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1966 - Year in SF&F: July

1966 - July

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The wonderful age of psychedelia and New Age SF...

J. G. Ballard
"Coming of the Unconscious"

© New Worlds, Jul 1966
The Overloaded Man, 1967 UK
--/ cool article
--/ rare find

Oh, I loved this article. This discourse on surrealism pulled all the right strings of my heart, made me nostalgic of all the avant-garde museums I visited in Europe, and affirmed my sensibilities of what's cool and crazy in the art sub-genre of "the delusional and obscured". Many thanks to the Good Master.
review by Avi Abrams: 10-Jul-06 (read in 2006)


Brian Aldiss
"The O in Jose"
© Cad, Mar 1966
Impulse, Jul 1966
Seasons In Flight, 1984

Sixties era little ditty published first in a men's magazine. Harmless fun, reflective of the era, when SF writers broke into the the form of men's magazines.
review: 10-Jul-06 (read in 1988)


Robert Bloch
"The Plot Is the Thing"

© F&SF, Jul 1966
The Living Demons, 1967
--short story: 1966 Nebula

Robert Bloch already wrote about the psychedelic music-business scene (see "Groovyland"), and now he tackles the Hollywood scene. That's gotta be one ripe ground for "celluloid people" nightmare story. This one, however, failed to give me the lasting impression.
review: 10-Jul-06 (read in 2006)


Brian Aldiss
"The Saliva Tree
& Other Strange Growths" (coll)

© Faber & Faber, 1966
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award

Of course the lead novella is absolutely gorgeous. Other stories round up the collection, but do not approach it in quality. This collection is worth seeking out for that Lovecraftian-Wellsian "spaced-out" gem that "The Saliva Tree" novella is (a detailed review is forthcoming). If Aldiss have written nothing else but this novella, he'd secure his place in the genre. Respect.
review: 10-Jul-06 (read in 2006)


Roger Zelazny
"Divine Madness"
© Magazine Of Horror, Sum 1966
The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth, 1971
--/ cool f story

Interesting tale about a man suffering from a condition in which time seems to be moving backwards.
review: 10-Jul-06 (read in 2001)


Philip Jose Farmer
"The Gate Of Time" (nv)
(also as "Two Hawks From Earth")
© 1966, Belmont Books
Two Hawks From Earth, 1979

An alternative timeline novel. A pilot shot over Romania, discovers that the world in which he landed.. does not have America. The ancestors of the various Native American tribes did not cross the non-existent Bering Strait but wandered westward into Europe, taking place of Slavs. Hmm... makes for an interesting history. The novel is very fast-paced in action but did not leave a lasting impression.
review: 10-Jul-06 (read in 2004)


Ursula K. Le Guin
"Planet Of Exile" (nv)
(Hainish Series)
© 1966, Ace Books
--/ cool sf novel
--/ style award

Planet of the harsh conditions as a background to the softly-told love story. This novel has charm, even though it is definitely a lesser work. Le Guin's prose in the sixties possessed this warm glow, and sort of fragile beauty that would disintegrate on a critic's close examination of the plot, etc. I would not do it, just hold a nice memory.
review: 11-Jul-06 (read in 1989)


Samuel R. Delany
"Babel-17" (nv)
© 1966, Ace Books
--novel : 1967 Hugo
--novel : 1967 Nebula W (tie)
--all time novel : 1975 Locus /36 (tie)
--Tiptree short list : 1996 Tiptree

--/ cool sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award: linguistic weapons

Quite colorful adventure from Delany based on a cool idea (reading it was like enjoying a sweet "pulp story" candy-coating only to discover a hard, unyieding filling inside - what's more, the bitter filling of disputed and - last I heard - discredited linguistics theory). The theory in question is Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (read a good article about it here ) postulating that the language we speak determines our whole psychological and mental layout, and certain thoughts just would not be able to occur to us in certain languages. The novel is centered on a fictional language that denies its speakers independent thought, forcing them to think purely logical thoughts. Such "linguistic weapon" is used in a space war to produce perfect "servants of empire", walking computer programs. Speaking of novel's style, I enjoyed the ground-breaking presentation, but found it a bit emotionally uninvolving, and ultimately (if not for idea) forgettable.
review: 11-Jul-06 (read in 1988)


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Collecting Pulp Magazines

Ephemera Interview with Avi Abrams

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s

Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists

Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder

Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems

Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey

Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.

Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy

Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
...lovely baroque magical lands, and more

Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews

Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
(awesome must-reads)

10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction

Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
(many stories worth reading)

"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review

some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)

"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert

"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
"The Santaroga Barrier" and "The Green Brain"

Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s

"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!

"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators

Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque

Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre

Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts

H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations

"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther

original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories

The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F

more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links

The Surreal Office

"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge

Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick

"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.

Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany

"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.

Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane

Travel Distant Worlds!

Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...

Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...

Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife

Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration

Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
Mind-bending Cold War world-building

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2

Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"

"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Interview with John C. Wright

Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"

William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

Also read recent posts:
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The Wonder Timeline: SF&F Restrospective
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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
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--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
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Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships

--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.