Sunday, 29 July 2012

Two covers: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Penguin edition, 1980: cover by Adrian Chesterman

Penguin edition, 1993: cover by Anton Brzezinski

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

John D. MacDonald

John D. MacDonald was born on this day in 1916. Although best known for his crime novels, particularly the iconic Travis McGee series, but he wrote three science fiction novels - 'Wine of the Dreamers', 'Ballroom of the Skies' and 'The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything', collected in the omnibus 'Time and Tomorrow'.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sex sells

Here’s a selection of cover art comparable to the femme fatale aesthetic of pulp crime thrillers. They suggest that interstellar couture never evolved beyond the string bikini, or that the only fashion designers who ever made it beyond the starts were sexually frustrated and emotionally retarded. 

I love the way philosophical writer Olaf Stapledon’s ‘Odd John’ – a novel which intelligently debates the concept of the ubermensch against a backdrop of cosmic angst – has its eponymous protagonist reduced to a bug-eyed Neanderthal lumbering towards a naked woman whose modesty is protected by a couple of strategically placed branches. How many people bought that novel based on the cover only to discover, with mounting horror, that they were reading a book which required them to think.

If the robot coming through the door in ‘The Pleasure Model’ is the blonde’s next client, she might want to think about a career change.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Moon stories

On this day in 1969, Apollo 11 made the first manned moon landing. What Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong witnessed was absolutely nothing like these covers might have given them cause to expect.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Two covers: The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Penguin edition, 1963: cover by Virgil Burnett

Gollancz SF Masterworks edition, 1999: cover by Chris Moore

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Erle Stanley Gardner

We're taking a short break from sci-fi here on Seduced by Starlight to raise a glass to Erle Stanley Gardner, born on this day in 1889; creator of the ever-popular Perry Mason and a man whose books enjoyed their fair share of pulpy covers.

Erle Stanley Gardner (17 July 1889 – 11 March 1970)

Sunday, 15 July 2012