Thanks For Your Support In 2013

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who stumbled across, read or even went so far as to follow this ramshackle attempt at a blog throughout 2013, I will try not to be so slack next year – although don’t take that as a promise. I’m currently sifting through several piles of recently acquired books which have wonderfully twisted, deeply odd cover art that I want to share in addition to a slew of records I’m spending most of my time listening to at the moment. I will write more soon if you promise to read the words and look at the pictures.

In the meantime however, here’s a little seasonal greeting courtesy of my fellow book and music obsessive Teece;

xmas santa

xmas robin

Gimme Head

After taking such a long break from blogging, it seems only logical to piece together another bumper theme based on cover art due to the large number of books which have been pushed through my letterbox in the intervening period. I was flicking through my library for a few more covers featuring human skulls during the weekend for a continuation of an earlier piece (here) but kept coming across books with whole heads on them and so that’s where I’ll take my cue from. Here’s the chosen selection;

The Whole Man by John Brunner
1970 – Ballantine
A great piece of cover art from Steele Savage to begin with gracing this fine repress of Brunner’s 1964 novel. Not only does the design feature the head of protagonist Gerald Howson, but his cranium is filled with thirteen other heads whose faces stare out unblinkingly at the reader.

Brunner Whole

When They Come From Space by Mark Clifton
1964 – Four Square
One of only three novels by Mark Clifton, this book was recently purchased from a lady who lives on a narrowboat. I initially thought the cover was by Richard Powers but it is sadly uncredited in the book and I can’t find any further clues as to its creator.

Clifton Space

Clone by Richard Cowper
1974 – Quartet
This rather strange image is uncredited in the book but I have read on a SF forum that it could possibly be the work of Jim Burns – although personally I have my doubts. It’s a great painting all the same.

Cowper Clone

The Furious Future by Algis Budrys
1966 – Panther
More uncredited artwork on this great collection. This time the head appears to be materialising from inside some kind of giant psychedelic waffle. Superbly odd.

Budrys Future

The Lost Perception by Daniel F. Galouye
1968 – Corgi
Yet another uncredited piece which has been suggested by one of my knowledgable readers is the work of Josh Kirby, (thanks Bernie!) The cover painting serves to illustrate the effects of an alien epidemic know as ‘the screamies’, or to quote from the rear cover;

“Exploding in a man’s mind in a searing blast of noise and heat… the victims dying in a rigid paroxysm of pain…” This novel was renamed A Scourge Of Screamers for its final reprinting later the same year.

Galouye Perception

Keep The Giraffe Burning by John Sladek
1977 – Panther
A fantastic collection of short stories from one of my current favourite authors which has a brilliantly bizarre cover painting by the always intriguing Peter Goodfellow.

Sladek Giraffe

Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? – Robert Sheckley
1974 – Daw
This excellent collection of Sheckley shorts features supremely twisted head-related artwork by Hans Arnold and came to me in ‘as new’ condition from a book dealer based in Sydney

Sheckley Feel Anything

Rogue Moon by Robert Budrys
1973 – Arrow
Featured on another Budrys title, this final piece of art is not exactly a human head but rather a glass simulacra which begins on the back cover and continues over the spine and onto the front forming a very trippy wraparound photo montage. This striking design is the work of Chris Yates.

Budrys Rogue Moon

A Trio Of Silverbergs

I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging of late and so the last post featuring book covers was published back in September. In the intervening period however my new, non-surly postman has been bringing me armfuls of wonderful vintage paperbacks – some of which I’ve even found time to read. I decided it was time to share some covers and thought this was a great collection to start with.

This uniform edition of three novels was published by Tandem in 1970 and 1971 so the covers share a common design theme and brilliant artwork, sadly none of which is credited. These are still on my ‘to read’ shelves so I can’t comment on the stories themselves but as any regular visitor to my blog knows, I like to leave the reviews to much better writers than I consider myself to be.

The first title presented here is my favourite, not just because of the cover painting (which is fantastic) but because it features a quote on the front of the book from my local Sheffield newspaper – the Sheffield Telegraph.

Silverberg Maze

Silverberg Hawksbill

Silverberg Time Hoppers

Underovary – Words Not Words

There are way too many words cluttering up our lives and complicating everything unnecessarily. Why use one word when several can be utilised instead? The Blogosphere is a vast slab of verbiage the size of Jupiter. I won’t add to their number unduly here but I had to write a few lines about a rather remarkable book which is full of words without meaning. It’s called Underovary and is the third instalment in a planned tetralogy of asemic novels by the extremely talented Christopher Skinner.

Each page of this volume is filled with lines of text. Letters forming words which extend into paragraphs and chapters which are punctuated by diagrams, ciphers, glyphs – shapes of indeterminate origin. None of it actually means anything specific but it all makes some kind of perfect sense.

After explaining the concept of asemic writing to Junior Unsubscriber recently she sat quietly leafing through pages, absorbed utterly for a full half hour. This is indeed a rare feat for an eleven year old when confronted with the printed word, especially these days.

Underovary is very highly recommended reading and can be purchased directly from Christopher’s blurb shop (here) along with the other two titles. He also writes a blog under the name of Lestaret (here) which details a variety of his artistic endeavours. Further examples of his mail art have been featured on these very pages and can be found here and here

Here are a few examples of text from the book, all images are copyright Lestaret 2013;

Underovary Cover

Under2

Under4

Under6

Under5

Many Thanks to Christopher/Lestaret for providing the rather fetching asemic blog header.