway, to cut it short, the reasons I didn’t enjoy it are thus:  The motives of John Miller are never resolved.  We never find out for sure who (or what) he really is.  All the action in the story appears to lack a definite sense of direction.  And the ending is a total let-down.  I’m not going to ‘spoil’ the ending, but I turned the page and when I saw the ending was over on the other leaf I thought (as I had had the above questions running around upstairs for quite a while by this point), “Uh oh, this is either going to end spectacularly well, or spectacularly badly”.

The badness was indeed spectacular.

One At A Time

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 29, 2009 by Aaron

I’m currently reading Five Science Fiction Novels put together by Martin Greenberg.  Just to be different (I like thinking of ways to be a little different), I’m going to read and review each of the five separate stories in between reading other books.  At the end, I’ll average the ratings to arrive at a final one for the anthology.  Sound like a plan??  Cool.

A copy of Groff Conklin‘s anthology Science Fiction Terror Tales went for $75 on eBay the other day.  I was sorely tempted to bid.  This is one of the rarer GP titles, but albeit in reasonable condition, it was an ex-library copy with the associated defects.

I’m struggling with the Review for Renaissance.  I have mixed feelings about the book, and it was a very complex read.  It might be a while before I see my way clear on it.  Might even have to read it again…

New Arrivals

Posted in New Arrivals with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2009 by Aaron

Three books that I’d been looking forward to receiving were waiting when I got home from work today.  ‘Travelers of Space’ (along with a copy of the more unusual blue dust jacket), ‘Men Against the Stars’ and ‘Five Science Fiction Novels’.  All edited by Martin Greenberg and were about in the condition that I expected, perhaps a little less so.  Close Ups forthcoming of course.  Packed in was a copy of the dust jacket for ‘Children of the Atom’, but I just don’t know if it’s better than my version or not.  Hard to tell.
The Review of ‘The Forgotten Planet’ will be up presently.

More on the way…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 29, 2009 by Aaron

Yesterday I paid and today they were posted.  Two more of the ‘Adventures in Science Fiction Series’ collections that I have grown to love so much.  Travelers of Space and the first in the series Men Against the Stars along with the anthology Five Science Fiction Novels.  All edited by Gnome Press co-founder, Martin Greenberg.  In addition, packed in with them is a dust jacket for Children of the Atom and the uncommon blue version of the jacket for ‘Travelers’.  Men against the Stars has sensational cover art by Edd Cartier too.  I am certainly looking forward to receiving them maybe sometime next week.  It’s always a nevous wait.  I hope they are in good as condition as they seemed to be in the photos I saw.  Not that they were perfect, but they weren’t too shabby either.  Come to think of it, I never made sure to check out the back of the books… Here’s hoping.