Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Elevated Cities Part II

(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)

Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities has a choice place on my living room bookshelf next to various Saramago and Pynchon novels.  Whenever I pick it up I’m immediately immersed in intense nostalgia, I see my father reading it on the sofa, I remember paging Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Elevated Cities Part II

Book Review: One Million Tomorrows (variant title: 1 Million Tomorrows), Bob Shaw (1971)

(Diane and Leon Dillon’s cover for the 1971 edition of One Million Tomorrows (1971), Bob Shaw)

3/5 (Average)

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.

One Million Tomorrows attempts, in a dubious manner, to tackle another standard trope — immortality.  That is, immortality with a catch, the sterilization and complete loss of sexual drive of all men who take the drug.  Women, on the other-hand, become ageless and maintain whatever level of sexual desire they had when they took the Continue reading Book Review: One Million Tomorrows (variant title: 1 Million Tomorrows), Bob Shaw (1971)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Tufted Gumby Aliens and Mushroom People

(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?

I’ve read a few of Vance’s novels so I’ll probably pick up The Eyes of the Overworld Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Tufted Gumby Aliens and Mushroom People

Update: Another Wonderful Sci-fi Review Blog

   

Michael (2theD), one of my friends whose reviews on Amazon I’ve been compulsively reading, has just started a review blog (on blogspot) called the Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature.

(the titles above are a small sample of the works Continue reading Update: Another Wonderful Sci-fi Review Blog

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Bleak Alien Landscapes

(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

Book Review: The Lifeship, Harry Harrison and Gordon R. Dickson (1976)

3.5/5 (Good)

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)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Funny Robots

Unless those arms extend the robot's only use will be to run over people -- which it's about to do.

(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….

If I were in the robot designing business I’d conjure up a robot that could cry — a good use of time — as useful as Data with his emotion chip talking to his tricorder or finally understanding jokes: “Geordi: The Farpoint mission? Data, that was seven years ago. Data: I know! I just got it! Very Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Funny Robots