The book opens with JG Ballard's "The Cloud-Sculptors of Coral D",
a fine Vermilion Sands story: moody, atmospheric, gorgeously
written, if slight of content. There are better stories in Ballard's
Vermilion Sands collection, which is well-worth seeking out --
especially if you're new to Ballard, or to land-coral, sonic statues and
the eccentric habitues of Vermilion Sands, a future seaside resort in
"Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes" is a solid Harlan Ellison "down & out in
Las Vegas" tale: the protagonist drops his literal last dollar into a
slot-machine and hits the jackpot -- three blue eyes across, intead of
three cherries. Then he hits the jackpot again -- and again. Someone in
there likes him... A nicely-done urban fantasy, with a nasty twist.
Then-new writer Gary Wright has faded so far from view that he
doesn't even rate an entry in the current Encyclopedia of Science
Fiction, but I think you'll like his "Mirror of Ice", a gripping story
of future toboggan-races on suicidally-steep courses. The nameless
viewpoint racer is making 'one last run', and it's a dilly. Fine
straight-ahead sports-adventure writing -- hasn't aged a bit. I wonder
what became of Wright?
Samuel R. Delaney won the short-story Nebula for "Aye, and
Gomorrah..." -- he also took home the novel award that year for The
Einstein Intersection. Delaney's spacers have had... unusual surgical
adaptations -- "loose, swinging meat" -- and troll for Earthbound
frelks -- space-groupies -- on their time off. "Gomorrah" has
resonances I missed back in the sixties, but it's a fine, memorable
story on any level.
"Gonna Roll the Bones" is my favorite Fritz Leiber: it's unbelievably
good, one of the best SF novelletes ever written -- more than
deserving of the 1967 Nebula it won. If you've been reading SF for
awhile, you'll remember this one -- it's another gambling story,
which develops into a deal with the devil. Joe Slattermill, Mr. Guts
the cat, the Big Gambler, Lottie the dice girl, whose "long, skinny
white-gloved arm... snaked out like an albino cobra" -- are
unforgettable. What a story! The sfnal apotheosis of the American tall
tale. Michael Swanwick writes that "Gonna Roll the Bones" is "a
story so good it makes my teeth ache with jealousy." If you've
somehow missed "Bones", well -- here's your chance, and the rest of
the book is gravy. I've read this story countless times, and it gets me
every time. And -- it has the best last line in the history of SF!
I remember bouncing off Michael Moorcock's "Behold the Man" way
back when, and I read it this time mostly out of a sense of duty,
Nebula-winner or no. Moorcock just doesn't write to my taste, most
of the time, anyway. The plot here is simple enough: time-traveller
Glogauer is stranded in Judea, 29 AD. He's rescued by John the Baptist
and the Essenes, and... well, let's say he develops a *serious* Messiah-
"Behold" is certainly well-written and researched, and has a socko
finish, but I just don't care about religion -- or Mr. Glogauer, or his
neurotic girlfriend. "Behold" is written in a self-consciously
'literary' style, which put me off, too. Anyway, editor Zelazny asks us
to "read [Behold] very carefully, please," but life is short. Hell with
But do give it a try -- tastes differ. Anyway, who do you trust -- me,
or the Nebula voters?
I must confess to being underwhelmed with Anne McCaffery's
Dragonriders of Pern series, but "Weyr Seach" is where it all began,
and it is interesting to see the setup of the sfnal premises for the
series. Her fans will enjoy "Search" , but 'mild pleasure' is the best I
can say after rereading this one.
This is the third Stealth reprint of the early Nebula anthologies, a
praiseworthy effort. It's a good-quality hardback with a full cloth
binding and a truly gorgeous cover, credited to Frank Paul but painted
(if I read the signature right) by Bob Eggleton, from a 1927 interior
illo by Paul.
Review copyright 2001 by Peter D. Tillman <til...@aztec.asu.edu>
Read more of my reviews:
[reprint of a review done for SF Site. Haven't seen any more of the
Stealth reprints -- perhaps you'll see this one on the remainder table.]
>Then-new writer Gary Wright has faded so far from view that he
>doesn't even rate an entry in the current Encyclopedia of Science
> I wonder
>what became of Wright?
He became Chip Delaney.
[Googles, and laments loss of ISFDB, and my inability to remember how
to spell his name: it's DELANY, DELANY, DELANY. SRD has only one "E"!]
"Auf der Stuka-Bahn" -- lovely title [= "Mirror of Ice"]
A good year for SRD. Two Nebulas, and a nomination for a third.
And it would be hard to come up with two stories more different than
"Aye, and Gomorrah" and "Auf der Stuka-Bahn"...
Cheers -- Pete Tillman
Book Reviews: http://www.silcom.com/~manatee/reviewer.html#tillman
>jjm...@aol.com (JJM1954) wrote in message news:<20030127022630...@mb-ma.aol.com>...
>> >From: "Peter D. Tillman" til...@aztec.asu.edu
>> >Then-new writer Gary Wright has faded so far from view that he
>> >doesn't even rate an entry in the current Encyclopedia of Science
>> > I wonder
>> >what became of Wright?
>> He became Chip Delaney.
>[Googles, and laments loss of ISFDB, and my inability to remember how
>to spell his name: it's DELANY, DELANY, DELANY. SRD has only one "E"!]
>"Auf der Stuka-Bahn" -- lovely title [= "Mirror of Ice"]
>A good year for SRD. Two Nebulas, and a nomination for a third.
>And it would be hard to come up with two stories more different than
>"Aye, and Gomorrah" and "Auf der Stuka-Bahn"...
I have never heard this before and I don't believe it.
For one thing, I have read other Gary Wright stories, both earlier (a
novelette about auto racing in IF in about 1964) and later (a return
to the field in F&SF in the early 1990s.)
For another thing, Wright's style does not, to my mind, resemble
Delany's at all.
I'd definitely like to see better documentation of this before I
Rich Horton | Stable Email: mailto://richard...@sff.net
Home Page: http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton
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("Dreamweaver... I believe you can get me through the night...")