New Wave Sci-Fi 75 (13)
December 24, 2017
One in a series of posts about the 75 best science fiction novels published during the genre’s New Wave era (from 1964–1983, according to HILOBROW’s periodization schema). For Josh Glenn’s complete New Wave Sci-Fi 75 list, click here.
Harlan Ellison’s (ed.) Dangerous Visions (1967).
This is not a novel, but a collection of original science fiction stories by 30+ contributors. I include it on this list because it was influential on the genre’s New Wave movement; however, by the time I read it, in the mid-1980s, what was most shocking about these stories was the sexism and racism. Still, Philip K. Dick’s “Faith of Our Fathers” is a fascinating mashup about Chinese communism, psychedelics, and the truth of religion; Robert Silverberg’s graphic “Flies,” in which aliens experiment on a spaceman in order to learn about what makes humanity tick — and get it wrong, is a fun thriller; Samuel R. Delany’s “Aye, and Gomorrah…” conjures up a new sexual perversion involving a neutered astronaut; and Ellison’s own “The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World” is something of a tour de force — about Jack the Ripper’s disappointment when he escapes to the 31st century. Fritz Leiber’s “Gonna Roll the Bones” is a chilling, funny fable… but Leiber wasn’t a New Wave writer, nor were some of the collection’s other contributors (Pohl, Anderson). I should also mention John T. Sladek’s “The Happy Breed,” which presciently describes our emotional dependence on apps.
Fun facts: “Gonna Roll the Bones” won both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award for Best Novelette; and “Aye, and Gomorrah…” won the Nebula for Best Short Story. Ellison published a sequel, Again, Dangerous Visions, in 1972; a third, as yet unpublished sequel, is now infamous.
NEW WAVE SCI-FI at HILOBROW: 75 Best New Wave (1964–1983) Sci-Fi Novels | Back to Utopia: Fredric Jameson’s theorizing about New Wave sci-fi | Douglas Adams | Poul Anderson | J.G. Ballard | John Brunner | William Burroughs | Octavia E. Butler | Samuel R. Delany | Philip K. Dick | Frank Herbert | Ursula K. Le Guin | Barry N. Malzberg | Moebius (Jean Giraud) | Michael Moorcock | Alan Moore | Gary Panter | Walker Percy | Thomas Pynchon | Joanna Russ | James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon) | Kurt Vonnegut | PLUS: Jack Kirby’s Golden Age and New Wave science fiction comics.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.