The Space Merchants (1953) by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth

TheSpaceMerchants1It’s a jarring experience to read ‘50s SF after devoting a month to the ‘70s. After a set of socially critical, sometimes psychedelic reads with Pohl, Silverberg, Dick, and Farmer, even a sophisticated 1953 satire like The Space Merchants feels stodgy and quaint. I often turn to ‘50s SF when my brain is tired of broody and sullen plots, because that Golden Age lightness feels fresh and inviting in comparison… especially when you recognize that every decade (even our own, omg!) has its own brand of whitewashed, gender neglect. Continue reading

Man Plus (1976) by Frederik Pohl

ManPlus1In a criticism of the sterilized suburban existence of mid-20th America, Frederik Pohl’s protagonist of Man Plus, Roger Torraway (look at that loaded surname), celebrated astronaut on the downslope of fame, undergoes an extreme physical transformation in order to join a colonial mission to Mars, and likewise experiences a bewildering internal transformation that upsets his life, his perspective, and, ultimately, his place as a modern American male. He also gets bug eyes.

Roger and Dorrie Torraway live in Tonka, Oklahoma, “a nice couple… in a nice world,” Continue reading

November 2014 Reading Review


Another month has come and gone and I managed to get some fine SF reading done in between avoiding news coverage of events that reinforce my pathetic retreat from the world of humanity, and hosting traditional holiday events of which I dislike, and half of my family dislikes, and the other half doesn’t recognize because Mexico, and we usually don’t do anything for T-day, but this year, hey, we’re in the same town let’s do something, how about you baste a turkey and sugar up some yams, and can you make a salad for work because everyone loves your salads and this will be perfect for this season of boost the economy in the name of family and imperialism…

Oh, hypocrisy, you wear me out sometimes. And yet, I wear you so well…

In my personal and very subjective SF reading news, November was a month of body modification themes (both voluntary and forced) and my first tastes of big time vintage authors of whom I plan read more: Galouye, Wolfe, Pohl, Silverberg.  My reading progress fared as planned, despite a deliberate slowdown just to catch up on reviewing. And, I think I finally exhausted my brief interest in new releases, so I hope to back off the buzz-bait for a while.

Books I reviewed: Continue reading