Tag Archives: 1950s

Updates: Kate Wilhelm (June 8, 1928-March 8, 2018)

(My Kate Wilhelm collection)

Today I learned on twitter that Kate Wilhelm passed away on March 8th. A sadness has descended far more than I thought it would for someone I’ve never met…. But the intimate activity of reading always casts an entrancing net of familiarity with the creation and creator. If she’s new to you, I recommend her most famous Hugo- and Nebula-winning fix-up novel Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976)–I’ve linked ta review from my friend Admiral Ironbombs. I’d returned to the novel myself over the last week in audiobook form on my drive to work. It’s as powerful and unsettling as I remember it from my first read-through as a teen somewhere between 2006 and 2008.

As frequent readers of my site might know, she is one of my favorite authors—especially in short story (novella) form–her short story collection The Downstairs Room and Other Speculative Fiction (1968) is required SF reading. My favorite short fiction includes the Nebula-nominated “Baby, You Were Great!” (1967) and the Nebula-Award winning “The Planners” (1968). They are entrancing, Continue reading Updates: Kate Wilhelm (June 8, 1928-March 8, 2018)

Adventures in Science Fiction and Fantasy Art: Women SF Illustrators of the 1960s/70s, Part V: The Eerie Figures of Marcela Cordescu

(Marcela Cordescu’s cover for the 1969 edition of Thaïs din Infern (1969), Alexandru Forje)

The Romanian graphic artist Marcela Cordescu produced a fascinating series of SFF covers from the 1950s-70s.  For more on her consult this short article (most resources are in Romanian unfortunately). Many of her covers graced editions of Vladimir Colin’s (her husband) SFF works. I came across her eerie figures researching the publication history of the French SF author Gérard Klein—a collection of his short stories appeared in Romania with a Cordescu cover in 1973 (below). Her cover for the 1969 edition of Alexandru Forje‘s Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction and Fantasy Art: Women SF Illustrators of the 1960s/70s, Part V: The Eerie Figures of Marcela Cordescu

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Philippe Curval’s 1950s Photo Collages, Part II

(January 1957)

Part II of my series on Philippe Curval’s SF art–check out Part I first if you haven’t already. In Part I, I included only his covers from 1956, his most productive year for the French SF magazine Fiction. In this post I include the rest of his 50s work, seven covers published between 1957-59. Curval published SF more and more as the 1950s progressed and I suspect writing was more lucrative than art….

This selection includes what I find to be his most disturbing and evocative cover–Fiction 47. Cyclopean imagery combines with odd textures and hair-like growths. I am partial to SF covers that explore skin, mutation, hands, heads, growths, eyes, etc…. And speaking of disquieting Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Philippe Curval’s 1950s Photo Collages, Part II

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Philippe Curval’s 1950s Photo Collages, Part I

(February 1956)

In celebration of the French SF author and artist Philippe Curval’s birthday, I’ve curated a collection of his covers. Between 1956 and 1959 he produced eighteen (there could be others that I’ll have to identify based on style) fascinating photo collages for the main French SF magazine Fiction. They often blend pulp SF stylings with otherworldly insectoid imagery (Fiction 27, 31, 35). In other instances surrealist touches interrupt a more realistic artistic styles (Fiction 28, 33).

My absolute favorite December 1956 (Fiction 37) presages Cronenberg’s iconic television scene in Videodrome (1981) by a quarter century Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Philippe Curval’s 1950s Photo Collages, Part I

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVIII (Heinlein + Tenn + Wyndham + Bell)

1. My friend Mike sent this to me…. of dubious quality to say the least. But, O my, the cover!

2. Tell me again why I continue to buy Robert Heinlein paperbacks? Why in the world did I read SO MANY OF HIS BOOKS as a kid? Some of life’s persistent questions….

3. John Wyndham short fiction—or rather, a fix-up novel of sorts–with a co-writer. Did not realize any of his work was co-written…. Has anyone read it?

4. William Tenn’s short fiction collection is by far the most appealing of the bunch—his stories always have me chortling with laughter.  For example, The Human Angle (1956) and Of Men and Monsters (1968)

1. Gone To Be Snakes Now, Neal Bell (1974)

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVIII (Heinlein + Tenn + Wyndham + Bell)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVI (Wyndham + Conway + Brown + Wright)

Post-PhD job takes over… and books are not reviewed. But reading and buying still happens!

1. A supposed cult classic republished by Picador Press….. Has anyone read Smallcreep’s Day (1965)? Near the top of my “to read” pile. And I love Barbara Costall’s cover.

2. Early in the year I reviewed Conway’s short story “Mindship” (1971) in Universe 1 (1971), ed. Terry Carr. It was pretty solid. I tracked down the novel version which included the short as the prologue.

3. I was obsessed with Austin Tappan Wright’s Islandia (1942) as a kid. Not with the novel per se, which I never owned, but the lengthy and descriptive entry in Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi’s spectacular (and wonder inducing) The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (1987). And of course, the idea of  Wright slowly creating an imaginary world that could exist within our own and only “discovered” after his death resonated with a young me…

I’ve included the map from the entry in The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

4. And finally, another John Wyndham novel… although the premise sounds downright bland and trite. But then again, I still have not read a lot of his work and I know he was a formative voice in SF.

~

1. Smallcreep’s Day, Peter Currell Brown (1965)

(Barbara Costall’s cover for the 1973 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXVI (Wyndham + Conway + Brown + Wright)

Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 3 (Aldous Huxley + Soviet SF + Cyberpunk nightmares + et al.)

My third installment (earlier ones here) of Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere… Be sure to check out the reviews linked from other amazing sites (and subscribe to them). And, as always, there are some fascinating covers to behold!

Go forth and read!

(Uncredited cover–Michael Hooks?–for the 1964 edition)

1. Mike White posts an earlier review of Aldous Huxley’s Ape and Essence (1948). Let’s just say I can’t wait to review the book myself.

From his review:

“Huxley’s not offering hopeful alternatives; we’re doomed by our essential nature. As a work of post-apocalyptic fiction, the book is a powerful exploration of the relationship between science and civilization that has brought humanity to the brink of near-total annihilation.”

2. Guy, a frequent commenter on this site and Continue reading Updates: Links from the Vintage SF Blogsphere No. 3 (Aldous Huxley + Soviet SF + Cyberpunk nightmares + et al.)