Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Science Fiction 15 – Kurland, Lafferty & Lanier

A couple of odd ones this time…

Firstly, The Unicorn Girl by Michael Kurland – hippy science fiction. It is a companion piece to the great hippy SF novel The Butterfly Kid by Chester Anderson. I did have a copy of The Butterfly Kid, way back when, but gave it away to a person who really loved it and couldn’t find a copy.


Next, the strange novels of R A Lafferty of which I have two – Fourth Mansions and Nine Hundred Grandmothers.

lafferty_fourthmansions lafferty_grandmothers

Then there is Sterling E Lanier, author of Hiero’s Journey & its sequel The Unforsaken Hiero, the only two books of his I have read.

John Clute in his obituary to Sterling E Lanier describes these books as:

“Hiero's Journey (1973), is set in a not-unfamiliar Ruined Earth environment five millennia after a nuclear "event". The questing hero of the tale progresses through a world irradiated by strangeness, and oppressed by recidivist technologists caught in a state of profound denial about the appallingness of their ancestors' deeds. Opposing them is the Brotherhood of the Eleventh Commandment. The commandment is simple: "Thou shalt not despoil the Earth and the life thereon." The tale is supple and swift and compelling. For those familiar with it, Hiero's Journey remains unforgettable; and seems more and more prescient.”

I recall enjoying these books very much. I have fondness for post apocalyptic novels - must read them again…

lanier_hieros_journey lanier_unforsakenhiero

Next – Ursula Le Guin

Monday, April 13, 2009

Science Fiction 14 – Gwyneth Jones

Gwyneth Jones is a writer to whose books I return from time to time. It was with her book Divine Endurance that I first discovered her writings back in the 1980s, attracted no doubt by the cat on the cover of the book. It and its sequel Flowerdust is set in an alternate Malayan peninsula. The main story centres around the unusual revolutionary Derveet aka Garuda, the last member of a decadent ruling class, and her relationship with Cho, a cyborg designed to grant every wish of the person she chooses to serve.

Gwyneth Jones has an essay on these two books on her website here.

jones_endurance jones_flowerdust

Jones’ Aleutian Trilogy is an unusual alien invasion sequence. It has been a while since I read these, but I recall being quite impressed with the first novel White Queen when I first read it.

jones_whitequeen jones_northwind jones_phoenixcafe

Then there is her magnificent Rock ‘n Roll Reich series. Set in a near future Britain it charts the fortunes of the rock ‘n roll triumvirate of Ax Preston, Fiorinda and Sage Pender as they try to rescue their country from chaos. It is also loosely based on Le Morte D’Arthur. The first four novels in the series originally had beautiful covers with art by Anne Sudworth.


jones_castles jones_midnight
jones_gypsys jones_rainbow

Coming next – Kurland, Lafferty, Lanier