Spectrum, issued in hardback in 1961 by Victor Gollancz under one of the publisher's iconic yellow dust jackets, and bought by me in first edition back in November 2011 at the same Bloomsbury Book Fair – and indeed from the same dealer – as the similarly jacketed first of Anthony Price's October Men (which will give you an indication of how long some of the multitudinous books on my "to be blogged about" shelves have been awaiting my blogging attention). It's an anthology of SF tales by the likes of Frederik Pohl, Clifford D. Simak and Robert Heinlein, selected by Amis and Conquest, and with an introduction – obliquely referencing New Maps of Hell – which starts off as a robust rebuttal of ill-informed criticisms of science fiction – drawing the analogy that "a useful qualification for reviewing a book on Georgian cutlery is the ability to tell a knife from a fork" – only to turn into almost an apology for its inadequacies, especially as regards characterization (or lack thereof). Although as my learned friend Olman argues in his review, that perceived deficiency is, by and large, borne out by the stories themselves.
Amis and Conquest would go on to edit a further four Spectrum anthologies for Gollancz throughout the 1960s. But they also collaborated on a novel:
The Egyptologists, published in hardback by Jonathan Cape in 1965, bought by me in first in Hall's Bookshop, Tunbridge Wells either last year or the year before – or maybe even the year before that; I genuinely can't remember (see above re: the length of time it takes me to to get round to blogging about some of these bloody books). The situationist-style jacket design is by Jan Pienkowski, who also designed the Richard Chopping-referencing wrapper for Amis's The James Bond Dossier (Cape, 1965), not to mention, while we're on the subjects of Fleming and Cape, the dust jacket of John Pearson's The Life of Ian Fleming (1966). Kirkus describes The Egyptologists as a "long legpull" and "nonsense", but there's a more favourable – and lengthier – review over at Mystery*File.
Next in the series of posts on Kingsley Amis, I'll probably have a posthumously published work of linguistic pitfalls and pronunciation...