Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 1962


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Other Worlds of Clifford Simak: From zebra charms to walking vines

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak by Clifford D. Simak

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak is the companion volume to the 1961 Avon paperback The Worlds of Clifford Simak, a collection that had recently impressed me very favorably. As I mentioned in my review of that earlier volume, The Worlds of Clifford Simak was originally released as a Simon & Schuster hardcover in 1960; a rather generous-sized, 378-page affair containing a dozen of the future Grand Master’s stories.


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The Flying Eyes: Congeal, heal and repeal

The Flying Eyes by J. Hunter Holly

It sports one of the most famous covers in sci-fi paperback history; a piece of art so iconic that I have seen it reproduced in the form of refrigerator magnets! I am referring here to the first edition of J. Hunter Holly’s The Flying Eyes, the cover of which depicts a man and a woman fleeing in abject terror from the onslaught of several dozen – you guessed it – self-propelled, levitating eyeballs!


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Bezill: “Let’s Talk About Sex…”

Bezill by John Symonds

And so, I have just come to the end of a lot of nine novels from the remarkable publisher known as Valancourt Books. And what an ennead they were! In chronological order: Ernest G. Henham’s Tenebrae (1898), a tale of fratricide, guilt, madness … and giant spiders; R.C. Ashby’s He Arrived at Dusk (1933), which tells of the ghost of a Roman centurion haunting modern-day Northumberland; G.S. Marlowe’s I Am Your Brother (1935),


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All the Traps of Earth: 9 expertly told stories from a sci-fi grand master

All the Traps of Earth by Clifford D. Simak

Looking back, it strikes me with some surprise that, up until very recently, I had not read any of sci-fi Grand Master Clifford D. Simak’s shorter work in over 40 years. Oh, I had read any number of the author’s novels during those four decades, but since reading his 1968 collection So Bright the Vision back in 1981, none of his work of a shorter length. Coming to my rescue in this regard was the Wisconsin-born writer’s All the Traps of Earth,


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Mars Is My Destination: Hey, Ralphie boy!

Mars Is My Destination by Frank Belknap Long

Five years back, I shared some thoughts here regarding Frank Belknap Long’s famed horror anthology The Hounds of Tindalos (1946), which in later years was broken into two volumes, The Hounds of Tindalos and The Black Druid. It was a perfect introduction to this wonderful writer for me, and I’ve been, uh, longing to read some more Long ever since.


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The Super Barbarians: Jonesing for java

The Super Barbarians by John Brunner

Ever since the mid-15th century, and continuing on for some 600 years now and counting, coffee has been one of planet Earth’s favorite beverages. Today, I believe, it holds the No. 3 spot, with only water itself and tea being consumed more frequently. But whether taken black or light, as an espresso or cappuccino, with sugar or not, the fact remains that the men and women of our 21st century drink something on the order of 2.25 billion cups a day, or over 800 billion cups a year.


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The Great Explosion: One of the funniest sci-fi novels that I’ve ever read

The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell

In his 1955 collection entitled Men, Martians and Machines, English sci-fi author Eric Frank Russell told, via one short story and three novellas, some of the adventures of a starship crew that strongly suggested nothing less than a proto-Star Trek ensemble. The collection featured visits to three very different sorts of planets, in which the men, Martians, and robot of the starship Marathon came up against a world of mechanical devices;


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They Walked Like Men: Simak bowls a strike

They Walked Like Men by Clifford D. Simak

In the history of the science fiction novel, there have been any number of depictions of invaders from other worlds trying to conquer good ol’ Mother Earth, be it with brute force and death rays (as in H.G. Wells’ seminal novel of 1898, The War of the Worlds) or more insidiously (as in Jack Finney’s 1955 masterpiece of paranoia, Invasion of the Body Snatchers).


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Ficciones: Innovative and challenging fantastical stories

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

Ficciones is a classic collection of seventeen short stories by acclaimed Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, originally published in the 1940s in Spanish, and winner of the 1961 International Publishers Prize. These stories and mock essays are a challenging mixture of philosophy, magical realism, fantasy, ruminations on the nature of life, perception and more. There are layers of meaning and frequent allusions to historic figures, other literary works, and philosophical ideas, not readily discernable at first read. Reading Ficciones,


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The Seed of Earth: A generally pleasing work from one of sci-fi’s best

The Seed of Earth by Robert Silverberg

Men of a certain age may recall a particular trepidation that was attendant with the coming of their 18th birthday; i.e., the fear of being drafted into the armed forces. From 1940 until January ’73, males here in the U.S. could be drafted, even during peacetime, to fill vacancies in the Army and other services, and well do I remember the sigh of relief that many breathed when the draft disappeared, in favor of an all-volunteer system. But, as Robert Silverberg’s 1962 novel The Seed of Earth had already demonstrated,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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