Tag Archives: 1950s

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Cosmic Coral and Eye Trees: The SF Art of H. Lawrence Hoffman

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(Cover for the 1968 edition of Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg)

My pseudo-series exploring the more esoteric reaches of SF art continues.  Previous posts include The Brothers Quay and SF Covers, The 1960s Covers of Emanuel Schongut, and A Spotlight on the SF Covers of David McCall Johnston.  You all read my site because of my more esoteric dalliances, right? Hah.

H. Lawrence Hoffman (b. 1911-1977) [wikipedia article]  illustrated a vast range of covers for the major presses such as Popular Library—his mystery novel covers, including those by Dashiell Hammett, are particularly evocative [here is a substantial gallery displaying the range of his non-SF covers].

His use of coral and figures inspired by Central American Art (see his cover for The Gate of Worlds (1967), Robert Silverberg) demonstrate his more experimental moments.  His coral covers are stunning— Last Door to Aiya (1968), ed. Mirra Ginsburg and A Century of Science Fiction (1962), ed. Damon Knight.  And the 1973 edition of Alien Art by Gordon R. Dickson scratches a strange artistic itch…

What are your Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Cosmic Coral and Eye Trees: The SF Art of H. Lawrence Hoffman

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLII (Silverberg + Reed + Robinson + Reamy)

More Kit Reed! I enjoyed both her first short story collection Mister Da Vi (1967) and first SF novel Armed Camps (1969).  I was impressed enough to track down another—and as she has informed me via twitter “rare”—collection.  Rare enough that she does not even own a copy!

Fresh off Tom Reamy’s dark and wonderful Blind Voices (1978), I thought it would be best to explore some of his early short fiction.

There’s nothing wrong with another Robert Silverberg collection from his heyday (late 60s-70s), although, I have read at least two of the thirteen stories in the collection already.

Frank M. Robinson in the early 90s jumped back on the SF scene with the well-received generation ship novel The Dark Beyond the Stars (1991).  More involved with editing over the decades, he published in the 70s a series of famous thrillers with Thomas N. Scortia.  I found a copy of his first novel, The Power (1956), although, the presence of telepathy (my least favorite SF theme?) makes me less than enthused.

Three of the four following books came via Mike at Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature and Tongues of Speculation—he visited Uncle Hugo’s in Minneapolis and sent me 10 (!!) books I had on my “to acquire” list.

Thoughts and comments are welcome (as always!).

1. Unfamiliar Territory, Robert Silverberg (1973)

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(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1978 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLII (Silverberg + Reed + Robinson + Reamy)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIX (Leiber + Paul + Reamy + Anthology)

Powell’s Books in Portland, OR dethrones Dawn Treader Book Shop in Ann Arbor, MI as the best SF collection I have ever encountered  in a used bookstore (and remember, fewer and fewer books interest me as I collect more and more—if you did not already have a collection you’d be out hundreds of dollars!).

I need to read more of Leiber’s work as I adored The Big Time (1958) and his short story collection A Pail of Air (1964).

Tom Reamy died too young—right after publishing his masterpiece Blind Voices (received Hugo and Nebula nods in 1979 and second place in Locus voting).

New author: Barbara Paul.  Read anything by her?

And, well, you all know my love affair with New Worlds Best SF anthologies… Links to my reviews: The Best SF Stories from New Worlds (1967) and Best SF Stories from New Worlds 3 (1968).

Thoughts/comments?

1. Gather, Darkness!, Fritz Leiber (1950)

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(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLIX (Leiber + Paul + Reamy + Anthology)

Book Review: Living Way Out (variant title: Beyond Bedlam), Wyman Guin (1967)

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(Jim Burns’ cover for the 1973 edition)

3.75/5 (collated rating: Good)

Wyman Guin produced eight short stories and one novel between 1950 and 1973 [see his entry on SF encyclopedia].  A pharmacologist/advertising executive by profession, his SF output demonstrates a mature satirical bent touching on topics of sociology, psychology, and psychiatry.  Best known for the often anthologized “Beyond Bedlam” (1951), the collection is worth tracking down for   “A Man of the Renaissance” (1964), “Volpla” (1956), “The Delegate from Guapanga” (1964), and “Trigger Tide” (1950) as well.  It is a shame that he did not write more.

Highly recommended for fans of social Continue reading Book Review: Living Way Out (variant title: Beyond Bedlam), Wyman Guin (1967)

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLVI (Holdstock + Howard + Guin + Anthology with Zelazny, Pohl, Dick, Aldiss, et al.)

An eclectic range of books from my annual pilgrimage to Ann Arbor, MI.  Unfortunately, the anthology series I was most excited about—Best of New Worlds and Orbit—were lacking from the shelves of Dawn Treader Books….

….but!

World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (1967) contains stories famous stories by Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny (2xs), R.A. Lafferty, Michael Moorcock, Frederick Pohl, Brian W. Aldiss, and lesser known stories by Dannie Plachta, Paul Ash, Bob Shaw, A. A. Walde….

Also, I also procured a 1967 Nebula-nominated novel by Hayden Howard, more Richard Holdstock, and a collection containing the famous short story “Beyond Bedlam” (1951).  Over the next few weeks I’ll post the rest of my acquisitions.

Thoughts/comments?

1. The Eskimo Invasion, Hayden Howard (1967)

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(Stephen Miller’s (?) cover for the 1967 edition) Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLVI (Holdstock + Howard + Guin + Anthology with Zelazny, Pohl, Dick, Aldiss, et al.)

Book Review: The Alley God, Philip José Farmer (1962)

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(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1962 edition)

3.5/5 (Collated rating: Good)

The 1950s stories in Philip José Farmer’s collection Strange Relations (1960) rekindled my interest in in his earlier work.  Yes, I want odd stories about hard-shelled, hilltop living, female-only womb aliens who fertilize themselves via roving mobile “male” objects whom they capture and thrust into their womb-spaces. But, there is not an author whom I have more polarizing relationship with….  Outside of the 50s stories I’ve had no success with his work—readers of the site will know my views on Traitor to the Living (1972)To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971), and the latter novel’s endlessly bland and bloated sequels.  I recently read the novel version of Night of Light (1966), based on the 1957 story by the same name, Continue reading Book Review: The Alley God, Philip José Farmer (1962)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Max Ernst and his landscapes of decay (on SF/F covers)

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Max Ernst’s Barbarians Marching to the West

Max Ernst (1891-1976) has long been one of my favorite artists.  I had no idea, until browsing through the Penguin SF cover images from the 60s, that his art appeared on a variety of SF/F novels and related literature/nonfiction….  Yes, I had seen the memorable cover for J. G. Ballard’s The Crystal World (1966) [below] but I had not put the two together.

My favorite is without a doubt the use of Ernst’s awe-inspiring Europe After the Rain II (1940-42) for J. G. Ballard’s collection of stories, Memories of the Space Age (1988).  The malaise generated by his landscapes of decay combined with the sheer power of Ballard’s visions evoke are almost palpable shudders of joy…

There are a handful more but I have included most of the 50s to early 80s examples.

And today, April 2nd, is Max Ernst’s birthday!  So, share, if you are so inclined, your favorite of his works of art.  And, feel free to identify any that might appear on the covers below…  Too bad more publishers don’t latch onto the joy that are his collages (do a google search and you will understand).

Enjoy!

MMRSSPCG1988

(Max Ernst, Europe After the Rain, cover for the 1988 edition of J. G. Ballard’s Memories of the Space Age, 1988) Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Max Ernst and his landscapes of decay (on SF/F covers)