The last of a great generation of sf authors has died, aged 93.
Over the decades he wrote some great fiction, but his parallel career in editing was very influential as well and helped transform the field. He also wrote non-fiction, not least his auto-biographical books and latterly his website reminiscences about all sorts of corners and little-remembered niches of genre publishing.
I don’t know when I first read him but it was almost certainly back in the late 1960s. Either something he co-wrote, like The Space Merchants (with C. M. Kornbluth), or more likely various short stories.
I do know the first book of his I actually bought was the collection Gold at the Starbow’s End in 1972, which included a story I liked a lot called The Merchants of Venus (groan!) which 15 years on I recognised was the original story Gateway and it’s sequels sprang from!
The first novel I bought was Gladiator-at-Law a couple of years later in 1974 and I continued to read most of his new work, and dip into more of his back catalogue including his classic collaborations with C. M. Kornbluth and Jack Williamson.
I’ve not read it, but his final novel, two years ago, was All the Lives He Led, which seems like a fitting note to end on for a man with such an influential career in so many ways.
Another of the greats of imaginative literature dies.
Richard Matheson was probably best known for writing I am Legend, which has been filmed several times with varying results. But he also wrote hundreds of other short stories, novels, etc. many of which were adapted for tv and film. The original Duel story, which launched the career of Spielberg, Star Trek episodes, Twilight Zone episodes, all sorts of work.
My own favourite was the novel The Shrinking Man (filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man in 1957). Both the original short novel and the classic film still feel fresh today; I watched the film again about a month ago and was again impressed by the shrinking effects.
He’ll be missed, but he leaves a great body of work to remember him by.
Charlie’s new hardback is out in about three weeks in early July.
It’s called Neptune’s Brood and the UK edition costs £16.99
Signed & personalised copies will be availabe as in the past; I’ll be e-mailing previous customers about this, but feel free to contact me and tell me what you’d like.
Plain signature, date, location, brief greeting, etc. should be possible, but no first lines, I’m afraid.
The postage within the UK will be £1.90 or £18.89 in total
Within Europe: £6.00 or £22.99 altogether
Most of the rest of the world: £10.40 or £27.39 altogether
Australia & NZ, etc: £10.80 or £27.79 altogether
If you want more than one copy, I’ll check and let you know the postage.
“My friend has discovered faster-than-light travel! If we get in now, we can make it rich! Just send us your bank details today…” Krina Alizond-114 is a metahuman in a universe where the last natural humans went extinct five thousand years ago. When a letter from her sister goes missing Krina embarks on a dangerous journey across the star systems to find her, along the way getting caught up in an elegant and unprecedented financial scam that involves the mystery of the missing space colony – Atlantis.
Very sad to hear the news that my friend Iain Banks has passed away.
We all thought he had several months at least before the inevitable end but it was not to be.
I heard the news on the BBC News at 22.00 and was impessed by Ian Rankin’s interview about him and what he has meant to his friends and readers.
And now I’m just back from our local pub, where we went and raised a glass of malt to his memory. I had 10 y.o. Lagavulin and my partner Madeleine had a 10 y.o. Caol Ila, both from Islay. Cheers, Iain, you shan’t be forgotten!
I woke up this morning to the sad news that my favourite author had died at the weekend, aged 96. I’ve been reading Jack Vance since the late 1960s – 45 years! - and although he stopped writing some time ago, it’s still a great loss.
Locus have a brief piece here.
And I like what Battered, Tattered, Yellowed & Creased said as well.
I first came across his work when I bought The Eyes of the Overworld back in about 1967 or so, possibly a bit later, but still 45 years ago! I used to go to a local newsagent whenever I had enough pocketmoney to buy one of the import sf titles they had on a spinner and one time that’s what I risked my money on! It probably cost me 10d, maybe 1/-
By the mid 70s I was picking up his books as they were (re)released by Mayflower and in the late 70s I bought my first hardback (the outsize Underwood Miller edition of Morreion)! Since then I’ve got hold of most of what he’s written, from almost all his 1st appearances in old pulp magazines, though paperbacks, hardbacks and more!
In 1992 he was Guest of Honor at Worldcon in Orlando and I made the trip there to see him. It was great fun and I ended up chatting to him and Norma and their son Jack, jr. and helping with one of the official signing events he had. Even then his sight was failing and I sat beside him opening all the books to the right page, lining them up so he could sign without needing to adjust his wrist and telling him what the titles were… I felt quite honoured.
To keep my luggage weight under control I only took one book of my own to get signed – The Blue World h/c from Putnam
He’s written too many books for me to name a favourite but The Killing Machine, Trullion, Pao, The Miracle Workers, The Blue World are all up there, with many more! One or two clunkers, I admit, especially in his early short fiction but nothing I haven’t felt worth re-reading at some point! Over the years his books have been a constant, the centre-point of my reading, around which everything else has revolved.
But, at last, like the Dying Earth’s sun, his light is finally eclipsed.
Fare thee well, Jack.
Jack Vance 1916 – 2013
My Flickr set has my comments on some of his books, etc.
Please note that signed copies of Eric’s two new paperback books, Starship Seasons and The Serene Invasion, will be available from Wednesday 15th May.
Starship Seasons is published by DIP (an imprint of PS Publishing) and consists of 4 linked novellas, Starship Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring.
The Serene Invasion is a new novel about the peaceful invasion of earth, and of those who oppose it and is published by Solaris.
The books are both £7.99 each, plus £1.00 per book for postage within the UK. Some other signed titles of Eric’s are also available.
In other related news, also available signed (and numbered) is The Boolian Gate by Walter Jon Williams, a limited edition hardcover novella from Subterranean Press. Price is £25 plus £2.00 posteage in the UK.
Sadly, Boris Strugatski has passed away.
With his brother Arcadi (1925 – 1991) they wrote a string of interesting, usually banned sf novels in the USSR from the late 1950s through to the late 80s.
My first encounter with their work was a novella in the Vortex collection of Soviet SF which was called The Second Invasion From Mars. In a small town on the steppe, news of an alien landing is more like gossip and facts are hard to come by. I really enjoyed it and have read it several times. There’s also another translation of it called The Second Martian Invasion.
Their best known work was the novel Roadside Picnic, later filmed by Andrei Tarkovsky as Stalker, which was also the title of the computer game also later developed. In it, there are several quarantined sites around the world at which aliens have landed briefly and left behind various inexplicable items, much as humans might leave rubbish behind after a picnic…
Other novels, like the others pictured here, tend towards the fantastical as they portray weird convoluted bureaucracies that varied scientists have to negotiate to achieve anything.
The last major work of theirs I read was The Snail on the Slope, which was apparently published as two separate stories and only when it was published as a book with their chapters alternating did people realise it was a single piece! It’s probably my favourite of the dozen or so novels of theirs I’ve read.
Arkadi died over 20 years ago; now Boris. Oh, well, maybe I’ll go re-read 2nd Martian Invasion.
Hannu Rajaniemi – The Fractal Prince the sequel to the acclaimed The Quantum Thief. Signed copies available soon
Peter F. Hamilton – Great North Road fat new stand-alone novel, set 130 years in the future, in Newcastle and on the paradise planet St Libra
Ian McDonald – Be My Enemy the sequel to Planesrunner. YA adventure set against a background of multiple worlds and steampunk airships! The 1st one was fun!
J.K. Rowling – The Casual Vacancy her first mainstream novel
in large format:
Hannu Rajaniemi – The Fractal Prince the sequel to The Quantum Thief. Signed copies available soon
Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey & Cooper Moo – The Mongoliad Book Two further historical adventures set in 1241. Who among the multiple authors wrote most, I have no idea…
Glen Cook – A Path to Coldness of Heart the 3rd volume of the Last Chronicles of the Dread Empire. The sequel to An Ill Fate Marshalling.
Steven Erikson – The Devil Delivered and other tales includes the title story, Revolvo & Fishin’ With Grandma Matchie
Richard E. Gropp – Bad Glass Dean sneaks into the evacuated city of Spokane and finds it very weird indeed…
John Everson – Night Where Rae hasn’t come home and Mark must save her from the Watchers, who run an evil club they went to…
in ‘B’ format:
Kevin J. Anderson – The Martian War another viewpoint for theevents of The War of the Worlds…
Jack McDevitt – Firebird the 6th Alex Benedict novel; I liked the hardcover a lot
John C. Wright – Count to a Trillion a maths genius takes radical steps to decipher an alien artifact, and wakes up 200 years later with no memory of what happened…
Eric Brown – Helix Wars the sequel to Helix, which I thought was excellent. 200 years after the events in Helix, Jeff Elllis crash-lands in the middle of trouble!
Larry Niven & Steven Barnes – The Moon Maze Game live action role-playing on the moon goes wrong as some of the participants are kidnapped!
Steve White – Wolf Among the Stars the sequel to Eagle Against the Stars. Earth fights for her freedom!
David Drake & John Lambshead – Into the Hinterlands distant colony worlds try to break free from Earth’s control…
James Wesley, Rawles – Survivors in the near future, chaos reigns amidst governmental and financial collapse…
Robert A. Heinlein – Starman Jones reprint from 1953. Max Jones runs away to space…
Steve Alten – Phobos: Mayan Fear his latest thriller. Best read before the end of the year, I expect!
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child – Gideon’s Corpse the 2nd Gideon case; there’s strong evidence of a terrorist nuclear attack in 10 days, but where’s the bomb?
F. Paul Wilson – The Dark at the End the final Repairman Jack adventure
James Lovegrove – Red Eye John Redlaw investigates a series of attacks on vampires…
L. E. Modesitt, jr. – Scholar the 4th volume of the Imager Portfolio
Edwared Lazellari – Awakenings Cal and Seth both have amnesia, and are being stalked by otherworldly beings…
Marie Brennan – A Star Shall Fall in 1705 The Royal Society must batttle a dragon, last seen nearly destroying London in the Great Fire of 1666…
Anton Strout – Alchemystic the 1st book of the Spellmason Chronicles struggling artist ‘Lexi and a gargoyle named Stannis must fight together to save New York City
Susan Sizemore – Personal Demon Ivy and Christopher battle Jack the Ripper in modern-day Chicago!
Jamie Quaid – Boyfriend From Hell the 1st of the Saturn’s Daughter series. Tina has a part time job in Baltimore’s Radioactive Zone who inadvertantly damns her boyfriend to Hell!…
H. P. Mallory – Something Witchy This Way Comes the 6th Jolie Wilkins adventure
Brandon Massey (editor) – Voices From the Other Side subtitled Dark Dreams II anthology of 17 new horror stories. All of which seem to be copyright 2006 for some reason.
W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O’Neal Gear – A Searing Wind the 3rd in their Contact: The Battle for America series and set around de Soto’s great North American expedition of around 1540
Star Wars – Revan the latest Old Republic novel, by Drew Karkyshyn
Warhammer 40,000 – Treacheries of the Space Marines anthology of 9 short stories, edited by Christian Dunn
Star Wars Art: Illustration large hardback full of your favoutite characters and scenes by over 40 different artists
Star Wars – Lightsabres: A Guide to Weapons of the Force illustrated book all about your favourite weapon! Text by Pablo Hidalgo
Star Trek TNG – 365 page-a-day hardcover book with 365 different photos taken from all The Next Generation tv series. Compiled by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann
Richard Brassey – Greyfriars Bobby new larger edition of the illustrated story of the dog outside the shop!
Black Static – issue #30, in their new, smaller format
The Rapture of the Nerds (£18.99) by Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow is now in, and Charlie should be able to sign copies once he’s back from his Worldcon trip.
(n.b. I’m not able to get Cory to sign copies)
The Fractal Prince (£20.00) by Hannu Rajaniemi, the sequel to 2010′s Quantum Thief is out in a couple of weeks and signed copies will be available.
The Hydrogen Sonata (£20.00) by Iain M. Banks is a new Culture novel, and will be out in early October. Again, signed copies will be available.
Postage within the UK for single copies of any of these hardbacks will be £2.20
Transreal Fiction is a shop dedicated to selling science fiction, fantasy & related books, together with a limited selection of other merchandise.But really, it’s about books. Transreal Fiction opened in April 1997 in Cowgatehead and moved to it’s present location nearby in June 2011. The owner, Mike Calder, first sold sf & f books many years ago and has worked in the business either part- or full-time since. For years he also had a respectable job as well, but that’s another story…
The shop is named after the term coined by Rudy Rucker to describe his fiction and I thought it an apt name for a shop specialising in speculative fiction. And, in case you’re wondering, yes, Rudy Rucker was happy to allow me to use of the term as a name for my shop.
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