1. I recently proclaimed my fascination with sports-related SF (despite my general lack of interest in sports) in my review of William Harrison’s “Roller Ball Murder” (1973)… A few of my blog friends have favorably reviewed Gary K. Wolf’s Killerbowl (1975) — couldn’t resist buying a copy online.
I reviewed Wolf’s The Resurrectionist (1979) last year.
2. An anthology edited by Robert Silverberg filled with a veritable horde of great authors–Ursula Le Guin, Terry Carr, R. A. Lafferty, James Triptree, Jr…..
3. A family friend sent me a large box of science fiction paperbacks, which arrived on my doorstep while I was hiking in the Adirondacks—I’ll be posting them slowly. Some I’d purchase if I’d encountered them in a used book stores, others I’d avoid… All greatly appreciated!
And goodness me does this Simak novel have a stunning Richard Powers cover!
4. Part of the gift–Mack Reynolds. Hmm. I am always weirdly excited about opening his books only to discover shoddy plots, half-baked political philosophy, and a few fun ideas hidden in forgotten corners…. At first glance, this fix-up novel reminds me of Rick Raphael’s slice of life novel Code Three (1967).
As always. thoughts and comments are welcome.
Note: Images are hi-res scans of my personal copies.
1. Killerbowl, Gary K. Wolf (1975)
(Steve Marcesi’s cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading →
I had a choice, one of the worst SF covers I have ever seen vs. a standard Richard Powers cover. Despite my undying Powers love, I chose the worst (weird white face bathed in purple/pink strangeness)…. you know…. a conversation starter? As I have read little of Simak’s non-novel SF, I was quite happy to I come across one of his collections at the local bookstore.
Ward Moore’s 1953 alt-history classic fetches quite the price online. Perhaps due to a renewed interest as it was recently published in the Gollancz Masterwork series. Regardless, I found a 70s edition (alas, a bland cover) for a few dollars. I’ve been listening to his humorous satire of salesmen Greener Than You Think (1947) as an ebook while at the gym and thought I’d give his most famous novel a go…
My Universe anthology series grows and grows–and, this one contains authors new to me, including Howard Waldrop, F. M. Busby, and Lee Killough.
Thoughts/comments welcome! I doubt many will support my choice of picking the hideous cover over Powers, but, I can submit a picture of it to our esteemed purveyor of trash covers, Good Show, Sir!
1. Bring the Jubilee, Ward Moore (1953)
(Jeff Jones’ cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading →
(Cover for the 1967 edition of vol. 1 of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1965), Robert A. Heinlein)
The Portuguese painter and illustrator Lima de Freitas (1927-1998) created a vast number of covers for the Portuguese press Livros do Brasil. For more on the range of art he produced in his career consult his wikipedia page [here].
A while back I reviewed Mordecai Roshwald’s Level 7 (1959) and discovered de Freitas’ amazing cover (below). More than any of the US editions, it evokes the claustrophobic tone of the novel (and even some of the surreal elements).
As the son of two architects, architecturally inclined SF covers always fascinate. Thus, as an introduction to his art (if you do not know it already) I have collected a handful of his cityscapes. They are surreal masterpieces. Lima de Freitas’ covers emphasize the city as a canvas, the textures of human Continue reading →
(Cover for Galassia #97, January 1969)
Two of my recent Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art posts fit (retroactively) into a linked post series on women SF illustrators from the 1960s/70s—which includes The Diagrammatic Minimalism of Ann Jonas and Donald Crews and Haunting Landscapes and Cityscapes: The 1970s Italian SF Art of Allison A.K.A. Mariella Anderlini. This post is a continuation of the latter and explores the twelve covers Alison created for Galassia in 1969 that showcase her vivid creativity.
Galassia was one of the primary Italian SF publications for most of the 1960s (consult Michael Ashley’s Transformations: The Story of the Science-fiction Magazines from 1950-1970, 311) and introduced translations of English-language Continue reading →
(Cover for the 1973 edition of The City in the Sea (1951), Wilson Tucker)
Mariella Anderlini, under the pseudonym Allison, produced a vast number of surreal and masterful SF covers (between 1969-1988) primarily for the Italian SF publisher Libra Editrice. Apparently, she went under the pseudonym to avoid damaging her professional painting career. She was the wife of Ugo Malaguti, editor and author, who founded Libra Editrice and edited Galassia.
As I celebrate the birthdays of a range of SF authors/illustrators/editors from multiple language traditions on twitter (@SFRuminations), I came across Allison’s work while researching her husband’s untranslated SF output. However, only through the diligent research of a twitter follower, whose Italian is far better than mine, were we able to come across her real name.
A reader on twitter sent me two Italian articles for more details (they are scanty) about her life and SF art: “Libra Editrice: ascess e caduta di un impero” and “Nova SF.”
And her art is absolutely gorgeous…. Her work enters the pantheon of my favorite SF cover Continue reading →
(Cover for the 1965 edition of All Flesh is Grass (1965), Clifford D. Simak)
On twitter I like to highlight the birthdays of often lesser known SF artists and authors—and today is Emanuel Schongut’s birthday! The 1960s SF covers of Emanuel Schongut (b. 1936) demonstrate an eye for the simple form, the surrealist twist, the optical trick…. In 2012 I compiled a list of my favorite fifteen (as of then) SF covers [here]—although I suspect some of the list would change, his cover for the 1966 edition of Watchers of the Dark (1966) [below] by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. would retain its privileged place.
Although few of the other covers rise to the heights of Watchers of the Dark, some of his others from the 1960s still transfix and leave haunting impressions! For example, Continue reading →
I was kindly asked by Andrea over at The Little Red Reviewer to submit an article for SF Signal’s Mind Meld feature (she is also one of their editors). Along with a cross section of other bloggers/authors and the like, I discussed the range and variety an author’s less famous backlist might have and how it can be a minefield of unrealized potential and financial obligations (think of what John Brunner was writing in the same year as Stand on Zanzibar!). I wrote about Barry N. Malzberg [original link here]—I am the last contributor.
For those who do not visit SF Signal I have decided to put it on my site as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Tim White’s cover for the 1979 edition
Backlists can be unnerving places. Like the vibrations of residual sounds that gather across the urban landscape in Ballard’s “The Sound-Sweep” (1960), the lists themselves resonate both discordant and dulcet—a deluge of aborted passions, financial desires, experimental tendencies not yet crystalline. Although Clifford D. Simak might produce a Cosmic Engineers (1950), he also invoked a most extraordinary allegorical worldscape in Why Call Them Back from Heaven? (1967) where the promise of immortality (undelivered) causes irrevocable transformations—the living live through life without living waiting for a resurrection where they can finally live. Robert Silverberg might shift entirely, as if on whim, from old-fashioned SF adventure where young Heinlein-esque space boys look for those “cool artifacts that do great things” in Across a Billion Years (1969) to The Man in the Maze (1969), a restless and uneasy rumination on pariahism and filled with delusions of self-martyrdom and all those other uncomfortable emotions we try so Continue reading →
More Simak! More Philip José Farmer Farmer! And two unknown qualities, Harness’ collection The Rose (1955) and Sydney van Scyoc’s Saltflower (1971)…
And three of the the covers for this collection are top-notch—two Powers’ gems and a wonderful Lehr “cityscape.”
1. Saltflower, Sydney Van Scyoc (1971)
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition) Continue reading →
(Leo and Diane Dillon’s cover for the 1970 edition)
4.5/5 (Very Good)
I have found that the most successful science fiction novels on the theme of immortality are not about the immortals themselves or the state of “being immortal.” Novels like Raymond Z. Gallun’s The Eden Cycle (1974) might attempt to convey, at moments effectively, the ennui of an endless existence with endless possibilities but, as with mind of the immortal in question, the reader too feels the effects of endless, repetitive inundation. Rather, the most successful and evocative novels — for example James Gunn’s The Immortals (1962) — explore the social space that is created by the presence of immortals although they might be only peripheral characters. Simak’s Why Call Them Back From Heaven? (1967) takes Gunn’s premise a step further: What would happen to our society if almost everyone bought into the idea that immortality would be a real possibility sometime in the future? Continue reading →