On the same day that Kit Reed died, we also learned of the death of Harvey Jacobs, also, it would seem, from a brain tumor. He was 87.
Jacobs was a writer mostly known for his comic satires of near-future urban American life. Beautiful Soup, for instance, tells the story of an ordinary man who is accidentally imprinted with the barcode of a tin of soup, and as a consequence loses his official identity. The comic consequences of a little man coming up against the might of a cold and impersonal society is also at the heart of Side Effects, in which the protagonist is given a wonder drug that has bizarre and unexpected side effects, consequently he is given another wonder drug which has a new set of side effects, so he needs yet another new drug, and so on. In the end he becomes a threat to the pharmaceutical industry and so faces execution. The often bawdy wit of Jacobs is also evident in his non-sf novel, American Goliath, about a 19th century American who set out to prove that there had once been giants on the Earth.
Jacobs’s black humour is often best displayed in his short stories, a regular feature in, for instance, New Worlds magazine, which have been gathered in two collections, The Egg of the Glak and My Rose & My Glove.
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder.
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.