70s SciFi Revisited

Today, for #SciFiMonth, I want to talk about some of my favourite scifi books from years gone by. In fact, two series by an author you just might have heard of, but probably have never read.

Brian M. Stableford — The British-born Stableford has written well over 50+ novels, but I want to highlight two of his earlier series from 70s that, for me at least, epitomised the kind of science fiction being written back then, in the seventies.

Let’s start with the HOODED SWAN series.

After years of surviving in his wrecked ship on an unnamed, desolate world, Grainger is charged for the cost of his rescue and finds himself unable to pay. Salvation comes when he is indentured as pilot of the revolutionary starship Hooded Swan and thrust into a series of gripping adventures in the service of New Alexandria. With only his wits and the not entirely reliable help of an alien mind parasite to call upon, in each novel Grainger and the Hooded Swan are pitted against a new puzzle or menace. And all the time he is paying off his fine, bit by bit, until he can call himself a free man again.

  • Halcyon Drift (1972)
  • Rhapsody in Back (1973)
  • Promised Land (1974)
  • The Paradise Game (1974)
  • The Fenris Drive (1974)
  • Swan Song (1975)

The DAEDALUS MISSION, in which a research ship is sent out to find out what’s happened to a number of colony ships and their passengers—sent out between 100 to 200 years earlier—sets up a series of adventures for the mostly scientific crew of seven, on these newly developed worlds. And all is not as it should be as the crew of the Daedalus find out.

  • The Florians (1976)
  • Critical Threshold (1977)
  • Wildeblood’s Empire (1977)
  • The City of the Sun (1978)
  • Balance of Power (1979)
  • The Paradox of the Sets (1979)

What can I say, these read like serialised action adventures, with the erstwhile reluctant hero of the Hooded Swan series—Grainger—being aided and abetted by an alien parasite that lived deep inside his brain. While, Alex (yes, my namesake) heads up the scientists investigating what has happened to the six colonies.

Of course, looking back at both series, the cover art was true to form for the 70s, colourful and wildly suggestive. The Hooded Swan series kept to a theme of a spaceship which was in keeping with the theme, while the Daedalus series covers did—for the most part—at least, reflect the various stories being told. 

It’s fun to look back now and think ‘wow, how did anyone think to pick these books up, let alone read them.’ Well, I did. 

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