My “to review” pile is growing and my memory of them is fading… hence short—far less analytical—reviews.
1. The Lights in the Sky Are Stars, Fredric Brown (1953)
(Mitchell Hooks’ cover for the 1955 edition)
Frederic Brown’s The Lights in the Sky are Stars (1953) is a slick 1950s vision of the fanatical men and women who take America by the scruff of the neck and yank it, without letting the law get in the way, towards space and the deep beyond. As a rumination on radicalism, The Lights in the Sky are Stars succeeds—I’m not entirely sure if it was entirely intentional as Continue reading
1. I adore the SF Rediscovery series published by Avon (full listing with covers here): the large size, the font and formatting, the framing of the art, and the general feel of the volume in my hand. If there’s a downside it’s the so-so quality of the art itself. I own and have reviewed two in the series previously: Barry N. Malzberg’s brilliant Revelations (1972) and E. C. Tubb’s generation ship novel The Space-Born (1955).
I have yet to read any of Eric Frank Russell’s SF—The Great Explosion (1962) seems to fit the satirical anti-Imperialism mode… we shall see!
2. A book an author whom I know little about…. Tony Roberts’ cover and the back-cover blurb intrigue!
3. Tim Powers’ first two novels were science fiction for the Laser Books imprint. I do not have high hopes (the imprint was notoriously low quality) but always enjoy exploring the early visions of authors. Miserable cover aside, it has a fun (if silly) premise!
4. A generation ship novel! (with a few unusual twists?)
Let me know what you think of the books and covers in the comments!
1. The Great Explosion, Eric Frank Russell (1962) (MY REVIEW)
(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading
(Cover for the 1960 edition of Out of Silent Planet (1938), C. S. Lewis)
Art Sussman produced a remarkable corpus of SF and other pulp covers (mysteries, crime, etc). He could easily shift gears between Richard Powers-esque surrealism—although distinctly his own take—to covers that suited an Agatha Christie mystery (browse the range here). I would be wary comparing him to Powers until you skim through the latter’s late 50s early 60s art (definitely an enjoyable activity!). Although Powers is still far superior, both were part of the SF art movement increasingly experimented with surreal/metaphoric and experimental art (there are still spaceships lurking around the edges, and futuristic cities, and other pulpy moments).
There is a precision of vision with Sussman’s art—his cover for the 1960 edition of Out of Silent Planet (1938), C. S. Lewis places the astronauts in an outline of a vessel with strange hints at alien planets and experiences scattered gem-like in the distance. Sussman’s focus on the human form — often surrounded by surreal forms and humanlike membranes — showcases agony and despair. A great example (and my favorite of the bunch) pairs jagged black fields with a bloodied man, the 1960 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
Max Ernst’s Barbarians Marching to the West
Max Ernst (1891-1976) has long been one of my favorite artists. I had no idea, until browsing through the Penguin SF cover images from the 60s, that his art appeared on a variety of SF/F novels and related literature/nonfiction…. Yes, I had seen the memorable cover for J. G. Ballard’s The Crystal World (1966) [below] but I had not put the two together.
My favorite is without a doubt the use of Ernst’s awe-inspiring Europe After the Rain II (1940-42) for J. G. Ballard’s collection of stories, Memories of the Space Age (1988). The malaise generated by his landscapes of decay combined with the sheer power of Ballard’s visions evoke are almost palpable shudders of joy…
There are a handful more but I have included most of the 50s to early 80s examples.
And today, April 2nd, is Max Ernst’s birthday! So, share, if you are so inclined, your favorite of his works of art. And, feel free to identify any that might appear on the covers below… Too bad more publishers don’t latch onto the joy that are his collages (do a google search and you will understand).
(Max Ernst, Europe After the Rain, cover for the 1988 edition of J. G. Ballard’s Memories of the Space Age, 1988) Continue reading
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1964 edition of Alien Worlds (1964), ed. Roger Elwood)
Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1979 Dutch edition of Greybeard (1964) by Brian W. Aldiss appeared in a collection of SF art Space Wars, Worlds & Weapons (1977). I remember encountering the collection at a used bookstore, perhaps in Philadelphia when I went to visit my grandparents… It terrified me for years. The bizarre metal construct looming over the destroyed world—and most of all, the strange tentacled hands…
…hence, today’s themed art post!
Tentacles and Other Strange Appendages.
I have a confession: I am warming to the art of Charles Moll—1974 edition of New Dimensions 3 ed. Continue reading
A few more wonderful acquisitions from my pilgrimage to Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, MI from month or so ago.
More Malzberg! And thankfully, one of the few really solid covers to grace his extensive oeuvre. I read Sargent’s novel Cloned Lives (1976) recently and was disappointed. Hopefully her short story collection Starshadows (1977) is more my cup of tea.
A 50s “classic” by Erin Frank Russell…
And a collection of short works on time travel by Keith Laumer…. Could not resist the early Di Fate cover which I have featured in art posts before.
1. Timetracks, Keith Laumer (1972)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1972 edition) Continue reading