Joachim Boaz over at Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations has asked several of his blogging friends to review the books of Michael Bishop. Joachim explores the 1960s and 1970s looking for intellectual and philosophical science fiction books to review. He especially loves their covers – that’s how I got hooked on his site – and collects them into visual themes.
Joachim invited me to contribute to his Michael Bishop reviews and I reviewed Brittle Innings, a rather strange novel about a 1943 minor league baseball team playing in rural Georgia one very hot summer. The story is a lovely historical novel set during WWII, that shows a love of baseball, a literary feel for the south, and a fondness for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In Bishop’s literary fantasy, the monster lives and ends up as a big ugly slugger playing for the Highbridge Hellbenders as Hank “Jumbo” Clerval, but the story is really about a seventeen-year-old boy from Oklahoma, Danny “Dumbo” Boles, that gets a chance to play semi-pro ball because he’s too young for the draft. Hank plays first base, and Danny plays short stop, and together they achieve minor fame as Dumbo and Jumbo.
Michael Bishop wrote over a dozen novels from 1975-1994 that got a good deal of attention in the science fiction and fantasy genre, including winning a Nebula for No Enemy But Time (1982) and a Locus Award for Brittle Innings (1994). No Enemy But Time was chosen for the book Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels by David Pringle. It also made my Classics of Science Fiction list.
Joachim feels younger readers need to be introduced to Bishop’s work, and thus the series of guest reviews. I’m very glad I read and reviewed Brittle Innings because it makes me want to go read more Michael Bishop.
JWH – 4/23/14