It’s been a little too busy to do the Sunday Science Poem or finish up the Thomas Kuhn book club (we’ll finish it soon, really). In the mean time, here are some quick sci-fi thoughts: with the recent arrival of an Amazon package at my home, I’ve realized that 2012 has been an awesome year for classic science fiction reprints. Here are my acquisitions:
1) Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley (NYRB classics): Nearly 400 pages, 26 stories, and a useful intro (PDF) by Alex Abramovich – this is essential reading for fans of the SF short story, especially those who like the vintage 50′s stuff.
2) Library of America’s American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950′s: Two volumes, nine essential novels, with great notes, beautiful covers and an accompanying web site stuffed with goodies.
3) Classics from J.G. Ballard’s two great trilogies: The Drowned World 50th Anniversary Edition, with an intro by Martin Amis; The Drought (The Burning World), and High Rise. The Drowned World and The Drought, together with The Crystal World, make up Ballard’s great 60′s, British-style disaster trilogy, which is a fitting successor to the work of John Wyndham and John Christopher. High Rise comes together with Crash and Concrete Island into a trilogy of 70′s urban dystopias. I have the original editions of Drowned World and Burning World, but the new Norton editions have me sorely tempted to get duplicates…
4) Roadside Picnic shows up on just about every major list of great post-apocalyptic science fiction novels, but this Soviet-Era book by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky has been out of print and pricey for a long time. Chicago Review Press has done us all a favor and come out with a great new edition that features a new translation from the Russian, and a Foreword by Ursula Le Guin and an afterword by Boris Strugatsky.
5) And finally, Mariner Books has been reissuing a bunch of Philip K. Dick in handsome new editions. I just picked up Ubik, and a key 50′s work, the recently reissued The World Jones Made. (Mariner’s web site is buggy, so no link – just Google it.)