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Reviews in Project: Because My Tears Are Delicious To You (387)

Tales of a Darkening World

Tales of a Darkening World

By Edgar Pangborn  

19 Jul, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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This demonstrates a pitfall the preferred length of modern SF generally skirts. I began intended just to reread Edgar Pangborn’s post-holocaust Bildungsroman Davy but because I was also planning to reread Canticle for Leibowitz, which covers centuries to Davys decades I then began to ponder if it would be better to reread all the stories Pangborn wrote in that setting so I would be comparing similar spans of time or at least half a millennium to 1800 years. After all, both The Company of Glory and The Judgment of Eve are short and the collection Still I Persist in Wondering is under 300 pages. Of course, it all added up to something as long as The Past Through Tomorrow or Adventures in Time and Space. I am sure there is a lesson here somewhere and equally sure that I didn’t learn it.

Although he is comparatively obscure now, in the 1950s Pangborn won an International Fantasy Award for his A Mirror for Observers, a Hugo nomination for Davy (which lost to Leiber’s execrable The Wanderer ; what the hell, SF fandom?), and Nebula nominations for A Better Mousehole” and Mount Charity”. A fair fraction of his work was set the Darkening World, in a world where thanks to resource depletion, overpopulation, light nuclear war, and a host of almost certainly engineered plagues, civilization collapsed, leaving in its wake a small and infertile population of people to survive as best they can.

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The Stars in Shroud

The Stars in Shroud

By Gregory Benford  

13 Jul, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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I’ve never read the first draft of this – back when Now & Then Books was at 103 Queen South, Harry had a copy on the shelves for years and yet I was never quite inspired to pick it up. Perhaps this is because there were other books I wanted more but I think it’s because I knew Deeper Than Darkness was the earlier version of Stars in Shroud, a version that its author thought needed a rewrite and Stars is, sadly, full of interesting nuggets that are embedded in a crap sandwich.

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Adventures in Time & Space, edited by Healy & McComas

 Edited by Raymond J. Healy & J. Francis McComas 

6 Jul, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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I know where I bought this – Waterloo Square – but I cannot recall if the Coles had opened yet or if the little bookstore whose name I have forgotten was still there, as yet uncrushed by giant chains and the grim realities of bookselling.

I am sure this would have been a major part of my teen years if it wasn’t quite so long. Thousand page books are awkward to tote around. It must have been very impressive when it first appeared in 1946; there would not have been many books like it, whereas I started reading SF during a golden age of anthologies and collections.

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Neutron Star

Neutron Star

By Larry Niven  

29 Jun, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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These days Larry Niven is perhaps best known for turgid, lifeless prose, advocacy of race-based medical fraud and other choice examples of right-wing cane-wavery, but extraordinary as it may seem to younger readers, there was a time in the long long ago when readers willingly picked up his books for reasons other than desire for self-flagellation.

I first encountered Niven in the August 1970 issue of Playboy, where his Svetz story Leviathan” appeared, and while it held my attention long enough to finish the story, I don’t think I took note of his name at the time. What got me hooked on Niven was this collection, first published in 1968; my edition is from 1975 and it was almost certainly the Rick Sternbach cover that got me to pick it up, but it was the stories inside that got me to keep picking up his books.

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Healer

Healer

By F. Paul Wilson  

15 Jun, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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I bought this in the summer of 1977 and while I don’t remember buying it I do remember reading it next to Columbia Lake at the University of Waterloo. I think the lake had been closed to swimmers 1 by then but maybe we dropped by to hang out next to it on the bank.

What impressed me at the time about this book was the sweep of history, as the immortal protagonist witnesses a thousand years of history. Why it was this book that struck me that way and not, say, the Foundation series I am not sure but it could have been that Foundation changes points of view as it changes eras.

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The Star Treasure

The Star Treasure

By Keith Laumer  

7 Jun, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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Although Laumer is probably best known for his Retief and his Bolo stories or perhaps the medical calamity that overshadowed the majority of his career, this particular book is significant to me because it happens to be the very first Laumer I ever encountered, spotted during of my covert forays up into the adult section of Waterloo Public Library.

Right after the superfluous prologue we get a hint Things Have Changed from the date: Sarday, Ma 35, 2190. Ban Tarleton is a loyal, excessively loyal, officer in the United Planetary Navy, taking the claims of his superiors at face value and interpreting what he sees in light of the lies he has been raised on. 

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