Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Paperback Fantastic, Volume One: Science Fiction - Justin Marriott, ed.

You can count on Justin Marriott to produce some excellent fanzines. The creator and editor of BATTLING BRITONS, MEN OF VIOLENCE, THE PAPERBACK FANATIC, HOT LEAD, and others recently launched THE PAPERBACK FANTASTIC. Volume One covers science fiction and features dozens of reviews of science fiction novels (and a few comic books and graphic novels), along with several features about science fiction paperbacks and, as usual in Marriott’s publications, plenty of great artwork on all the cover reproductions. Bill Cunningham deserves a lot of credit for the great design work on this trade paperback.

The reviews themselves are by Marriott, Tim Deforest, Andreas Decker, Dave Karlen, John Peel, Jeff Popple, Scott Ranalli, Penny Tesarek, Tom Tesarek, and Benjamin Thomas. They cover a wide variety of books and authors, ranging from the early Edgar Rice Burroughs/scientific romance years through the pulp era to the New Wave and beyond. Books by Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson, and many other classic SF authors are reviewed. Some are books I’ve read, and for the most part I agree with those reviews. Some are books I’d like to read, if I can ever get around to it. All of them are well-written and entertaining. I even learned a few things, such as the fact that David Grinnell was actually a pseudonym of Donald A. Wollheim. I’m not sure how I never ran across that so far, but it was news to me. And it might prompt me to read some of the books under the Grinnell name, although the one reviewed in this volume doesn’t get very high marks.

Overall, I had a great time reading THE PAPERBACK FANTASTIC, VOLUME ONE: SCIENCE FICTION. It concentrates mostly on the sort of SF that I grew up reading and enjoying, and if you’re a fan of that genre, I give it a high recommendation.


Walker Martin said...

I just received the second volume from amazon, so hopefully we will see more books like this one.

Cunningham said...

James, thanks for the kind words. I do want to clarify though that I only design the covers and consult on the interior. Justin is the one who hits it out of the park. He came up with some grand design decisions, and I look forward to seeing more. 😉