Tag Archives: science fiction

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Spotlight on David McCall Johnston

David McCall Johnston1971

(Cover for the 1971 edition of New Writings in SF 6 (variant title: New Writings in S-F 6) (1965), ed. John Carnell)

The American artist David McCall Johnston (b. 1940) [webpage] produced a mere handful of SF covers.  They are striking and somewhat minimalist in comparison to his famous fantasy covers (Orlando Furiosos, Moorcock’s The Chronicles of Corum sequence, etc).  I have included all of his SF covers (that I know of) with a selection of fantasy covers (that do not intrigue me as much as the SF ones).  My favorites: the 1971 edition of New Writings in SF 6, 1971 edition of New Writings in SF 7, and the 1971 Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Spotlight on David McCall Johnston

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLVII (Women of Wonder Anthology + Eklund + Watson + Franke)

IMG_0799

(Inside illustration by Vincent Di Fate for the 1973 edition of The Orchid Cage (1961), Herbert W. Franke)

Part II of my SF acquisitions from Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, MI– Part I.  In my attempt to acquire more foreign SF (still haven’t managed to read that much of it—but the mood will strike eventually), I found a nice copy with a wonderful interior illustration and cover by Vincent Di Fate of one of Herbert W. Franke’s novels.

Also, another Ian Watson novel—I’ve read the Jonah Kit (1975) but never got around to reviewing it as well as his collection (must read for fans of 70s SF) The Very Slow Time Machine (1979).  Jesse over at Speculiction raves about his other Continue reading Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXLVII (Women of Wonder Anthology + Eklund + Watson + Franke)

Book Review: The Best SF Stories From New Worlds, ed. Michael Moorcock (1967)

lehr

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition)

4/5 (collated rating: Good)

Fresh off of Langdon Jones’ wonderful New Wave collection The Eye of the Lens (1972) I decided to see if any of my unread anthologies contained his work—queue The Best SF Stories From New Worlds (1967).  Unfortunately, Jones’ contribution is far from the best in this absolutely stellar collection.

This 1967 volume was the first in a series of eight Best Of New Worlds anthologies edited by Michael Moorcock between 1967-1974.  I reviewed The Best SF Stories From New Worlds 3 (1968)—i.e. the one with Pamela Zoline’s must-read “The Heat Death of the Universe” (1967)—a while back.

The takeaway: The majority of stories in are required reading for fans of New Wave SF and New Worlds magazine.  Find a copy of the anthology with its fantastic Paul Lehr cover or track down Continue reading Book Review: The Best SF Stories From New Worlds, ed. Michael Moorcock (1967)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The 1960s covers of Emanuel Schongut

LLFLSHSGRS1965

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

On twitter I like to highlight the birthdays of often lesser known SF artists and authors—and today is Emanuel Schongut’s birthday!  The 1960s SF covers of Emanuel Schongut (b. 1935) demonstrate an eye for the simple form, the surrealist twist, the optical trick….  In 2012 I compiled a list of my favorite fifteen (as of then) SF covers [here]—although I suspect some of the list would change, his cover for the 1966 edition of Watchers of the Dark (1966) [below] by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. would retain its privileged place.

Although few of the other covers rise to the heights of Watchers of the Dark, some of his others from the 1960s still transfix and leave haunting impressions!  For example, Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The 1960s covers of Emanuel Schongut

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)

THSKMNVSNN1967

(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 Eye of the Lens, Langdon Jones (1972)

Richard Jones1972

(Richard Jones’ cover for the 1972 edition)

4/5 (collated rating: Good) (*see note below)

Langdon Jones is best known for his involvement in New Worlds Magazine: he contributed stories (published 16 in various New Worlds venues), cover art, and edited the April-July 1969 issues.  One of his stories, “To Have and To Hold,” was slated to appear in the never published Last Dangerous Visions, and languishes unread and unknown.  Why Ellison doesn’t relinquish control of the copyright is beyond me…  Sadly, Jones’ output had all but dried up by 1969.  If anyone knows why, please let me know.

Three of the seven stories in the collection—“The Hall of Machines” (1968), “The Coming of the Sun” (1968), and “The Eye of the Lens” (1968)—form a loose triptych (the religious connotations of the term is purposeful).

*NOTE: Recommended only for fans of the most radical New Wave SF that graced the pages of New Worlds magazine.  Experimental, allegorical, and occasionally Borgesian, all the stories revolve around our perception of time and memory.  Even in the collection’s weakest moments—the Continue reading Book Review: The Eye of the Lens, Langdon Jones (1972)

Book Review: Starship and Haiku, Somtow Sucharitkul (S. P. Somtow) (1981)

STRSHPHKJJ1981

(Gerry Daly’s cover for the 1981 edition)

3.25/5 (Vaguely Good)

“Nature does not write haiku.  Men write haiku.  The world cannot end in chaos, with things running wild, with gangs running rampant, with cannibals, with dog eating dog and plague-deaths and the abominable mutations.  O, I know it is so in some other countries, but we are Japanese.  We are the children of the whale, who have committed the original sin of patricide… but we have pride, and we must die in beauty” (131).

Somtow Sucharitkul (S. P. Somtow after 1985) is a fascinating individual.  He’s a Thai-American SFF author/composer who moved back and forth between Thailand and the UK (English was his first language and he received his education at the University of Cambridge).  Perhaps best known for his Mallworld sequence of stories (1979-2000), Somtow’s output is immense and ranges from horror to mainstream fiction (in addition to numerous symphonies and operas).

His first novel Starship & Haiku (1981), which won the 1982 Locus Best First Novel Award, joins the ranks of a veritable subgenre of SF about whales and pseudo-whales—including (off the top of my head, there are bound to be more!): Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Ian Watson’s The Jonah Kit (1975), T. J. Bass’ The Godwhale (1974), Philip José Farmer’s The Wind Whales of Ishmael (1971), John Varley’s Gaean series (1979-1984), Alan Dean Foster’s Cachalot (1980), and  Robert F. Young’s Spacewhale sequence of short stories (1962-1980) which includes “Starscape with Frieze of Dreams” (1970).  And yes, a whale makes a fateful appearance in Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)… The interest in whale SF was probably rooted to the increasing scientific research on whale song in the 1970s.  And whales do hold a certain allure as the largest mammals on our planet! Continue reading Book Review: Starship and Haiku, Somtow Sucharitkul (S. P. Somtow) (1981)