Thoughts from the SF Gateway

On This Day: Walter M. Miller Jr

23 January 2015

On this day, in 1923, Walter Michael Miller, Jr was born, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

In August of this year, we will be publishing his wonderful story collection, Dark Benediction, as an SF masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook, with a new introduction by none other than Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author Pat Cadigan. This is something to look forward to, of course, but there is one work that is synonymous with Miller’s name: the extraordinary post-apocalyptic religious SF epic A Canticle for Leibowitz, winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for best novel.

Available in our SF Masterworks list in hardback, with a stunning new cover by the wonderful Dominic Harman A Canticle for Leibowitz – described by The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as ‘one of the relatively few attempts in US sf to deal with formal religion, and one of the very few to do so successfully’ – is an acknowledged masterpiece of modern SF.

In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, the rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of knowledge.

By studying the Holy Relics of the past, the Order of St Leibowitz hopes to raise humanity from its fallen state to one of grace.

But is such knowledge the key to salvation? Or the certain sign that we are doomed to repeat our most grievous mistakes…?

You could do much worse than read Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s insightful analysis, which we published last March (with thanks to our friends at SFX magazine). Of course, if you really want to know what everyone’s raving about, you could always rea the book itself. We can promise you it’s time well spent.

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Posted in Authors
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SF Gateway & Gollancz: Proud Sponsors of the Edge Lit Festival

22 January 2015

SF Gateway is delighted to announce that, along with sister imprint, Gollancz, we will be sponsoring Edge Lit 4, to be held on Saturday 11th July, in Derby.

SF Gateway and Gollancz also sponsored last year’s Edge Lit festival, which featured no less august personages than Joe Abercrombie and Charles Stross as Guests of Honour, and an enviable roster of their fellow authors appearing on panels and in workshops. It is a fresh, vibrant recent addition to the British convention calendar, and the perfect way for SFF fans to start their summer.

Guests of Honour and attending authors are yet to be announced, but if you keep an eye on their website, we’re sure you’ll see some brilliant names popping up before long.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Conventions, News
Comments: 1

SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: Jack L. Chalker

21 January 2015

From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to one of modern SF and Fantasy’s great storytellers, Jack L. Chalker.

 

A fan from an early age, Chalker was also active as an editor, founding a small press in his early 20s, but it is as a writer that he is best known. Although his earliest novels were singletons, he soon turned his attention to the sequences that would dominate his career: most notably, The Well of Souls series.

This omnibus collects the first volume of that series, Midnight at the Well of Souls; book one of his Soul Rider series, Spirits of Flux and Anchor; and standalone novel, The Identity Matrix.

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Happy Birthday, Buzz Aldrin!

20 January 2015

Having suffered the indignity of overlooking a milestone birthday of one great figure, we have no intention of making it two-for-two so early in the year. As one of the most intellectually limited figures ever to hold high office (in)famously said: ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice . . . I won’t get fooled again’.

Today is the 85th birthday of a very famous man. Author, engineer, war veteran, fighter pilot, astronaut . .  and the second human being to set foot on another world, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr – forever known to the world as ‘Buzz’ – Happy 85th Birthday!



Enjoy some footage of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, featuring Buzz Aldrin and, of course, Neil Armstrong. Just don’t read the comments on YouTube unless you have a high tolerance for the idiocy of conspiracy theorists . . .

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We Are Full of Shame: We Missed Robert Silverberg’s Birthday

19 January 2015

Although there are mitigating circumstances – the end of 2014 saw illness rampaging through Gateway Towers like the proverbial bull in the (now that we stop to think about it, extremely unlikely) china shop, and thus 2015 has had a slower start than usual – we stand with heads bowed in shame. Last Thursday was Robert Silverberg‘s birthday, and we missed it.

To make matters worse, not only was January 15th the great man’s birthday – it was his 80th birthday! We can’t tell you how embarrassed we are to have missed such a landmark, but we can tell you how we mean to make amends:

Firstly, the Gateway Elves have been soundly thrashed and sent to bed without any Gernsback (no, we don’t know what that means, either, but they seemed very upset).

Secondly, we have declared this Robert Silverberg week on the SF Gateway website, with all four spotlights carrying one of his amazing works. To be honest, we could easily have filled twice as many slots. For the next week, we offer up for your reading pleasure:

The Nebula Award-winning masterpiece, A Time of Changes, not one but two novels shortlisted for both Hugo and Nebula awards in the same year (talk about competing against yourself!) – The Book of Skulls and Dying Inside – and the nearest we suspect Robert Silverberg ever got to epic fantasy, the first of his majestic Majipoor series, Hugo-shortlisted Lord Valentine’s Castle.

Read, enjoy, and please join us in saying (however tardily!):

Happy Birthday, Robert Silverberg!

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Posted in Authors, Commentary
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Robert Silverberg’s Reflections: January 2015

5 January 2015

 

‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’

Isaac Asimov

 

 

Reflections is a regular column by multi-award-winning SFWA Grandmaster Robert Silverberg, in which he will offer his thoughts on science fiction, literature and the world at large.

This month: Richard Hakluyt of Space

In an essay in her collection The Common Reader (1925), Virginia Woolf has this to say about her encounter with Richard Hakluyt’s enormous compilation of Elizabethan narratives of travel and exploration, The Principal Navigations Voyages Traffics and Discoveries of the English Nation:

“These magnificent volumes are not often, perhaps, read through. Part of their charm consists in the fact that Hakluyt is not so much a book as a great bundle of commodities loosely tied together, an emporium, a lumber room strewn with ancient sacks, obsolete nautical instruments, huge bales of wool, and little bags of rubies and emeralds. One is forever untying this packet here, sampling that heap over there, wiping the dust off some vast map of the world, and sitting down in semi-darkness to snuff the strange smells of silks and leathers and ambergris. . . . For this jumble of seeds, silks, unicorns’ horns, elephants’ teeth, wool, common stones, turbans, and bars of gold, these odds and ends of priceless value and complete worthlessness, were the fruit of innumerable voyages, traffics, and discoveries to unknown lands in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.” And she goes on to express the delights that wandering through this immense, centuries-old compendium of geographies offers.

 

 

You can read the rest of the column here, and find Robert Silverberg’s eBooks here – including Reflections and Refractions, a collection of his non-fiction columns. Please note: each column will remain on the site for one month only.

 

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Posted in Reflections
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SF Gateway is Closed for the Holidays

24 December 2014

Mulled wine! Turkey! Bing Crosby! Human sacrifice!

OK, maybe not that last one.

The point is it’s the Festive Season and SF Gateway is now closed for the duration. You’ll still be able to buy all of your favourite classic SF&F from your preferred retailer, but we won’t be talking about it here until January. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our many readers for supporting us over the year and helping to keep great classic SF alive and read!

So: we wish you all a Merry Christmas or whichever religious of secular end-of-year festival you choose to observe, and hope you have a happy and safe holiday – full of lots of awesome spaceships and robots, of course.

See you in 2015.

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Posted in Housekeeping
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SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: Michael G. Coney

23 December 2014

From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to one of the major voices of 1970s British SF, the BSFA Award-winning Michael G. Coney.


trade paperback | eBook


Michael Greatrex Coney was a British-born author who spent the last three decades of his life in Canada – including 16 years in the British Colombia Forest Service. His early work carried a sense of Cold War-inspired paranoia, but his repertoire was wide and perhaps his best novel, Hello Summer, Goodbye, is a wistful story of adolescent love on a far-distant planet. The titles collected in this omnibus come from the fertile beginning of his career and include his debut novel Mirror Image, Charisma and the BSFA Award-winning Brontomek!


You can find more of Michael G Coney’s work via his Author page on the SF Gateway, and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.


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December New Releases: We’ve Got ELRIC! and HEINLEIN! And LEIBOWITZ!

22 December 2014

Truly, the Lords of Chaos and Order do battle upon the spheres of SF Gateway, ever shifting the balance this way and then that. Or, as some would have it: there’s good news and bad news. And good news. Possibly.

Wait. What?

OK. First, the good news: we have a tranche of almost forty new books releasing today – including some essential Michael Moorcock! We’ve got the first six Elric eBooks to go with the Moonbeam Roads trilogy already released, Gloriana, and the two Von Bek books: The Warhound and the World’s Pain and The City in the Autumn Stars.

And if that’s not enough, we also have the five volumes that comprise Robert A Heinlein’s The Past Through Tomorrow. What else? Oh, just a little something called A Canticle for Leibowitz, winner of the 1961 Hugo Award and serial occupier of anyone-who’s-anyone’s list of the greatest SF novels ever written.

The bad news?  Gah. Well, it pains us to confess that the search function on the SF Gateway website has been behaving like a half-trained puppy – sometimes it plays nicely, sometimes it doesn’t – and since the search is what powers the ‘View All Books By . . .’ link on the Author pages, we can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to find these new releases on the site as easily as you should be able to.

IT Support has been working on the problem, but with the offices now closed until the New Year, that won’t help those of you wanting to fill your devices with Melnibonéan (and other) goodness over the holidays. So, we offer you this low-tech solution . . .

22nd December Releases

Time of the Fourth Horseman by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Ariosto by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Tarzan Triumphant by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan and the City of Gold by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan and the Leopard Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan’s Quest by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan the Magnificent by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Slant by Greg Bear

Hydrosphere by John Glasby writing as A.J. Merak
The Time Kings by John Glasby writing as J.B. Dexter
Black Abyss by John Glasby writing as J.L. Powers
Day of the Beasts by John Glasby writing as John E. Muller
Alien by John Glasby writing as John E. Muller
Edge of Eternity by John Glasby writing as John E. Muller
Space Void by John Glasby writing as Victor La Salle
Twilight Zone by John Glasby writing as Victor La Salle

Pursuit Through Time by Jonathan Burke

The World That Never Was by Lionel Fanthorpe, Patricia Fanthorpe writing as Karl Zeigfreid

Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill’d Queen by Michael Moorcock
The Warhound and the World’s Pain by Michael Moorcock
The City in the Autumn Stars by Michael Moorcock
Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories by Michael Moorcock
Elric: The Fortress of the Pearl by Michael Moorcock
Elric: The Sailor on the Seas of Fate by Michael Moorcock
Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress by Michael Moorcock
Elric: The Revenge of the Rose by Michael Moorcock
Elric: Stormbringer! by Michael Moorcock

Tarzan Alive by Philip Jose Farmer

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick

Dark Channel by Ray Garton

The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson

The Man Who Sold the Moon by Robert A. Heinlein
The Green Hills of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein
Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
Revolt in 2100 by Robert A. Heinlein
Methuselah’s Children by Robert A. Heinlein

The Robot Who Looked Like Me by Robert Sheckley

Wolf Star Rise by Tanith Lee

A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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SF Masterwork of the Week: Mission of Gravity

19 December 2014

A brilliant and mind-bending depiction of alien life that still stands as a landmark of hard SF.

Mesklin is a vast, inhospitable, disc-shaped planet, so cold that its oceans are liquid methane and its snows are frozen ammonia. It is a world spinning dizzyingly, a world where gravity can be a crushing 700 times greater than Earth’s, a world too hostile for human explorers.

But the planet holds secrets of inestimable value, and an unmanned probe that has crashed close to one of its poles must be recovered. Only the Mesklinites, the small creatures so bizarrely adapted to their harsh environment, can help.

And so Barlennan, the resourceful and courageous captain of the Mesklinite ship Bree, sets out on an heroic and appalling journey into the terrible unknown. For him and his people, the prize to be gained is as great as that for mankind . . .

 

Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity is universally regarded as one of the most important and best loved novels in the genre. The remarkable and sympathetic depiction of an alien species and the plausible and scientifically based realisation of the strange world they inhabit make it a major landmark in the history of hard SF.

 

You can find more of Hal Clement’s work via his Author page on the SF Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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