Here's the Latest from SF

If you're looking for the latest additions to SFPB, you've come to the right place. Here's where you'll find news on the latest books, changes and additions to the site. Check here first to see what's new.

February 26, 2015

Magnificent Miscellany

MAD in Orbit
MAD in Orbit

This month we have no particular theme, but are clearing a few of the poor orphans that have been gathering digital dust in the done folder for quite some time. Let’s get right to it.

Let’s start with some fun: MAD in Orbit from the editors of our favorite magazine while growing up. If not for the content of the cover, this may seem out of place here, but the cover was also illustrated by an artist that is quite well-known in the world of science fiction pulps and paperbacks: Kelly Freas.

Speaking of cover artists, we’re also adding several painted by the prolific Richard Powers: A for Andromeda, The Star of Life, and (probably) The Mile-Long Spaceship, as well as one more cover by the equally productive Ed Emshwiller: Ten Years to Doomsday. Ralph Brillhart also makes an appearance with a very Powers-like cover of The Memory Bank.

Along with the aforementioned Star of Life, author Edmond Hamilton appears twice, the second being one of his Captain Future adventures, The Magician of Mars.

Also previously mentioned was Kate Wilhelm’s collection of short stories, The Mile-Long Spaceship. We’ve got two other story collections in 6XH Six Stories by Heinlein, and Spectrum 3 featuring some of the most well-known stories in sf history including Theodore Sturgeon’s Killdozer! and Arthur C. Clarke’s The Sentinel, which was part of the inspiration for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Finally, we’re throwing in an Edgar-Rice-Burroughs-esque tale by Otis Adelbert Kline called The Swordsman of Mars. OAK’s stories didn’t catch on like ERB’s, but you can’t beat the art on the cover of this magnificent Ace single!


January 15, 2015

Golden Galaxy

The Third Galaxy Reader
One of many collections
edited by Galaxy’s H.L. Gold

There was a time once – it was back in the heyday of science fiction – when the word “Galaxy” didn’t evoke images of smart phones or tablets. In October 1950, Galaxy Magazine joined the ranks of Astounding Science Fiction and the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as one of the era’s most important science fiction magazines. Edited for its first eleven years by H.L. Gold, Galaxy attracted many of the field’s greatest authors including Asimov, Heinlein, Simak, Bester, Leiber, Knight, Kornbluth, Pohl, and Sturgeon. Many of whom were leaving Astounding’s stable as its editor, John Campbell, became more and more infatuated with the pseudoscientific dianetics. As a result, many of the greatest sf stories were published in Galaxy during Gold’s tenure as editor. The most well known of these is likely Ray Bradbury’s The Fireman, which was later published in book form as Fahrenheit 451.

While Gold had an exceptional eye for talent, he was an unconventional editor. Suffering from acute agoraphobia and xenophobia, Gold rarely left his New York apartment, doing most of his work with authors over the phone, and occasionally in person when they visited him at his home. In Isaac Asimov’s memoir I. Asimov, he tells of his first meeting with Gold, at which Gold excused himself after a few minutes and went into the bedroom. Not knowing of his ailment, Asimov thought he had done something to offend Gold. As he got up to leave, the phone rang and it was Gold calling from the bedroom. The meeting proceeded from there with the two men in different rooms of the same apartment!

After Gold left as editor, the magazine continued on under several other editors until finally ending its run with a single issue in 1980. During its three decade run Galaxy remained one of the most influential of science fiction pulps, consequently, many of its stories were anthologized in book form with Gold as their editor. This month’s update features a half dozen of these collections, including: Bodyguard, The Third Galaxy Reader, The Fourth Galaxy Reader, and The Fifth Galaxy Reader.

We’ve also added The 6 Fingers of Time, a collection that is not credited to any editor, but as most of the stories were originally published during Gold’s tenure as editor, we’re including it here.

Finally, we’ve included the novel Preferred Risk, by Edson McCann. Never heard of him? That’s because he is really Lester del Rey and Frederik Pohl, who were recruited to write the novel after Galaxy ran a writing contest and none of the entries were deemed publishable. Today, that might seem ethically questionable especially considering that Frederik Pohl was Gold’s assistant editor (and eventual successor) at the time. Needless to say, “Edson” won the contest.

To see other collections edited by Gold, see our H.L. Gold page.


December 11, 2014

Ace is the Place for December Doubles

Lord of The Green Planet
Lord of The Green Planet
The 400th book in our database!

True to our biennial December tradition (geez, has it been two years already?), we’ve got a passel of the legendary tête-bêche formatted doubles from Ace. Containing two books in one, Ace made this format available over 60 years ago starting at the (what seems today) paltry sum of 35 cents. Seventeen and a half cents for a book-length science fiction story? Unheard of! Well, those days are long, long, (long) gone, but this holiday season you can cozy up in your hover chair, with your synth-nog and tablet, and relive those bygone days with these new additions to the SFPaperbacks database!

Alpha Centauri or Die! by Leigh Brackett, cover by Jack Gaughan
Legend of Lost Earth by G. McDonald Wallis, cover by Richard Powers

Contraband from Otherspace by A. Bertram Chandler, cover by Kelly Freas
Reality Forbidden by Philip E. High, cover by Jack Gaughan

Five Against Arlane by Tom Purdom, cover by Jack Gaughan
Lord of The Green Planet by Emil Petaja, cover by Kelly Freas

Second Ending by James White
The Jewels of Aptor by Samuel R. Delany, both covers by Jack Gaughan

The Dragon Masters, and
The Five Gold Bands both by Jack Vance, covers by Jack Gaughan and Edward Valigursky respectively.

Enjoy your holidays!

March 2, 2013

Browsing SF Paperbacks Just got Easier

SF Paperbacks bookshelf
Click the arrows at either end
of the shelf to browse our books.

We’ve made it even easier to find what you’re looking for on SF Paperbacks! Now, rather than just a random selection of books appearing on the bookshelf at the bottom of the home page, you can use the shelf to browse through the entire library of books in our database!

Using the next and previous arrows at either end of the bookshelf lets you scroll backwards or forwards through the covers of every single book. See them all at a glance, and when you find what you’re looking for — or just something you like — click the cover to view the book’s details.

We hope you enjoy this novel way of perusing our collection, and we’ll be back soon with more new (old) books.

Happy browsing!

December 10, 2012

Double December

The Ace Doubles logo
One of many incarnations
of the Ace Doubles logo.

How great is December? How much greater would it be with double of everything? Twice as many cookies, as much again nog, two times the lights, double the decorations, seconds of all the songs and, best of all, gifts, gobs and gobs of gifts! Well, we can’t give you any of that, but this month, in an on-again-off-again annual or biennial tradition, we have double the books in this month’s update! Specifically, we’re featuring Ace Doubles again, two books in one, in the head-to-toe format made famous by Ace in the late fifties, and that lasted all through the sixties and into the early seventies.

For your viewing pleasure this month, to our growing collection, we’re adding D-437 which includes And Then The Town Took Off by Richard Wilson and The Sioux Spaceman by Andre Norton; followed by D-465 where The Atlantic Abomination by John Brunner backs The Martian Missile by David Grinnell. After which we move into the F-series with F-127 pairing Seven from the Stars by Marion Zimmer Bradley with Worlds of the Imperium by Keith Laumer, and F-139 combining The Makeshift Rocket and Un-Man and Other Novellas both by Poul Anderson. Finally, from Ace’s five-digit series comes 48245 which backs Hunting on Kunderer by William Barton with Life with Lancelot by John T. Phillifent (one of my favorite last names ever!).


November 6, 2012

The Popular Vogt

Worlds Unknown
In 1974, Marvel Comics featured
Van Vogt’s Black Destroyer in the
fifth issue of Worlds Unknown

In the US, November is the voting season, and while everyone here is thoroughly sick of hearing about the elections at this point, there’s one VOTE whose popularity never seems to diminish — that’s A.E. Van Vogt (pronounced ‘vote’). Best known for the novel Slan, and series such as the Weapon Shops, Null-A, and the Mixed Men, he’s also remembered (for better or worse) for creating the ‘fixup’ novel — taking a series of (sometimes very loosely) related stories and mashing them together to form a novel, sometimes with new connecting material but just as often without — of which, he created more of than any other sf writer of the era, most successfully The Voyage of the Space Beagle and The War Against the Rull.

The Voyage of the Space Beagle is of particular interest as the first story is Dark Destroyer which appeared on the cover of Astounding Science Fiction (later Analog) in July 1939, the issue most often cited as the beginning of the Golden Age of science fiction. We’ve mentioned before (see below) how this story became an inspiration for the movie Alien, that is, Van Vogt received a settlement from the movie makers after bringing a lawsuit citing similarities in the stories. In this month’s update we’ve got two versions of this book, one published by MacFadden with its original title, and the other by Signet with the title Mission: Interplanetary.

Van Vogt’s writing has been criticized by some (especially Damon Knight), but equally as highly praised by others (notably Philip K. Dick). While critics felt his writing style was as much of a mess as some of his fixups, others saw an inspiring, mysterious, chaotic quality in his stories. Noting the somewhat jarring discontinuity of some of his plots The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction makes the observation: “…sudden shifts of perspective and rationale and scale are seen as analogous to the movements of a dream.” It’s possible this quality in his writing could be attributed to Van Vogt’s bizarre habit of waking every 90 minutes during the night so that he could write down his dreams and use them in his stories. A habit that he practiced throughout his career.

At any rate, I don’t know much about all of that, I have but one yardstick: are his stories enjoyable? And the answer is, more often than not, yes. This month we’re featuring a pile of Van Vogt’s works we’ve had lying around for sometime now. Combined with what we already have in the SF Paperbacks database, that brings our total to 23 books by Van Vogt! You can view them all by checking out our Van Vogt author page, and check out each of the newly added books here:

The Book of Van Vogt
Masters of Time
Mission: Interplanetary
The Silkie
The Voyage of the Space Beagle
The Weapon Shops of Isher


October 25, 2012

Collected Writings

Treasury of Science Fiction
Groff Conklin’s Treasury of Science
an early hard cover
anthology that appeared at
the beginning of the anthology
boom in the late 1940s.

We’ve written before about how reading short story anthologies is one of the best ways to quickly get to know classic science fiction. Featuring a variety of stories and authors, typically culled from otherwise forgotten pulp magazines (but sometimes containing original works), they are often the only way of acquiring some of those stories once published in that fragile medium. With those magazines rapidly deteriorating or disappearing into private collector’s possession, it’s only getting harder to find those old stories. Fortunately many of those stories — at least the very best and finest — have been preserved in the more durable medium of books. And, while many of the largest and most significant anthologies have appeared in hard cover, paperbacks can’t be matched for the sheer number and scope of anthologies produced. This month we’re adding a pile of sf paperback anthologies to our growing collection:

Adventures in Time and Space, edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas
Men Against the Stars, edited by Martin Greenberg
New Worlds of Fantasy, edited by Terry Carr
Now & Beyond
Rulers of Men, edited by Hans Stefan Santesson
Sometime, Never
Space, Time & Crime, edited by Miriam Allen deFord
Star Short Novels, edited by Frederik Pohl
The Other Side of the Moon, edited by August Derleth

And, finally, something especially suitable for Halloween:
The Unexpected, edited by Leo Margulies

And if you’re still hungry for more after you’ve perused all of those, you can see all the sf paperback anthologies in our collection by checking out our dedicated anthologies page.


September 21, 2012

Worlds Upon Worlds

M101 the Pinwheel Galaxy
M101 the Pinwheel Galaxy

Astronomers estimate that our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains anywhere from 100 to 400 billion (that is, 1,000 to 4,000 million) suns and our universe contains some 100 billion galaxies. That’s a whole lot of suns. In fact, if you make a circle with your forefinger and thumb, about the size of a dime, and held it up at arms length to the night sky, within that circle you could view (with sufficient magnification) tens of thousands of galaxies roughly the size of our own. Many of the suns in those galaxies are like our own and likely have their own solar systems. That’s a whole lot of planets. Further, if even the smallest fraction of them are — like our own planet — capable of sustaining life, then that is a whole lot of worlds!

Sadly, the vast stellar distances between these worlds means that you and I will never get to see any of them. Happily, we have the next best thing, science fiction! The wild imaginations of the many masters of science fiction can take us away to impossible, faraway worlds, and to others that are hidden right here on our own. This month we have a world-sized update where we’re featuring books about some of these imaginative worlds. We’ve got brand new worlds, possible and impossible worlds, hidden, owned, drowned, lost, swapped, colliding, starless worlds, even worlds apart, and some of the world’s best worlds:

A Brand New World by Ray Cummings
Of All Possible Worlds by William Tenn
The Impossible World by Eando Binder
Hidden World by Stanton A. Coblentz
He Owned the World by Charles Eric Maine
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
The World Swappers by John Brunner
When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer
World Without Stars by Poul Anderson
Worlds Apart by J.T. McIntosh
The 1977 Annual World’s Best SF edited by Donald A. Wollheim

That’s a total of 12 new (old) worlds for you to explore! We’ve also put together a special page that culls the database for more books about worlds, check it out here: books about worlds. Enjoy!

August 3, 2012

Belmont Doubles

Belmont logo
The Belmont logo.

If you’re a fan of vintage sf paperbacks you undoubtedly know about Ace Doubles which featured two science fiction novels in one book in what was called a tête-bêche, or head-to-toe, format. But did you know that they are not the only publisher to offer two books in one? In the late 60s, the fledgling Belmont Books experimented for a few years with a two novel format in a variety of genres including western, romance, Gothic and, of course, science fiction.

Instead of the back-to-back format that Ace employed, Belmont started out with split-art covers where each novel claimed half of the cover, one on top and one on the bottom. On the inside, rather than the ends meeting in the middle like the Ace Doubles did, the Belmont stories followed one after another like a standard anthology. Later on, the covers featured just a single piece of art under the two titles.

Only about a dozen Belmont science fiction doubles were published before Belmont merged with another publisher and the doubles experiment was ended. In this month’s update we’re featuring a few of these rare books. First, we’ve got an awesome early split-art cover featuring The Flame of Iridar by Lin Carter and Peril of the Starmen by Kris Neville. Next, we’ve got two of the single-artwork covers starting with Lin Carter’s The Thief of Thoth and Frank Belknap Long’s …And Others Shall Be Born, followed by Ladies’ Day and This Crowded Earth both by Robert Bloch (of Psycho fame).


July 1, 2012

John Wood Campbell Junior

The John W. Campbell Conference 2012
Each year, the legacy of John
Campbell is honored with a
conference and memorial award.

Just in time for the annual conference that bears his name, this month’s update features some of the work of the astounding John W. Campbell. Held each year since 1979, The Campbell Conference honors Campbell’s contribution to the world of sf with the John W. Campbell Memorial Award going to the author of the year’s best sf novel. This year’s conference takes place this week from July 5-8 in Lawrence, Kansas.

John Campbell started his career in the 1930s by writing epic adventure tales of super-science meant to rival the popular stories of E.E. “Doc” Smith (more on this is a moment). Later, under the pseudonym Don A. Stuart, he would write stories that would steer science fiction in a more literary direction, inspiring a generation of science fiction’s greatest authors.

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier sf paperbacks update, Campbell’s most enduringly popular story has got to be Who Goes There? This story of doppelganger aliens who wreak mayhem on a group of scientists in a remote Antarctic outpost has been made and remade by Hollywood no less than three times and counting (in 1951, 1982 and again just last October, 2011 — and I’m predicting they’ll do it again in 2041, you heard it here first).

But it was in the 1930s that Campbell first achieved popularity with his aforementioned super-science stories, in particular a series that featured the adventures of a physicist, a mathematician and a reformed pirate named Arcot, Morey and Wade, respectively. Though not his best work — Sam Moskowitz in his book Seekers of Tomorrow described them as “…thousands of words of thrilling action (and many thousand dull words of scientific gobbledygook)…” — the stories helped to establish Campbell as a popular and important young talent.

The original group of Arcot, Morey and Wade short stories were collected together in a book called The Black Star Passes. Later, Campbell added two more book-length stories published as Islands of Space and Invaders from the Infinite. All three, published in paperback by Ace, are now in our collection as of this month’s update.

If that was all he did, his place in the history of science fiction would have been secured, but it is for editing, and not writing, that he is most well known. Taking over the helm of Astonishing Stories in late 1937 (Campbell quickly renamed it Astounding Science Fiction and later on, Analog — still published today), within his first year, Campbell ushered in the Golden Age of science fiction with the discovery of some of the greatest talents in science fiction history including: Isaac Asimov, Lester del Rey, Robert Heinlein, and A.E. Van Vogt.

Browse all 420 books



S T U V W X Y Z #

View books by