Fred Pohl, at The Way the Future Blogs, has a nice reminiscence of Cyril Kornbluth. Kornbluth has become unfashionable, maybe permanently so, even among the few who still remember his work, but I’ve always liked his stuff. For instance, I think The Syndic is the greatest work of social sf to come out of the Fifties–maybe out of any decade. And the genetics of “The Marching Morons” (see in that story, its predecessor “The Little Black Bag” and the Pohl/Kornbluth collaboration Search the Sky) may be all wrong (and when I say “may be” I mean they are), but the complaint about the dumbing down and coarsening of public life still packs some emotional punch. His best story is the horrifyingly pessimistic but strangely not-unhopeful “Shark Ship”.
I didn’t know (until I saw FP’s blog-post) that CK had worked as first reader for F&SF where he discovered, among other things, Fritz Leiber’s The Silver Eggheads.
Of course, the late sf writer everyone is talking about today is J.G. Ballard–indeed a sad loss. I was not too crazy about his novels (except for Empire of the Sun; and I admit I never even looked at Crash), but I was crazy about his crazy stories–e.g. “The Drowned Giant” or “The Assassination of JFK as a Downhill Race”, etc. The satisfactions aren’t exactly like reading stories–more like reading poetry where the words seem meaningful, but the meaning is just out of reach. Not comfort reads, by any means, but not everything should be.