Barrington J Bayley

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Barrington J Bayley

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oct. 12, 2008, 3:39 pm

Here's a new wave figure that still rarely gets talked about. One of authors featured in New Worlds magazine under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, along with Ballard & Aldiss and a long time pal from what I've read. But Bayley still seems to fly somewhat under the radar. I find his rethinking of the concepts of genre SF fascinating and have read just about everything he wrote. Anyone else a fan of any of his work?

oct. 12, 2008, 6:32 pm

"Fan" might overstate it, but I've read several of his books and certainly didn't hate them. In fact, I rather liked The Zen Gun.

Given that the most recent book I've seen from him is dated 1985, I'm somewhat surprised to see that his short stories are still appearing in Interzone as recently as 2001.

oct. 12, 2008, 8:21 pm

Well let's modify that to "Anyone else find his work of interest?"

I confess though, I am a fan.

His most recent novel, is a franchise novel for the Warhammer franchise,Eye of Terror has been published since 1985. It's not bad as far as franchise novels go. As good an effort as when KW Jeter writes franchise novels. I enjoyed it. There's a lot of odd stuff in it.

I liked The Zen Gun a great deal as well. It's jam packed with a number of amusingly perverse concepts. What other novels of his have you read?

Editat: oct. 13, 2008, 1:07 am

"Anyone else find his work of interest?"

Oh, sure, I can fully sign on to that.

Umm, I've read Empire of Two Worlds (Ace) and probably most of his eight titles published here by DAW. After twenty years, I'm hard pressed to recall exactly which, except that Zen Gun is the only one I can recall being genuinely impressed with.

(I can recall Garments of Caean, certainly, because it was such an odd premise, but his other DAW titles are all equally familiar to me, but not really evoking anything in particular.)

I recall liking him enough to pick up his collection The Knights of the Limits when I ran across it years later - but, to tell the truth, I don't think I ever read that one.

That's one of the things I love about SF, though - every now and then you hit a book that nobody's ever heard of, but it turns out to be a story that surprises the hell out of you with its sheer inventiveness.

Bayley is one of those authors: his most popular book here on LT is held by all of 61 people.

Editat: oct. 22, 2008, 4:50 pm

Empire of Two Worlds was his third novel I believe. It has some bits of interest, but it's basically "gangsters in space". It took him a while to top his first novel The Star Virus.
Garments of Caean is a very odd premise -I can't think of any other writer who would go about telling a story about armor suit technology as it pertains to fashion. ;)

Knights of the Limits has a number of great stories in it:
"The Bees of Knowledge, "Mutation Planet"-those two really stand out in my mind, but most of them are good.

My personal favorite novel of his is Pillars of Eternity -it's one of my favorite SF novels. He just manages to channel the Van Vogt thing into a wholly unexpected direction ; it's pretty amazing. Just in case you haven't read that one, here's a synopsis on SF that I can't top:

His robot novel The Soul of a Robot I liked a lot. That's currently been reprinted. The sequel Rod of Light, I liked even better. Tons of eyeball kicks and surprises in that one. It would be nice if a reprint of that comes out as well.

"That's one of the things I love about SF, though - every now and then you hit a book that nobody's ever heard of, but it turns out to be a story that surprises the hell out of you with its sheer inventiveness."

That's exactly what I like about SF - and I don't get that from any other kind of reading!

Editat: oct. 16, 2008, 11:51 pm

By way of coincidence with the starting of this topic, Barrington J Bayley has passed away :

Some online obits:

It's a superbummer.
The past two years were all about inhaling this guy's books. I was looking forward to the possibility of at least one more...
Obviously, may he rest in peace...

Editat: oct. 17, 2008, 5:57 am

I recently read Knights of the Limits and thought it was good, but nothing in particular stood out. I have fond memories of The Fall of Chronopolis and Collision with Chronos. Several months ago, I decided to track down and read more of his novels - I've been on a bit of 1970s Brit sf kick this year.

Editat: oct. 23, 2008, 6:39 am

An odd discovery I made a couple of years ago was that the Jason Hyde adventure series in the British comic "Valiant" had been written by Barrington Bayley. (for details,google for "Jason Hyde")

I enjoyed the adventures, particularly the one where he built an impervium-hulled earth borer and discovered a city immersed in magma beneath the earth's crust. They had problems because they'd roofed the city over with false impervium, which would shortly collapse. Turns out our hero's X-ray eyes could tell the difference between real and false impervium and so the city was saved. (How they disposed of waste heat while immersed in molten rock was an exercise left to the reader)

It's so true that the Golden age of Sf is thirteen...

Editat: oct. 24, 2008, 12:33 pm

Here's Micheal Moorcock's comments on his longtime friend and colleague on an Obit BBoard in the forum section of his website:

I don't usually go there, but I knew if I nosed around on that site I'd have to find something eventually.
He says he'll have a memoir in the next issue of LOCUS...