(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1970 edition of You Will Never Be The Same (1963), Cordwainer Smith)
“Now I shall tell of the city of Zenobia, which is wonderful in this fashion: though set on dry terrain it stands on high pilings, the houses are of bamboo and zinc, with many platforms and balconies placed on stilts at various heights, crossing one another, linked by ladders and hanging sidewalks, surmounted by cone-roofed belvederes, barrels storing water, weather vanes, jutting pulleys, and fishpoles and cranes” — Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities, 1972, pg. 35)
(Diane and Leon Dillon’s cover for the 1971 edition of One Million Tomorrows (1971), Bob Shaw)
One Million Tomorrows (1971) is the second of Bob Shaw’s science fiction novels I’ve read. The first, Ground Zero Man (1971), suffered from an extreme case of grating melodrama which weakened the insightful central message — the ever evolving danger (and nature) of nuclear war.
(David Hardy’s cover for the November 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
I couldn’t stop laughing while putting together this post from my collection of gleaned covers: gumby in space with two fuzzy tufts and three unsymmetrical eye ridges (or, his fingers) ogling at a space probe, mushroom people transfixed by a mysterious white tentacled orb hoisted aloft by man in a pink cape and a skimpy pink unitard, evil nosed caterpillars, scary monstrous mole monster, etc. Did the editors KNOW precisely what the art looked like before it appeared on the covers evoking such throat hurting unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences? But, I have to admit there’s nothing like a cool (and funny alien) to make me pick up a book or magazine.
As always, what are your favorite funny alien covers which I haven’t posted?
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1953 edition of Space, Space, Space (1953), ed. William Sloane)
Our science fiction heroes are often confronted by bleak alien landscapes adorned with rocks, vast deserts, adverse atmospheres — commonly these vistas are traversed, colonized, tamed… Spaceships touch down on virgin surfaces, the explorers tentatively step forward, aliens peer from the distance. When settlements are built the alien vista remains an ever present source of fear and fascination. The depiction of a convincingly bleak alien landscape (think Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune) can be of paramount importance in conveying not only otherworldliness but the backdrop for human drama and the challenges our heroes must overcome (by technology or other Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Bleak Alien Landscapes→
Harry Harrison and Gordon R. Dickson’s The Lifeship (1976) is two parts tense and exciting adventure in the expanse of space and one part half-hearted “key differences between individuals are overcome in the end” attempts at social commentary. I found the first two-thirds of the work riveting. Sadly, the final third devolves into a ramshackle and unpleasant mixture of save the world formulae and endless exposition at gunpoint about all the nefarious nooks and crannies of each and every plan, counter-plan, potential plan, half-realized plan, and unrealized plan soon to be fomented in the liminal realm of coalescing Continue reading Book Review: The Lifeship, Harry Harrison and Gordon R. Dickson (1976)→
(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the the 1962 edition of Next Stop The Stars (1962), Robert Silverberg)
While browsing through my rapidly growing collection of cover images on my computer I couldn’t stop laughing at the hilarious robots that pop up every now and then. From evil looking R2D2s (with legs) to multi-handed flying death robots with unfortunate double smiley faces! Oh, and the crying rescue robot….