Tag Archives: Short stories

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Spherical Spaceships, Spherical Aliens, Unidentified Spheres

(Walter Popp’s cover for the August 1952 issue of Fantastic Adventures)

The sphere — as a manifestation of the perfectly round geometrical shape or replete with various derivations and modifications (tentacles, slight elongations, eye sockets, limbs both fleshly or mechanical) — holds a particular fascination for sci-fi artists and authors.  The possibilities are endless: spherical aliens, spherical ocean descent vehicles, spherical spaceships, spherical robotic doctors, wizards levitating spherical objects, and spherical legged war vehicles…

I’ve selected a delightful variety of these spherical manifestations.  In my favorite (above) female scientists alternately shout about, gaze at, and document descending Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Spherical Spaceships, Spherical Aliens, Unidentified Spheres

Book Review: Future City, ed. Roger Elwood (1973)

3.25/5 (Average)

According to Future City, the cities of the future are to be avoided at all costs.  There are no utopias here — only overpopulation, pollution, racial warfare, natural disasters, robot takeovers, and eventual reversion to primitivism!  But there’s a trajectory!  In fact, Roger Elwood, the editor of the volume, asked for new stories that fit along this arc.  Elwood claims that there are twenty-two leading science-fiction writers who contributed to the volume.  Unfortunately, three of these leading authors don’t submit stories: Tom Disch contributes a one page poem, Clifford D. Simak a brief introduction, and Frederick Pohl a short afterword.  Also, two of the twenty-two are monikers for Barry N. Malzberg.  Famous authors like Frank Herbert and Ellison contribute substandard short stories.  Many of the other leading figures are not “leading figures” in any sense of the word!

As with most collections there are gems AND complete blunders.  Robert Silverberg, R. A. Lafferty, Ben Bova (and others) all contribute thought-provoking stories making this collection Continue reading Book Review: Future City, ed. Roger Elwood (1973)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Tufted Gumby Aliens and Mushroom People

(David Hardy’s cover for the November 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)

I couldn’t stop laughing while putting together this post from my collection of gleaned covers: gumby in space with two fuzzy tufts and three unsymmetrical eye ridges (or, his fingers) ogling at a space probe, mushroom people transfixed by a mysterious white tentacled orb hoisted aloft by man in a pink cape and a skimpy pink unitard, evil nosed caterpillars, scary monstrous mole monster, etc.  Did the editors KNOW precisely what the art looked like before it appeared on the covers evoking such throat hurting unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences?  But, I have to admit there’s nothing like a cool (and funny alien) to make me pick up a book or magazine.

As always, what are your favorite funny alien covers which I haven’t posted?

I’ve read a few of Vance’s novels so I’ll probably pick up The Eyes of the Overworld Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Tufted Gumby Aliens and Mushroom People

Update: Another Wonderful Sci-fi Review Blog

   

Michael (2theD), one of my friends whose reviews on Amazon I’ve been compulsively reading, has just started a review blog (on blogspot) called the Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature.

(the titles above are a small sample of the works Continue reading Update: Another Wonderful Sci-fi Review Blog

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Bleak Alien Landscapes

(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1953 edition of Space, Space, Space (1953), ed. William Sloane)

Our science fiction heroes are often confronted by bleak alien landscapes adorned with rocks, vast deserts, adverse atmospheres — commonly these vistas are traversed, colonized, tamed…  Spaceships touch down on virgin surfaces, the explorers tentatively step forward, aliens peer from the distance.  When settlements are built the alien vista remains an ever present source of fear and fascination.  The depiction of a convincingly bleak alien landscape (think Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune) can be of paramount importance in conveying not only  otherworldliness but the backdrop for human drama and the challenges our heroes must overcome (by technology or other Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Bleak Alien Landscapes

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Art of Robert Foster, Part I

Robert Foster produced only a handful of science fiction covers.  The most inventive graced a span of Frederik Pohl novels and short story collections released by Ballantine Books in the late 60s.  Sadly, I can find no information about the artist himself online (if you do please let me know).  Here’s a selection of the most interesting, haunting, and spectacular…

Part II (here)

Mechanical man — a bedraggled simulacra. Nude woman — embodiment of flesh.  A lunar landscape greets them…

(ranks among my favorite covers of all time)

(Cover for the 1969 edition of Turn Left at Thursday (1961), Frederik Pohl) Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Art of Robert Foster, Part I

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Assorted 1970s Surrealistic Faces by Richard Powers

This is the second post in a potential series of posts showcasing the science fiction cover art by Richard Powers (1921-1996). My first post discussed a few surrealist cityscape covers from the 1950s.  Here I’ve selected a variety of surrealistic, composite, conglomerated, and masked faces from his 1970s covers.

A delightful green human shape — mouthless — replete with translucent hollows?  emerging occupants or surfacing memories?

(Cover for the 1973 edition of All Flesh is Grass (1965), Clifford D. Simak)

The Eternal Frontiers utilizes another Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Assorted 1970s Surrealistic Faces by Richard Powers