New pile of old books

Yesterday I had a few hours in NYC, and I chose to use them wisely, to wit, by taking the F train down to Brooklyn and buying some old sci-fi from Singularity and Co. January is Vintage Sci-fi month, after all. It is probably just as well I no longer live in New York. I used to work one subway stop away from their store, and I have a feeling every day would have been an opportunity to ‘stop by and browse’, meaning ‘spend a lot of money on books instead of groceries and rent’.

Here’s a picture of the haul for your book porn enjoyment:

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And here’s the list:

Harlan Ellison, Deathbird Stories
C. J. Cherryh, Foreigner
Gregory Benford, Timescape
Roger Zelazny, Creatures of Light And Darkness
Robert Silverberg, Dying Inside
Thomas M. Disch, Fundamental Disch

A few notes: my purchases were heavily influenced by my recent reread of Jo Walton’s Among Others (here’s my post about it and her work in general). It remains one of my favorite SF books, and, being meta-fictional, it comes with an added bonus of book lists (real books, mind you).  In fact, there is a list of all books mentioned in Among Others on Walton’s blog. Silverberg and Zelazny were bought expressly with that book list in mind.

Foreigner is also a Jo Walton-related purchase. I confess I read it about 10 years ago, and I did not like it. Looking back, however, I realize it was just the wrong book at the wrong time — I was in Japan, going on some silly school trip with a bus of teens to Kochi city, and I was quite starved for books in English (e-readers not being ubiquitous then). I grabbed the first book I saw on my boyfriend’s shelf and took it with me. I didn’t even have that much time to read in Kochi, and so my experience of Foreigner was very fragmented and haphazard. A few years later I read Walton’s review of it on tor.com. The review is by no means glowing, and it does confirm my own feelings about Foreigner, but it did make me want to read the series, which means giving the first book a second chance.

Disch has been on my to-read list for a while, and I grabbed the comfortably-titled Fundamental Disch. Besides, look at the cover, how could I not?

disch

The cherry on top here, however, is Ellison. It was entirely an impulse purchase based on title, cover, and the fact that it was on the staff picks shelf (based on personal experience, staff picks are the way to go when in doubt). It also turned out to be 1st edition and therefore more expensive, but hey, I’ll pay a bit more for Ellison. I’ll be honest: every time I read him, it disturbs and unsettles me to no end. I also feel slightly stupid and clueless, as if there is some hidden message in his stories that I am just not getting and unlikely to get. So we’ll see how this one goes. It does come with a disclaimer:

0109141059

Oh dear.

While not a review, this is a post for Vintage Science Fiction Month. Follow the link to the Little Red Reviewer’s blog for more vintage goodness.

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6 comments

  1. I’m not familiar with Thomas Disch, i guess I should be! (or I could bribe you to write a guest post on him for next year’s Vintage month?) Silverberg’s Dying Inside is incredible, and that warning at the beginning of the Ellison is really creepy!

    If I worked or lived lose to Singularity and Co, I’d never have money left for rent! Luckily I’m within a stones throw of John King Books in downtown Detroit every so often, and they have a great scifi section, mostly older books.

    1. I was told that Disch is a master stylist and well worth reading. Going to give this one a try and if it’s any good, sign me up for next year!

  2. I had a similar experience with Foreigner years back and only recently considered giving Cherryh another try. I think I just picked the wrong series, so I’ll be picking up Downbelow Station one day soon. Among Others also introduced me to Zelazny and Le Guin.

    1. Among Others was our bookgroup pick this month, which was meta to a second degree (it being both about books and a bookgroup).

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