August 24, 2017

"I don’t agree with those people who think of science fiction as some kind of prediction of the future. I think it’s a metaphor for the human condition."

Said Brian Aldiss, the science fiction writer who has died at the age of 92, quoted in the NYT obituary.
Mr. Aldiss was celebrated largely for his science fiction, most famously the novels “Non-Stop” (1958), “Hothouse” (1962), “Greybeard” (1964), the Helliconia trilogy (1982-85) and “Frankenstein Unbound” (1973), which in 1990 was the basis of the last film directed by Roger Corman.

He collaborated with Stanley Kubrick and then, after Mr. Kubrick’s death in 1999, with Mr. Spielberg in transforming Mr. Aldiss’s short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” into the emotionally challenging 2001 fairy tale “A.I.” (the letters stand for “artificial intelligence”), about a bereft mother who consoles herself with a cybernetic son.
The Brian Aldiss book I remember is "Cryptozoic!" — which came out in the U.S. in 1969. In Britain, the title was "An Age." From the Wikipedia plot summary:
The story concerns Edward Bush, an artist searching for inspiration in the past [through the use of a drug that allows him to "mind travel"]. When Bush returns from a long stay in the Jurassic, he finds that his nation (presumably the United Kingdom) has been taken over by a totalitarian government. He is immediately drafted into the military and given the mission to kill the scientist Silverstone.... As Bush mind travels again to fulfill his mission, he learns of Silverstone's new philosophical and scientific discoveries. Bush and Silverstone meet, travel to the Cryptozoic with a few allies, and decide together to usher in a new era of humanity, one enlightened by the realization that [Spoiler alert!] time flows backward. Bush returns to his present time, only to be imprisoned in a mental institution...
ADDED: Here's a photo I took in 2014 of SF paperbacks I had in a box in the closet:

Untitled

When I originally blogged that — here — I said:
I got the idea of reading all the sci-fi books in that box. They're from an era in the past. They are the selections of my ex-husband, and he left them in the house. Who knows what all I could bullshit about reading all that and riffing however the mood strikes me?

68 comments:

buwaya said...

Science Fiction was THE literature of the 20th century.
It was where the ideas happened, were thrashed out and chewed on.

It was often crudely written from the POV of style or even grammar.

It is not the literature of the 21st century, because the published stuff for the most part really isn't about ideas anymore.

Aldiss was one of the ringmasters of the great 20th century SF circus, better known for his history and anthologies, but if you want a mind-blower of a series of the sort that were so common in the 20th, try his "Helliconia".

BTW, compare some ideas there with "Game of Thrones".

rcocean said...

During the 40s, 50s, and early 60s, SF is where liberal writers could express their ideas. Mainstream fiction was too conventional.

By 2000, SF had become a place where ONLY Leftists could express their ideas. Because they were conventional.

Result: No one gives a shit about SF anymore.

JimT said...

I have a ton of 30-year-old science fiction books and magazines. Very little newer stuff. I'd rather re-read the old than slog through the new.

Lawrence Person said...

Zelazny's Lord of Light is a great novel. (I have a more than complete collection of Zelazny first editions.)

Valis, on the other hand, is not the Philip K. Dick book to start with, as it's a weird, metafictional exercise where Dick himself appears as a character. Dr. Bloodmoney, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep are all better places to start.

Fandor said...

ALL the BEST SCIENCE FICTION has been written There have been few exceptions in recent years. Both came out in 2016.

A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolf

The Dark Side by Anthony O'Neill

Very good Sci Fi in the tradition of masters past.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have seen a lot more right wing, than left wing sci-fi over time. Part of the problem is that socialism fully matured, just isn't that interesting. Or, if it is, it is from a pathological point of view. A stupefying socialist utopia tends to make a better foil than dramatic target. One problem is that left wing sci-if just doesn't sell that well to the libertarian leaning readership of the genre.

Gahrie said...

First of all, there is no way I would have left those books behind.....

Some of those books are quite good and indeed deal with interesting issues to discuss.

Gahrie said...

By 2000, SF had become a place where ONLY Leftists could express their ideas. Because they were conventional.

Not true. Jim Baen at Baen books will publish any talented writer regardless of politics. Granted, he's the only one...but still.

Anybody willing to have Heinlein, Ringo, Weber, Moon and Flint in their stable at the same time can't be bad.

n.n said...

Science fiction covered elective abortion to supply clinical cannibalism. Not a metaphor. Planned Parenthood.

Gahrie said...

One problem is that left wing sci-if just doesn't sell that well to the libertarian leaning readership of the genre.

David Weber is one of the most politically correct authors out there. He has several extremely popular series going right now.

Eric Flint is an out ant Marxist, and I believe a Trotskyite. His ideology is very apparent in his work. Yet he has a Shared universe with over thirty titles in it.

Elizabeth Moon...SJW but again quite popular.

James said...

ZELAZNY! Alright! Shoot any dice with demons?

James said...

Hey Lawrence,
Have you got one of those prayer machines? I'd like to call up Brahma. That guy could write!

James said...

Last one. My all time favorite is "Canticle for Liebowitz". The blurbs say it's profound, bah. I think it's funny as hell.

Big Mike said...

If you start your Heinlein by reading Stranger in a Strange Land, you will rapidly conclude that he was a sex maniac (and you might even be right). Help me out here, folks, what's a good Heinlein to start with? Starship Troopers? (His novel, not the movie!)

mockturtle said...

Not sure why but I never developed an interest in science fiction in book or film. I never even watched Star Trek.

Sydney said...

The only science fiction novel I have ever enjoyed is The Sparrow.

Fritz said...

If you start your Heinlein by reading Stranger in a Strange Land, you will rapidly conclude that he was a sex maniac (and you might even be right). Help me out here, folks, what's a good Heinlein to start with? Starship Troopers? (His novel, not the movie!)

You have to start Heinlein with some of his children's books. I suggest Podkayne of Mars.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is good too.

Yeah, he was a sex maniac, NTTAWWT.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

There is, of course, the Heinlein / L. Ron Hubbard connection.

Is there any evidence for the bet between Robert A. Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard?'

"It is widely believed that L. Ron Hubbard and Robert A. Heinlein made a bet in a bar one night either that L. Ron could not create a religion, or to see who could create a religion first. (In the second case, Stranger in a Strange Land is often cited as Heinlein's effort.)"

One of my favorite comments there:

Isaac Asimov commented in a 1980's interview that the bet was informal, and not JUST between Hubbard and Heinlein. Supposedly, it was Asimov, Heinlein, Hubbard, and Frank Herbert, more of a dare than a true bet. "Who can make the best religious story." Resulting stories: Nightfall, Dune, Job, and supposedly, Dianetics.

I am Laslo.

DKWalser said...

My older brother was an avid SciFi reader. I never developed a taste for the genre. There were a few SciFi novels and short stories that I enjoyed, but they were the exception to the rule. The genre explores human nature by exposing its characters to situations that don't exist in the our (current) world. Its a valid and worthy art. I just find our current world so fascinating that I'm jealous of any time reading SciFi takes me away from it.

LakeLevel said...

Lawrence Person: "Zelazny's Lord of Light is a great novel."
I re-read that about every 8 years. It never fails to thrill and surprise me.

Carter Wood said...

I love your box of books. The only one I haven't read (over five decades) is, amusingly enough, Cryptozoic!

Valis began Dick's descent into gnostic lunacy.

Clyde said...

When I clicked on the picture and zoomed in, I noticed that Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle was in there. I think that the Amazon Original series has done a good job of improving on the source material. I read the book and was not impressed by the style, which seemed very dated and pulpy to me. After watching Season 1 on Amazon, I re-read it and slightly upgraded my opinion of the book, but I think the series on Amazon is more coherent and has more of a narrative. I've watched both available seasons on Amazon.

sinz52 said...

Science fiction went into decline when the Space Race ended.

Take away space exploration from science fiction and there isn't all that much left except hackneyed and rehashed time travel stories.

Hershblogger said...

I've read every one of those.

For Heinlein try Waldo & Magic, Inc..

Neal Stephenson's Reamde, Diamond Age and Snow Crash are recommended. Not SF, but also, In the Beginning...was the Command Line.

Vernor Vinge - True Names and Rainbows End.

Not really SF, but anything by Terry Pratchett.

Of course, Hitchhikers Guide.

Rabel said...

"Who knows what all I could bullshit about reading all that and riffing however the mood strikes me?"

I'm having trouble seeing that sentence come from the Professor's keyboard. It sounds like it should be read with Hillary's southern trash accent.

pacwest said...

If those are the ones he left behind I'd love to see what he took with him. Agree the juvenile Heinlein is the best place to start. At one time I had over 15K SF titles in the library (you could find them for 10 cents at garage sales). One leaky pipe reduced that to a couple of hundred. A very sad day.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Dark Moon, Dark Moons" (excerpt)

Morgan attached the SensoPads to the palms of his scarred hands and began his rounds. There were over three-hundred colonists in DeepSleep in the ship's rear chambers, dreamlessly waiting to awake on their new home on the Moon of Magnus, and all three-hundred needed their daily Anal Probe check...

Inspecting the first few Anal Probes, Morgan found the readings to be normal, and the probes to be firmly in place. He had spent the last hundred days inspecting each colonist's anal probe, and had yet to find anything of concern...

But now there was Colonist 8675-309, and Morgan felt a sense of unease pass underneath his Silver Tunic. Yes, the anal probe was inserted the full eight inches, but -- upon closer inspection -- the Anal Seal O-Ring had been dislodged. That, however, was the only the beginning: beneath the Anal Seal O-Ring Morgan saw what he suspected to be semen, but a semen not quite like that of any human...

I am Laslo.

David53 said...

I read Stranger in a Strange Land when I was in the 6th grade, it blew my mind. But I had already read Heinlein's juvenile fiction so I agree with Fritz' suggestion.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

"Dark Moon, Dark Moons" (excerpt)

Morgan completed his rounds: there was a strange semen-like substance on the anal sphincters of fifty-seven colonists. Surely this could not be one lone crazed crewman overwhelmed by Space Madness. But could there be fifty-seven such crazed crewmen, suffering Space Madness and ejaculating on the hindquarters of colonists...?

No, Morgan decided: the semen-like substance did not come from fellow crewmen, but then what could it be? He had heard of alien lifeforms found stowed away on space vessels, but never did he hear of any that went on an Anal Rampage like this. Surely this was some form of life no human being had ever previously encountered, and this form of life was voraciously frenzied by Ass...

I am Laslo.

Rabel said...

Ass frenzy was a commom theme in early science fiction.

David53 said...

Stephen King wrote some Ass Frenzy stuff, but I don't remember any of that from the golden age.

gpm said...

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is Heinlein at his tiptop best, probably my absolute favorite: TANSTAAFL! Podkayne is also great, particularly if you get the re-released version, with the real ending (spoiler: um, she dies at the end); a relatively early example of RH projecting his feminine whatever. Loved The Glory Road when I was a teen (just the opposite of the feminine side stuff), but found it a bit meh thirty years or so later. All the later stuff (probably starting about Stranger) is sex maniac stuff, mucked up with weird Wizard of Oz stuff. NTTAWWT, as someone else said, and I loved it all. I remember reading a long time ago that Heinlein was the first to bring politics, sex, and religion into science fiction, but the politics were wrong, the sex was kinky, and the religion I don't remember was what. I've got and read it all from A to Z. One defining characteristic was starting with one story, then having a major break halfway through that shifted the entire story to something else.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is one of the greatest titles ever, but I'm not sure I've ever actually read it.

Was taken aback/impressed when I saw the box and thought Althouse had actually picked them out, but she only got them from the ex. Still, Ringworld/Mote: great Larry Niven stuff; Ptavvs, not bad, but not as good. Triffids: a must. Farnham's Freehold: another Heinlein classic. That Hideous Strength: sorry, unreadable. The Burroughs stuff: OK, just OK (but John Carter of Mars, not here, is great). Never read The Man in the High Castle. Cat's Cradle: Is that the ice nine one? Van Vogt: No, just no. I recognize a few others, but have nothing to say about them.

--gpm

gpm said...

A couple of comments that went up whilst I was composing: Stephenson's Diamond Age is pretty good, one of the few things I've read written in the last X decades, but comes to a rather abrupt end. A little like the answer to being stuck in an early issue of the National Lampoon about "How to Write Good": Suddenly, everyone was run over by a truck (by a "lorry" if you're British; if you're French, Toute le monde est ecrase par [whatever the word for truck is in French]). Tried to read Anathem but, HC, 200 pages in and nothing's actually happened!

--gpm

David53 said...

loved Diamond Age.

buwaya said...

"My all time favorite is "Canticle for Liebowitz". The blurbs say it's profound, bah. I think it's funny as hell."

My all time favorite too, and yes its funny.

Peder DeFor said...

Stranger in a Strange Land isn't where I would suggest most people start with Heinlein but Althouse is certainly sophisticated enough to do so. It's a bit heavy in the sex for my taste but it's worth reading for the questions that Heinlein posed. All of his books are worth reading for the questions they pose.
I'd love to hear her reactions to the governmental theory aspects of Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Liebowitz and the Foundation trilogy are the only sci-fi that have a permanent home in my bookcase. An entertaining genre but very few masterpieces.

Rana said...

Oh, Sydney, I think you're the only other person I've encountered who has read The Sparrow. One of my all-time favorite books!

Bix Cvvv said...

That Hideous Strength is, for some people, as good as 1984 or Brave New World. It is about (apocalyptic) resistance to governmental overreach, and includes a fairly well written character who is a talking bear (which is probably harder to do than it looks, I have never tried so I wouldn't know....) I don't feel confident criticizing "sci-fi" as a genre but I stop reading most sci fi books before the end.
I did finish (and liked) Podkayne of Mars (Heinlein), Dune (Herbert), every novel I started by Gene Wolfe, the CS Lewis sci-fi trilogy (Aldiss and Lewis knew each other well and there is an interesting published conversation between them), Jules Verne's geology novel, and every short story I have read by Cordwainer Smith. With the exception of the Verne, each of these works had interesting female characters in them - which I only point out because some of the cover art for the books in the picture is, well, I guess you could say a certain kind of male equivalent of Harlequin romance novel covers, and that is misleading.

David53 said...

Cordwainer Smith, aka Paul Anthony, was a fascinating individual. Love his stuff also.

William said...

In sci-fi, the movie is nearly always better than the book. It takes a great deal of visual imagination and technical know how to make a great sci fi movie. Vonnegut and Adams are terrific but most sci-fi novels are pulpy. I never read any Philip Dick novels, but he's been a good source for movies...,,,,,If you want to time travel, try reading a19th century novel. You get all the sights and sounds of a past era with the added attraction of great literature.

Christy said...

Rana & Sydney, The Sparrow was the scariest book I ever read. I grew up with the optimism of the Heinlein juveniles and Star Trek. The Sparrow turns that optimism on its head.

I hate, hate, hate Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Don't ask me why I have 3 editions, including the unexpurgated version. Okay, I wanted to see if Heinlein's original "unpublishable" manuscript was better. It wasn't.

Zelazny is a great love of mine.

I tried Stephenson's Anathem 3 times before giving up. I decided to listen to it and, sure enough, it quickly put me to sleep. Then I woke back up well into the novel and exciting things were happening. Still I cannot make myself stick with the beginning until good stuff happens.

Sometimes with Stephenson, I think he wants us to pass his IQ test before he allows entrance into his novels. I don't know about everyone else, but I gave up taking IQ tests for fun back in my 30s.

Lawrence Person said...

Jim Baen won't publish any books by writers of any politics any more. He died in 2006.

Bix Cvvv said...

Christy - Stephenson knows he is nowhere near as smart as the sort of real life people who would be the heroes of his novels if his novels were real (for example, the Pacific novel - Spruance and Turing, the medieval novel, Newton, the space novel, von Neumann). I think he is actually a humble guy who likes to write novels that include people who are smarter than him with respect to the important problems that arise in those novels. I think he would feel bad you thought he wanted you to pass his IQ test - I think he is more humble than that, and has more respect for the people who buy his books than that.. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

pacwest said...

When anyone who hasn't read any SF asks me what would be a good read to start with my recommendation is Flowers for Algernon. Gets them every time. The movie sucked.

I was always a sucker for space opera after the Lensmen series. Never was able to finish a Dick novel.

LOTR is the best book I've ever read, but not SF in the classic sense. I wish they'd never made the movie.

SF may not of predicted the future, but there sure is a lot of current tech that was in some SF book 50+ years ago.

Lewis Wetzel said...

All narrative -- all stories that have a beginning, a middle, and an end -- are a metaphor for the human condition.
Also, people perceive the world as symbols and express their experience of those symbols as allegory. There is nothing else, no billions of years of deep time, no clusters of galaxies billions of light years away. All human thought is perception of symbols and expression as allegory.
That's truth, given to you by Lewis Wetzel, gratis. You don't need to climb that tall mountain and find that wise man, now.
You are welcome!

Yancey Ward said...

Every novel in that box I have read except for those by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The collections (likely short stories and novellas), I may or may not have read- I would have had to see the covers to to be sure or not.

The last SF novel I remember reading in my prime SF reading years would have been the fourth novel in the Ender series by Orson Scott Card. I did read a few of Brian Herbert's novels with Kevin Anderson that followed up on Frank Herbert's Dune in the 2000s, but I stopped after a time. I haven't even thought about reading an SF novel in over 10 years now. Not really sure why.

Yancey Ward said...

As for Aldiss, I was never a big fan, though the Helliconia series was pretty decent, and I would recommend to someone who has never read the author. It surprised me that he was 92, but then I have trouble sometimes remembering I am 51.

Gahrie said...

The last SF novel I remember reading in my prime SF reading years would have been the fourth novel in the Ender series by Orson Scott Card

He wrote more, including going back to the first books and rewriting them from another character's perspective. I thought they were interesting.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Dark Moon, Dark Moons" (excerpt)

Morgan returned to Colonist 8675-309 and tapped his fingers across a touch pad, setting in motion the particle-driven Full Body Scan. On first observation everything seemed normal: just the slightly shrunken lungs that came from Space Sleep. But on further inspection Morgan noticed something that made his blood run cold...

In the bowels of Colonist 8675-309 there was a small fetus developing, a fetus quite unlike that of a human. The tongue of the fetus slithered like that of a serpent, and three rows of tiny sharp teeth had already formed. Oh my God! Morgan exclaimed in the silence of the Colonists' Space Sleep Chamber: there was an alien life-form on the ship -- a life-form with an unquenchable Ass Frenzy that was incubating its young in the anal cavities of the Colonists...

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Dark Moon, Dark Moons" (excerpt)

As Morgan observed the alien life-form incubating in Colonist 8675-309's bowels he felt cold, cold shock: in the space of a few minutes the fetus had doubled in size. At this rate within an hour the creature would be too large to comfortably remain in the anal cavity...

This would obviously be a case for the ship's Doctor; alas, the Doctor had died weeks ago, having castrated himself and hung himself by the neck in his quarters. Space Madness could occur at any time, and now Morgan was left with his cold diagnostic tools and no one to make sense of them...

I am Laslo.

Lucien said...

I agree the best Heinlein to start with is the juveniles. I particularly enjoyed Star Beast. But my favourite Heinlein (non-juvenile) is Time Enough For Love, though I suspect I'm in the minority on that one.

One that caught my eye in the picture was Ringworld by Niven. Now that was inventive sci-fi - a clever and well-thought compromise on the Dyson sphere.

In general I'd say that Ann's ex-husband had quite good taste in sci-fi based on that box (or maybe not given he left it behind).

I haven't been able to find much modern sci-fi that is any good. The fact that Scalzi won the Hugo for Red Shirts pretty much tells you the state of the genre.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

While I'm no Aldiss, I did have some thoughts on this: Genre as Immersive Metaphor. I'll probably expand on this when I can spare time for non-fiction writing.

Lucien said...

I haven't been able to find much modern sci-fi that is any good. The fact that Scalzi won the Hugo for Red Shirts pretty much tells you the state of the genre.

The genre has gotten too large and diverse to be judged by an award. Any award. The voting population is generally too small to matter.

MikeR said...

Loved Lord of Light. One of my all-time favorites.
Creatures... was from the period where Zelazny didn't bother revealing the whole plot. By the end you still have no idea what's going on.
Ringworld is a classic, not actually that good a book, but the ideas are great. Which is Larry Niven's real strength.
Heinlein on Mote: "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." It combines Niven's strength with Pournelle's writing.

Too much trouble to look at all the books piled up, but I see some Heinlein favorites there.

Robert Cook said...

"Starship Troopers? (His novel, not the movie!)"

The movie was better than the book. I say that having read the book years before seeing the movie, then reading it again after having seen the movie.

Robert Cook said...

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is one of the greatest titles ever, but I'm not sure I've ever actually read it."

It's far better than the film adapted from it, BLADE RUNNER.

Robert Cook said...

One of my favorite SF novels is little-known in the field: BY FURIES POSSESSED, written by Ted White. White was the editor of AMAZING and FANTASTIC magazines in the 70s, then moved on to edit HEAVY METAL for a period of years.

BFP was first published in two parts in AMAZING when White was its editor, and he wrote an editorial explaining the book's inspiration: the episode of STAR TREK wherein they visit a planet where all the inhabitants are living in bliss, the result of spores they have inhaled from plants native to the planet. Spock inhales the spores and becomes full of feeling, and falls in love with a woman colonist. Kirk has to figure out how to defeat this vile evil that is infecting his crew! He does so, and Spock becomes, once again, the unfeeling Vulcan, his love affair destroyed.

White wrote of being outraged by the episode, and BY FURIES POSSESSED was his reaction. The novel plays a variation on Heinlein's THE PUPPET MASTERS.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"I haven't been able to find much modern sci-fi that is any good."
Vernor Vinge, Neal Stephenson, and Connie Willis are the only modern SF authors I seek out, though they all did their best work in the 90s. When you read the bio blurbs heading the stories in Asimov's Science fiction magazine, it is striking how many of the authors make a living teaching humanities or are (essentially) full time housewives, part time writers.

Robert Cook said...

"When you read the bio blurbs heading the stories in Asimov's Science fiction magazine, it is striking how many of the authors make a living teaching humanities or are (essentially) full time housewives, part time writers."

This is because the ugly truth is that most writers do not make enough from their writing alone to pay their bills.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Robert Cook, writers make money, these days, because the corporate state rigidly enforces copyright laws. Every writer (or copyright holder) has a state-granted monopoly on the reproduction of his or her work. For most writers, that monopoly isn't worth much.

Bad Lieutenant said...

William Gibson

nucint said...

Neal Stephenson – Yes, Anathem starts slow and is difficult to stay with, but then takes off. It does not end anywhere near where the first 200 pages would lead you to believe it is going. His latest, Seveneves, is hands down my favorite book in past 20-years.

Alister Reynolds – Space opera of the highest order. Suggest start with House of Suns, my personnel favorite of his. If like that, then try the Revelation Space series.

Iain M. Banks – Space opera for socialists. Banks Culture series explored a seemingly perfect socialist galactic civilization. The joke is, for socialism to work, need super intelligent AI minds to run it. Humans just end up as pawns used by the minds in their quest to take over and indoctrinate more civilizations. Although Banks himself leaned far left and was trying to portray a utopian society, it actually is very unintentionally chilling. Elon Musk named his autonomous rocket recovery ships after Mind/Ship characters in the Culture series.

Joan said...

Re: Heinlein, I agree with Fritz & everyone else, start with the juvies. I liked Double Star, which I believe inspired the movie Dave (Kevin Kline starring as a presidential look-alike.) But I read them all. Totally agree on the sex maniac thing, too, but again, NTTAWWT.

What I was psyched to see there was Dangerous Visions. I look for that anthology any time I'm in a used bookstore, and have never run across a copy of any edition (there were two later compilations.) Really excellent stuff there. I found Harlan Ellison's own work not exactly my cuppa tea, but he was an outstanding editor.

Warms my heart to see the mention of Cordwainer Smith here, one of my all-time favorites.

Gahrie said...

Jim Baen won't publish any books by writers of any politics any more. He died in 2006.

The company (Baen Books) is still going strong and still lives up to his vision.

Robert Cook said...

"What I was psyched to see there was Dangerous Visions. I look for that anthology any time I'm in a used bookstore, and have never run across a copy of any edition (there were two later compilations.)"

The first DANGEROUS VISIONS can still be found, and has been republished several times. There was only one later compilation (AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS). The third compilation (THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS) has been long-promised (for decades!) but has never seen light. It probably never will. Many of the writers who contributed stories to it have died in the interim. It's all because Ellison has not been able to finish writing his introductions and commentary to all the stories, allegedly. Ellison was in his 30s when he began collecting the stories for the third compilation, and he is 83 now.

Robert Cook said...

Harlan Ellison: Pay the Writer!