Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Space Age Family

(Malcolm Smith’s cover for the 1951 edition of Space on My Hands (1951), Frederic Brown)

I’ve scrounged through my collection of cover images over and over again trying to find families — and not alien families being slaughtered by intrepid earthmen à la The Red Planet (below).  Simply put, sci-fi generally revolves around characters who set off on their own, occasionally (at the end) finding a spouse (alien or not) and starting a family.  Heinlein’s juveniles are a great example — boy from broken family (dead mother, abandoned orphan…) learns all the math necessary for navigating in space from a book, sets off (or stows away) in the nearest possible spaceship and goes on grand adventures — perhaps killing some alien families along the way…..

I’ve still managed to find a few.  The best Continue reading

Book Review: The End of the World (1956), ed. Donald Wollheim

(Ed Emshwiller’s? cover for the 1956 edition)

3.75/5 (Good)

 The End of the World (1956) is a highly readable collection of short works by some of the leading figures of the 50s:  Robert Heinlein, Edmond Hamilton, Philip K. Dick,  and Arthur C. Clarke are the most notable contributors.  All the works, including the short by the virtually unknown author Amelia Reynolds Long, have appeared in other volumes but it’s nice to have them grouped according to theme with a quality Ace edition 50s Emshwiller cover.

Wollheim gathers together a fascinating range of accounts of the end of the world — seen through the eyes of aliens, humans from the present viewing the future, the last men on earth surveying the ruins, a robotic bomb who thinks it’s human and “accidentally” triggers the end of the Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Infernal Machines

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition of The Stars Will Judge (1974), Irving A. Greenfield)

There are manifold possibilities for the infernal machine unraveling beneath the streets or inhabiting entire planets — it could construct simulacra, infiltrate spaceships with insinuating metal tentacles, conduct experiments, terraform the soil, create new life, manipulate politicians, cause natural disasters — technology gone mad, endlessly proliferating…  The dangers of technology, or technology in the hands of nefarious individuals is by far one of the most popular themes of science fiction.  I cannot count how many Star Trek episodes, novels, movies, and other television shows examine these scenarios — innumerable, it goes without saying.

I’ve chosen a wonderful collection of science fiction cover Continue reading

Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. VIII

My month of infrequent posts is over — I’ve returned to Austin after a month long sojourn across Colorado, New Mexico, France and Italy….  So, what do I do in my jet lagged state?  Head to the Half Price Books.  Not the best haul this time but a few potentially interesting reads.

1. Witch World (1963), Andre Norton

I’ve yet to read any of Andre Norton’s immense number of novels.  Not knowing exactly where to start I picked up what is generally considered among her best works — Witch World (1963).  It was nominated for the 1964 Hugo award for Best novel and often places in best Fantasy/Sci-fi lists.  And the cover is Continue reading