(Interior art for the 1975 French OPTA edition of The Death of Grass (1956) and The Long Winter (1962), John Christopher)
I cannot ascertain the identity of Cathy Millet. There is a well known Catherine Millet—a French writer, art critic, curator, etc. However, I do not think they are the same. If you know more information about who she might be, please please please let me know! (French articles are fine — I can read them easily).
Cathy Millet created a handful of covers and larger number of interior illustrations for the French publisher OPTA. Here’s her incomplete isfdb.org listing which I used as a jumping off point. The ones which caught my eye are her spectacular interior illustrations for two John Christopher post-apocalyptic Continue reading
My “to review” pile is growing and my memory of them is fading… hence short—far less analytical—reviews.
1. Mindbridge, Joe Haldeman (1976)
(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1977 edition)
4.5/5 (Very Good)
Nominated for the 1977 Hugo Award
Joe Haldeman never struck me as an author who experimented with New Wave methods of telling. Mindbridge (1976) shatters my misconception. Imagine the basic plot of his masterpiece The Forever War (1975) combined with a fascinating experimental structure. The latter intrigued me far more than the former.
The Basic Plot: The Levant-Meyer Translation allows humans to instantaneously travel across the galaxy. The Tamer Agency sends its agents to investigate alien worlds. Continue reading
1. Michael G. Coney is a firm blog favorite–from his deeply lyrical paean Hello Summer, Goodbye (variant title: Rax) (1975) to his off-the-wall bizarre short fictions in Friends Come in Boxes (1973). I eagerly snatched up a copy of his “ecological puzzle story” with alien shapeshifters–Syzygy (1973) (Coney’s entry in SF Encyclopedia).
2. Always love a SF water world! hah. This one via Alan Dean Foster….
3. MPorcius over at MPorcius Fiction Log speaks highly of F. M. Busby’s Cage a Man (1973). I’ve only previously read Busby’s terrible shock story “Tell Me All About Yourself” (1973).
4. More British apocalypse tales join the ranks—this one a lesser known work by John Christopher. Pendulum (1968) is a tale of apocalypse from within rather than his normal external causes of societal devastation–see my recent review of A Wrinkle in the Skin (variant title: The Ragged Edge) (1966).. The inside flap reads as alarmist drivel—we shall see.
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
1. Syzygy, Michael G. Coney (1973)
(David Bergen’s cover for the 1975 edition) Continue reading
(Steve Crisp’s cover for the 1985 edition)
John Christopher’s A Wrinkle in the Skin (variant title: The Ragged Edge) (1965) is the second in my informal reading series on 50s/60s post-apocalyptic visions. Fresh off Alfred Coppel’s moody and reflective Dark December (1960), I chose one of Christopher’s works long overshadowed by his popular Tripods trilogy (1967-68)* and more famous earlier catastrophe novel The Death of Grass (1956).* Continue reading
1 and 2. As a kid, I read and adored John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy (1967-1968). Little did I know at the time the quantity of other SF novels—mostly of the post-apocalyptical sort—published over his long career. In 2012 I read, reviewed, and enjoyed his post-apocalyptical satire The Long Winter (1962). And now, I have both his single most famous “cozy catastrophe” and a lesser known one… with a fantastic cover by Steve Crisp.
3. I now own three of the four volumes in M. John Harrison’s Viriconium sequence (1971-1984)! Here’s volume two. I reviewed and adored The Pastel City (1971).
My other M. John Harrison reviews (he’s a Joachim Boaz favorite):
The Committed Men (1971)
The Centauri Device (1974)
The Machine in Shaft Ten (1975)
4. Ian Watson is a fascinating author. The stories in The Very Slow Time Machine (1979) should be tracked down. I also recommend The Jonah Kit (1975), which I never got around to reviewing…. this acquisition is a lesser known novel in his extensive oeuvre.
Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Enjoyed? Hated?
1. A Wrinkle in the Skin (variant title: The Ragged Edge), John Christopher (1965)
(Steve Crisp’s cover for the 1985 edition) Continue reading
(Cover for the 1972 edition of Recalled to Life (1958), Robert Silverberg)
“I think the 60s and 70s were probably one the most creatively interesting periods for everyone. Art, music, film all pushing the envelope. New York City was affordable and fun, fertile in its influences. Book cover art, book jacket art was fun concept art, a bit more free than other illustration work” — Emanuel Schongut
Back on May 19th, I showcased Emanuel Schongut’s 1960s SF covers [link]. His nephew found my post and put me in touch. Over the last few weeks I have had a wonderful discussion via email about his time creating covers for Doubleday under the direction of Margo Herr (art director + cover illustrator/artist). Emanuel graciously agreed to a short interview. He gives a behind-the-scenes look at SF cover illustrating in the 60s/70s, reflects on his own career, and discusses his artistic process. If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to relay them to the artist.
Also included after the interview is a delightful selection of his 1970s covers–a double post! I also recommend visiting his online portfolio for his more recent non-SF work.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.
Note: I have made only minor edits for clarity and inserted publication dates where necessary.
Thank you so much for agreeing to do an interview on your 60s/70s science fiction covers. Over more than two decades of producing SF covers for Doubleday, you put together an impressive body of work. They graced novels by some of the most esteemed authors of the genre, including Kate Wilhelm, John Brunner, Clifford D. Simak, Robert Silverberg, Keith Laumer, among others.
1) First, can you say a little about yourself.
Thank you for your interest Joachim.
(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition)
Although known for his famous young adult Tripod Trilogy (The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, The Pool of Fire), John Christopher produced a substantial corpus of science fiction works for older readers — most notably, the post-apocalyptical tale No Blade of Grass (1956). The Long Winter (1961), one of Christopher’s lesser known works, is on the surface another post-apocalyptical novel (or sorts). However, the post-apocalyptical elements are subsumed by a bitting satire on colonial and post-colonial British attitudes towards their colonies. The publication date of 1962 is of vital importance in understanding the work. Nigeria gained its independence from the British in 1960, Ghana in 1957, and South Africa in 1961.
A large percentage of the reviews I’ve read complain that they Continue reading