Category Archives: books

Witness to Myself, by Seymour Shubin

One of the reasons I’ve sought out and read so many Hard Case Crime books is the introduction to quality authors who have, over time, faded into obscurity. The online footprint of Seymour Shubin (1921-2014), for instance, lacks a dedicated … Continue reading

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The Sour Lemon Score, by Donald Westlake (as Richard Stark)

The twelfth entry in Westlake’s Parker series, The Sour Lemon Score (1969) is also the last of the “Score” books to debut as a Gold Medal paperback. The “sour lemon” choice for the title (assuming it was the author’s choice … Continue reading

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The Getaway Car, by Donald Westlake

This post is not a review in the traditional sense, because I typically don’t like to write opinion articles about nonfiction books. Given that the Gaping Blackbird has been increasingly distracted by All Things Westlake, and that I’ve been poking … Continue reading

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I Speak for Earth, by John Brunner

During the early phase of his career, SF author John Brunner produced a large number of manuscripts to be published as Ace paperbacks. He gained a reputation for giving life to new and futuristic ideas during the early 1960s, before … Continue reading

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“Gift of Gab” and “Rumfuddle” by Jack Vance

Wrapping up my three-part overview of Chateau d’If and Other Stories, the Underwood-Miller collection of Jack Vance pieces, this article covers the two best-crafted entries: “Gift of Gab” and “Rumfuddle.” Both are novellas, but unlike “Chateau d’If” they both feature … Continue reading

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“Chateau d’If” by Jack Vance

Continuing with the Underwood-Miller collection Chateau d’If and Other Stories, we take a look at the title story, a novella originally published as “New Bodies For Old” in 1950, in the serial Thrilling Wonder Stories. As with many other Vance … Continue reading

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“Abercrombie Station” and “Cholwell’s Chickens”, by Jack Vance

More famous for his many series of SF and fantasy novels, Jack Vance was also a prolific writer of short fiction. The two early 1950s novellas described here feature the same female protagonist, a daring and surprisingly remorseless teenager named … Continue reading

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The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner

Not long ago I sang the praises of John Brunner’s large SF novel Stand on Zanzibar,¬†which has maintained a reputation over the years as a classic of dystopian literature. It constructed a detailed world from many speculations about social, political … Continue reading

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The Black Ice Score, by Donald Westlake (as Richard Stark)

The eleventh novel in the famous Parker series, The Black Ice Score (1968) once again features the inventive criminal on a well-planned burglary with a messy and violent aftermath. This time, however, he is hired as a consultant and stays … Continue reading

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Quarry’s Deal, by Max Allan Collins

NOTE: This review is of the third book in the Quarry series, which has been reprinted by Hard Case Crime. It is about a free-living professional hit-man of the 1970s, told in the first person. Although the Quarry titles look … Continue reading

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