James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > Search Results

Reviews Matching "Doomsday Book" (30)

It’s time for a Margaret St. Clair revival

The Best of Margaret St. Clair

By Margaret St. Clair Edited by Martin H. Greenberg 

16 May, 2015

Special Requests

0 comments

There are those who would paint old-time SF as an exclusively masculine affair. Those people are wrong and a subset of them is willfully lying. Margaret St. Clair (1911 – 1995), to pick just a single woman working in the field, is proof SF was never exclusively male. She was a fairly prolific pulp writer (over 130 short works and eight novels), specializing in short works in the 1950s before moving into novels in the 1960s. Although she was armed with a Master of Arts in Greek Classics, she seemed content to play in the pulps, where she published works unlike anyone else’s. 

Rather frustratingly, St. Clair is out of print these days; if there are any modern editions of her books, I was unable to find them. If she is known to younger readers at all, it is because of a particularly dire bit of cover copy inflicted on her by some editor (who seems to have been an idiot and also bad at his job). Luckily for me, I was sent a copy of her 1985 collection The Best of Margaret St. Clair and luckily for you, I was paid to review it. 

Read more ➤

Can’t Keep Me Down

Free Flight

By Douglas Terman  

24 Jul, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

Douglas Terman’s 1980 Free Flight is a post-apocalyptic thriller. 

Believing that political and economic trends favored the US, Soviet Politburo extremists decided to take advantage of the Soviet’s existing superiority before it vanished. One bold first strike and they would unify the world under Soviet rule for the comparatively small cost of a few tens of millions dead. Mistakes were made. Billions died. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union prevailed. 

Air Force Officer Gregory Mallen picked the perfect time to holiday at his isolated Vermont cabin with doomed girlfriend Anne. Makeshift counter-measures protected Mallen1 from the fallout. In the two years since 1985’s Seven Hour War, Mallen has lived in his cabin, occasionally bartering for necessities. Until now, America’s new government has ignored him. 

That respite is now over.

Read more ➤

Ancient Songs

Stranger From the Depths

By Gerry Turner  

7 Jan, 2024

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

7 comments

Gerry Turner’s 1967 Stranger From the Depths is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

Desperate to keep the family newspaper afloat, college student/editor Gary and highschooler Jordan Howard perch on a promontory in the hope of photographing an incoming tsunami. Their effort costs them their vehicle, but the resulting images earn them a healthy $1200 (about $11,000 in 2024 currency). The Bellbrook Times can survive for a little while longer.

In the aftermath left by the wave, the two orphans make a very curious find, a statue of curious design and even more astonishing age, embedded in an ancient cliff.


Read more ➤

The Road is Long

6th Annual Edition: The Year’s Best S‑F  (The Year’s Best S‑F, volume 6)

 Edited by Judith Merril 

1 Aug, 2023

Judith Merril’s The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy

7 comments

1961’s 6th Annual Edition: The Year’s Best S‑F (also published as The 6th Annual of the Year’s Best S‑F and as The Best of Sci-Fi) is the sixth annual anthology in Judith Merril’s The Year’s Best S‑F series. The stories included were first published in 1960 and 1961.

Alas, every series has its duds and volume six appears to be the dud in this series.

Read more ➤