NuWave Nuances
New Wave books that some don't consider sci-fi at all


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Hothouse [vt Long Afternoon of Earth]
by Brian Aldiss (1962)


Aldiss set the stage for the 'New Wave' with this psychedelic far-future tale of evolution gone mad. Conventional hard sci-fi gives way to a huge 'banyan' tree covering one face of the Earth. Incarnations of humans survive - but with the sun nearing nova, they compete with intelligent plants, insects and fungi for space. Cutting edge Aldiss.





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The Drowned World
by J G Ballard (1962)


Ballard was the New Wave master of post-disaster surrealism. This one kicked off a trio of books on the theme, which also includes The Burning World (1964) and The Crystal World (1966). Drowned sees solar activity melt the polar ice caps, turning cities into swamps in the process. A group sets out to discover their distant past.





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The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch
by Philip K Dick (1964)


Con-man Palmer Eldritch plays god when he peddles new immortality drug Chew-Z. Users are transported into another dimension where all their wishes are fulfilled - all while Earth time stands still. The catch, however, is that Eldritch gets to be god in everyone's private universe. 'Out-there' stuff from the somewhat troubled mind of a now-legendary sci-fi writer.





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Lord of Light
by Roger Zelazny (1967)


Zelazny's finest novel focuses on a starship crew that takes over a colony world and becomes technologically-enhanced Hindu 'gods'. Mind-transfers and cloning keep it all humming along nicely until a retired god throws a karmic dose of Buddhism into the mix. Despite the deity war that ensues - just the tonic for the Summer of Love.





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Camp Concentration
by Thomas Disch (1968)


One of the first conventional SF writers to take up the New Wave mantle. US Army armaments researchers experiment on political prisoners, turning them into geniuses. The catch is that the drug used to do it kills them within months. The prisoners revolt and there's a lot of body-swapping. Told as a series of journal entries. Serious sci-fi.





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Slaughterhouse 5
by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)


Autobiographical hero Billy Pilgrim is deeply affected by his WWII experiences as a POW during the fire-bombing of Dresden. Consequently, he ends up time-travelling between Dresden, a typically meaningless upper-middle class existence, and the planet Tralfamadore where he is a zoo display. Darkly comic work of pure genius.





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The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth
by Roger Zelazny (1971)


Zelazny was one of a small handful of American writers to contribute to New Worlds, with many others slow to warm to the New Wave or denying its existence altogether. The standout stories in this collection are the eponymous 'The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth' and the haunting 'A Rose for Ecclesiastes'. Zelazny with zip.





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To Your Scattered Bodies Go
by Philip José Farmer (1971)


The first book in Farmer's popular Riverworld series. Humanity has been mysteriously resurrected on a world where the central feature is a seemingly endless river. A Victorian adventurer sets out to discover its source and find out more about his new existence. Full of all the gratuitous sex and violence which are PJF's trademarks.


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