Tag Archives: avant-garde

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 Cover Art: The Recumbent Figures and Constructing Cities of Alberto Cavallari

(Alberto Cavallari’s cover for 1972 edition (Galassia 178) of the anthology The Dark of the Soul (1970), ed. Don Ward)

As my 60s/70s Italian SF art explorations continue on both my site (here and here) and on twitter (@SFRuminations), I’ve come to the conclusion that Italy’s SF easily ranks among the most appealing (at least to me) graphic explorations of the dynamic genre. For most fans of SF art, one name will immediately spring to mind (in part because he created a few covers for American editions)—the masterful Karel Thole. However, I am increasingly impressed by less known Italian artists brought in for shorter periods of time by the Italian press Galassia. This post will focus on one of those figures—Alberto Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Recumbent Figures and Constructing Cities of Alberto Cavallari

Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXIX (Ballard + Tennant + Guin + Anthology)

The move into my first house—with my ridiculous quantity of books—is nearly complete….

1. ….and so is my collection of 60s and 70s J. G. Ballard!

2. Currently reading this peculiar Emma Tennant vision… My third of her books — I never got around to reviewing Hotel de Dream (1976) as I grew disenchanted with the second half but thoroughly enjoyed The Crack (variant title: The Time of the Crack) (1973).

3. Not personally a huge fans of sports but enjoy when SF authors (for example Robert Sheckley, Barry N. Malzberg, and George Elec Effinger) take on future sport… A perfect topic for satirical commentary and sinister undercurrents….

4. I while ago I read and thoroughly enjoyed Wyman Guin’s short story collection Living Way Out (variant title: Beyond Bedlam) (1967). I found this in a thrift story for less than a 1$ so it ended up on my shelf.

Thoughts?

1. Concrete Island, J. G. Ballard (1974)

(Richard Clifton-Dey’s cover for the 1976 edition) Continue reading Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXIX (Ballard + Tennant + Guin + Anthology)

Book Review: The Bodyguard, Adrian Mitchell (1970)

(Roger Phillips’ cover for the 1972 edition)

3.5/5 (Good)

“[Lens] Rossman’s narrative is both single-minded and rambling, a tangle of facts and fantasies, distorted sexuality, obscured dates, anti-feminism, glorified brutality and narcissism” (153).

Adrian Mitchell’s sole SF novel The Bodyguard (1970) is a perverse romp through a diseased England viewed through the eyes of an equally diseased narrator. Lens Rossman’s deathbed ramblings of his “adventures” and “training” as a B.G. (bodyguard) in his fight against “The Rot” spread by leftist subverts, is, as the “editor” of the narrative indicates in a hilarious afterword, “a tangle of facts and fantasies” and “glorified brutality” (153). Mitchell presents Rossman’s account as a ghastly artifact of a pre-revolutionary era while simultaneously suggesting that the excess Continue reading Book Review: The Bodyguard, Adrian Mitchell (1970)

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