Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Skull (connected to mysterious contraptions + looming above all + the moon mutated), Part I


(Richard Weaver’s cover for the 1972 edition of Dreadful Sanctuary (1948), Eric Frank Russell)

THE SKULL. The bones of the dead, the empty sockets gazing at us, a deathly gaze….  I have collected for your [horror filled] enjoyment a vast variety of SF skulls: the moon mutated into a skull, the half-skinned skull as part of mysterious contraptions, photographs of real human skulls interspersed with statuary and wigs, bizarre pink skulls pulsating with green radiation-esque Continue reading

Uncollected short story reviews: Joe Haldeman’s “Two Men and a Rock” (1973), A. G. Moran’s “Close Your Eyes and Stare at Your Memories” (1973)

My first in a new series of reviews that aim to bring to your attention short stories that appeared in magazines (I have substantially more due to Chris’ generosity—go visit him at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed & Creased) but where never collected in later English language volumes.  I’ve decided to pair a known author (in this case Joe Haldeman) with a lesser known author (in this case A. G. Moran) published in Amazing Science Fiction.


(Mike Hinge’s cover for the March 1973 issue of Amazing Science Fiction, ed. Ted White)

“Two Men and a Rock” by Joe Haldeman (1973) 3/5 (Vaguely Average):  Joe Haldeman, of The Forever War (1975) fame, tells a straight-laced Hard SF tale of two “fools who would rather die breathing space then never see the stars” (87).  The place in space is a station in an asteroid rich region.  Four prospectors, sixteen sappers, seven pilots, and a variety of secretaries live on the station—the job, ride out to an asteroid on a rickety sled, carrying a pile of nukes, without its own Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Domed Cities (and Outposts) of the Future, Part IV

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(Ley Kenyon’s cover for the 1953 edition of Adventures in Tomorrow (1951), ed. Kendell F. Crossen)

Since the release of the TV series Under the Dome (2013-), based on Stephen King’s 2009 novel by the same name, there has been a resurgence of interest in domed cities.  And for good reason — the trope is one of the most popular of science fiction artists and authors since the 30s (and probably earlier).  Not only do the societal implications and visual allure of the trope of a domed outpost on a harsh planet or a domed city amidst the ruins of Earth arouse the creative authorial juices but also generate some fantastically Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Nuclear Explosions + Mushroom Clouds!, Part III


(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1952 edition of Rat Race (1950), Jay Franklin)

Part III of my series on Nuclear Explosions + Mushroom Clouds…. Part I + Part II

As always, I’ve included a variety of novel and magazine covers on the theme from the 50s-70s.  My favorite is by far Richard Powers’ cover for the 1952 edition of Rat Race (1950) — his occasional less surreal visions from the 1950s are artistically adept and powerful (by the 60s the majority of his covers are surrealist).  I found that the uncredited cover for the 1961 edition of Dark December (1960) convincingly depicts the loneliness of the survivors in their new world…  J. F. Doeve’s cover for the 1966 Dutch edition of  The Crucified City (1962) displays the devastation Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions, Magazine Edition No. I (Galaxy 2x, Worlds of If 3x, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 1x)

My first science fiction magazines!

Although I’m not sure that I want to collect the entire catalogues of either Worlds of If or The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I wouldn’t mind starting a collection of Galaxy (one of the more famous magazines).  I’ve been tentative in the past about purchasing magazines for one simple reason: a large percentage of their contents, especially if by well-known authors, are rewritten/expanded/re-conceptualized for later short story collections or novel publication form.  Thus, what version you read in the magazine is rarely the more polished version found in later editions.  For example, in the August 1965 issue of Galaxy Frank Herbert’s Do I Wake or Dream? was expanded for the 1966 novel publication under the title Destination: Void (which was revised again for the much later 1978 edition).  Novels like Dune (1965) are themselves fix-up novels from shorter novels previously serialized in magazines — Dune World (1963) and The Prophet of Dune (1965).  However, six magazines for one dollar each was too good of a deal to pass up….

The only magazine I desperately want to collect is New Worlds due to the quantity of experimental New Wave material which was published during Moorcock’s editorship.

(Gray Morrow’s cover for the August 1965 issue) Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Inside the Skull (rats + women + sword fights + robotic circuits + space)

(Ebel’s cover for the 1953 issue of Space Science Fiction)

Previous art explorations which looked at disembodied brains and visualizations of the ultra-intelligent set the stage for this post.  Imagine skulls without brains: sometimes metaphorically, but often, literally hollow skull cavities that hold a vast array of mechanical devies and living captives.  Or, the reader is gifted a voyeuristic peek into the skulls of bodies masquerading as humans but in reality, a mesh of circuits or a metal sheen operates those beautiful limbs and terrifying weapons….

My favorite is by far the pulp goodness of Ebel’s cover (if anyone knows the full name of this artist please let me know) for the 1953 issue of Space Science Fiction.  The gorgeous heroine is held captive in gigantic stone heads with partially glass skulls — a robot that fails to conjure any menace stomps Continue reading