The Man with Six Senses by Muriel Jaeger

First published in 1927, The Man with Six Senses tells the story of Michael Bristowe, a young man with a natural dowsing ability that, through practice and experiment, becomes so acute that he can tell what change a person is carrying in their pocket and whether they’ve eaten recently without even getting up out of his chair. It also tells the story of Hilda, the educated young woman who tries to help Michael, and of Ralph the older man who has just returned to England with the intention of marrying Hilda. (And no, he hasn’t asked her if she wants … Continue reading The Man with Six Senses by Muriel Jaeger

Vintage SciFi Artists – A Few More Favourites

  This one’s for Bookstooge – it only took the vaguest suggestion that another book cover post might be welcome and, well, here we are. When I was planning my first post about some of my favourite SF cover artists of bygone years I was frustrated not to be able to find more information about some of them. Two, in particular, John Cayea and Anita Siegel, worked for only a very short period of time as cover artists before moving on to other things and so, with so little info to work with, I didn’t include them in that first … Continue reading Vintage SciFi Artists – A Few More Favourites

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein

Three weeks into Vintage Science Fiction Month and I’ve only just realised I haven’t once linked to or credited its fabulous creator and host the Little Red Reviewer! (I am ashamed! Please forgive!) I lovelovelove this event because it always pushes me out of my comfort zone in some way.   Valentine Michael Smith was born on Mars and raised by Martians. He is brought to Earth as a young adult and he and humanity change each other in interesting ways. There is nothing unattractive to me about this blurb for Stranger in a Strange Land and this was all … Continue reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein

The Crystal World by J G Ballard

After reading The Drowned World for Vintage SciFi Month last year I knew that I wanted to read something more of Ballard’s work. Maybe not a lot more, but some. I’m still not sure I like his work, but I appreciate his writing style a lot. Anyway, I had The Crystal World on the shelf, so here we are. Ballard wrote three “disaster” novels: The Drowned World, The Drought (alternatively titled The Burning World), and The Crystal World, in which he tackled the British cosy catastrophe form in his own way. In The Crystal World parts of the jungle in … Continue reading The Crystal World by J G Ballard

Vintage SciFi Artists – A Few Favourites

  Vintage SF cover art is in a league of its own. Looking back at some of the paperback covers from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies is to see the visual language of science fiction being worked out image by image. There’s an experimental feel to a lot of the artwork produced during this period that totally floats my boat and so today, for your viewing pleasure (possibly) and for my own delectation (definitely) I’m sharing a select few of my favourite artists.   Richard Powers 1921-1996 I first came across Richard Powers’ work only last year when I was … Continue reading Vintage SciFi Artists – A Few Favourites

Morlock Night by K W Jeter

  Although I can’t really say what I was expecting when I picked Morlock Night up, this definitely wasn’t it. Watch out! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! Knowing that this was one of the first Steampunk novels (Jeter even coined the term “steam-punks” to describe the stories that he, Tim Powers and James Blaylock were writing) I was expecting a certain … playfulness … that I maybe wouldn’t expect from straight-up sci-fi. Now I am questioning whether this should be categorised as science fiction at all. I really enjoy books that riff off of other books or approach the same story from … Continue reading Morlock Night by K W Jeter

The Time Machine by H G Wells

  Late this afternoon I realised what day it was. On the back of that realisation was another, that I’d not yet written this post, and, more worrying, that I’d forgotten how to do this bloggy thing: I’ve been staring at the screen, then at my notes, then at the screen again for about two hours now.   This is going to be messy …   My motivation for rereading The Time Machine for Vintage SciFi Month was two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to read something from way back when the term ‘science fiction’ had yet to be coined, and secondly, … Continue reading The Time Machine by H G Wells

Trader to the Stars by Poul Anderson

Nicholas van Rijn is the trader of the title in this book, which is actually comprised of three longish short stories: “Hiding Place”, “Territory” and “The Master Key” in which van Rijn is the only constant character. He is either a dude or an arsehole, depending on how you look at things, but either way he’s a big one. Large of stature and of girth, van Rijn makes me think of nothing so much as an older Henry VIII, but with a better sense of humour and a bigger nose. All three stories first appeared in Astounding/ Analog Science Fiction … Continue reading Trader to the Stars by Poul Anderson

The Airs of Earth by Brian Aldiss

I am getting a bit of a kick out of reading short stories right now, so here’s another collection I explored for Vintage SciFi Month. I’ve found that reading a selection of stories by one author gives me a nice dip-in introduction to their style and range. As a result of reading Delany’s Driftglass a couple of weeks ago I now want to read everything else he’s written (I’m going to qualify that, being as I’ve been reading up on him: everything else he’s written within the SFF genre; not sure I’d care too much for the erotic stuff he … Continue reading The Airs of Earth by Brian Aldiss

The Drowned World by J G Ballard

My next Vintage SciFi Month offering was … interesting. Up until now I have loved the nature-takes-back-the-world trope in all its guises, so I was looking forward to reading The Drowned World, but while I enjoyed aspects of this novel, I found both the lack of plot and the lack of characterization difficult. Both lacks seem intentional, however. After a “succession of gigantic geophysical upheavals which had transformed the Earth’s climate” the world is now a waterlogged hothouse and London, where Ballard centres his novel, is a sweltering maze of tropical lagoons predominantly occupied by giant mosquitoes, iguanas and water … Continue reading The Drowned World by J G Ballard