Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: French comic book style 70s SF art by Serge Clerc

(Serge Clerc’s cover for the 1977 edition of The Dramaturges of Yan (1972), John Brunner)

Joachim Boaz compiling a post about SF comic book art? Wait. Wait. That can’t be, I remember reading in a comment months ago that he hasn’t opened a comic book once in his entire life. Oh, that makes more sense, the French artist Serge Clerc, who worked for Métal Hurlant early in his career, also created SF covers….

…and they are quite fun in their wacky way. In 1977 for the French Presses de la Cité – Futurama, Serge Clerc created eight covers–gracing works by Brunner, Octavia Butler, E. C. Tubb, and James Gunn–of which I’ve included seven in this post. My favorite is his 1977 edition of John Brunner’s  Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. XCIII (McCaffrey + Gunn + Spinrad + Sellings)

My first collection (and a big one at that) of Norman Spinrad short stories!  I loved The Iron Dream (1972).  I’ve also wanted to give Anne McCaffrey’s non-Pern SF a shot (loved Pern as a kid).  Although, it does look rather silly, catlike aliens are generally not my idea of fun.  Another novel by James Gunn, one he claims is his best…. And, one of those impulsive type acquisitions of unknown quality, The Power of X (1968) by Arthur Sellings.


1. Kampus, James E. Gunn (1977)

(Bob Larkin’s cover for the 1977 edition) Continue reading

Book Review: The Joy Makers, James Gunn (1961, magazine publication 1955)

(William Hofmann’s cover for the 1961 edition)

4.25/5 (collated rating: Good)

The three parts of James Gunn’s fix-up novel The Joy Makers (1961) were originally published in magazine form in 1955 as ‘Name Your Pleasure,’ ‘The Naked Sky’, and ‘The Unhappy Man.’  I have not read the originals so I’m unsure of how much was added or subtracted or completely re-conceptualized.  Largely a satire — Gunn pushes his point to the logical, and terrifying extreme — each part is a further chronological progression of a society whose chief aim is to make people happy.  It is hard not to read Part I as a satirical take on some aspects of Scientology,  a movement that was gaining force in the early 1950s.

Because each part is only linked thematically to the others Continue reading

Book Review: Station in Space, James Gunn (1958)

(Walter Murch and Jerry Powell’s cover for the 1958 edition)

collated rating: 3.75/5 (Good)

James Gunn’s Station in Space (1958) is an interconnected series of stories that form a cohesive chronologically organized whole tracking the development of human exploration into space (Earth –> first space flight –> first space station –> second space station –> Mars).  Because multiple characters reappear in later stories and the earlier events all have a direct bearing the work must be read in order.  The result is more a loose form novel than short story collection.

The most intriguing aspect of Gunn’s stories is the careful demystification of the glamor of space travel.  Many of the works begin like a juvenile à la Heinlein or Blish where space travel is fun and rosy and easy as picking corn before Gunn’s brutal realist streak seeps in and overwhelms the pages. I suspect that Continue reading