Friday, October 24, 2008

Aaron's Book of the Week :: The Star Virus by Barrington J. Bayley

The Star VirusThe Book of the Week is The Star Virus by Barrington J. Bayley, in honor of Mr. Bayley, who passed away last week at the age of 71.

Barrington Bayley was a British writer, part of the "New Wave" who wrote regularly for New Worlds magazine in the 1960's and 70's. His output tapered off after the mid-1980's, but he continued to publish occasionally into the 21st Century. Bayley was a very talented writer and his work, while never terribly successful commercially, was influential on many of his better known contemporaries such as J.G. Ballard, M. John Harrison and Michael Moorcock, who called Bayley "the most interesting SF writer of his generation."

Published in 1970, The Star Virus was the first of Barrington Bayley's sixteen novels. It is a space opera featuring a rather cynical and impulsive starship captain. The Book of the Week is the paperback original, published as half of an Ace Double, with cover by famed artist Kelly Freas. The other half of this Ace Double is Mask of Chaos by John Jakes, who wrote quite a lot of pulpish science fiction and fantasy (notably the Brak the Barbarian sequence) before finding much greater success with historical novels like The Bastard and North and South.

Next week's Book of the Week will be my favorite Barrington Bayley novel.


Anonymous said...

The author's name Barrington J. Bayley is in really small print on the book cover. Was that normal for Ace Doubles?

Aaron Hughes said...

That's a good observation. I've just looked through a bunch of my old Ace books, and many of them (although not all) have the author's name in very small print.

It is odd that Ace did that. Ace often printed numerous books by the same authors -- you would think they would have tried to build up name recognition for those authors. Apparently Ace was more interested in promoting its own brand name than any particular writers.