From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.17, Covers That Make You Go Hmmm…

As you well know by now (or should do at the very least) I do love a good cover. Of course I enjoy reading the books and building up my library but I tend to get a little carried away when it comes to the artwork. I photograph all of my books in a lightbox to minimise glare and do just a little touching up in post production. Yes, I suppose I’m just a tad obsessive about these things but they matter to me at any rate.

Sometimes however, I end up wondering why on earth I ever bought a particular printing of a title in the the first place as the cover is just a bit on the strange side. Still, I suppose these books are not without their own odd charm and so they’re welcome to sit there happily on my bookshelves amongst their more sophisticated companions.

Here’s my pick of some of those slightly strange books, let me know what you think in the comments;

Not Without Sorcery by Theodore Sturgeon
1975 – Ballantine Books
Cover art by Darrell K. Sweet

A rather buoyant moustachioed leather queen appeals to a disinterested mermaid, wisps of her hair have been strategically blown into a position to obscure her breasts as a ship dramatically sinks in the background. Oh look – there goes a flying fish!

Sturgeon Not Without Sorcery

Greybeard by Brian Aldiss
1968 – Panther
Cover artist uncredited

I’m sorry to be pedantic here but his beard isn’t even grey, mine’s far whiter than this sorry array of bum fluff!

Aldiss Greybeard

The Fury Out Of Time by Lloyd Biggle Jr.
1968 – Sphere
Cover art by David Davies

There’s nothing like a wobbly photograph of an insect that says science fiction more to me.

Biggle The Fury Out Of Time

The Big Ball Of Wax by Shepherd Mead
1962 – Mayflower
Cover artist uncredited

Just… what?

Mead The Big Ball Of Wax

Alien Accounts by John Sladek
1982 – Granada
Cover art by Tim White

We all love a good robot don’t we? Especially when he’s dressed up to go to work in the office next door!
Sladek Alien Accounts


8 thoughts on “From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.17, Covers That Make You Go Hmmm…

  1. John C Nash 02/09/2015 / 10:21 am

    Wonderful selection!

    I have no words for that Sturgeon cover. No words at all. Huh?

    That Shepherd Mead cover though? That’s a bit special. I love a bit of 50’s modernism. And is it me or does the helmeted chap on the cover have a shade of Boris Karloff about him?

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 03/09/2015 / 1:57 pm

      Glad to hear you liked the covers Mr Nash. The Sturgeon title certainly is an oddity and you’re right about the Mead featuring a Boris Karloff lookalike too. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Guy 03/09/2015 / 12:38 am


    The Biggle just makes me queasy if I look at it too long. The Sladek with that cover and the tag line is a major comic talent seem more Monty Python than SF. I do see the Karloff. Nothing you selected makes the SF impact of a nice Powers or Lehr and I think while I might buy them if I liked the author it would be despite not because of the covers. It does make it interesting to ponder what goes on in the marketing dept.meetings.


    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 03/09/2015 / 2:07 pm

      Thanks for your comments as ever Guy, much appreciated. This round up is certainly a testament to the bizarre choices made by art departments rather than using solid designs by artists such as the ones you mentioned. I thought it might be an interesting topic to ponder and may well come back to it in time as I have a few similarly odd covers which didn’t quite make the cut. All the best.


  3. Bernie 03/09/2015 / 11:47 am

    I’ve actually had 3 of these in my possession in the past (the Mead, Biggle and Sladek), bought to read only, certainly not for the covers, and that must be the worst Greybeard cover EVER!! I quite like the Sturgeon cover, goodness knows why, but there you go, weirdness rules at times 🙂

    Take care, Bernie xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 03/09/2015 / 2:10 pm

      Thanks for commenting Bernie, this is definitely a strange selection so I’m relieved to hear I wasn’t alone in owning some the featured books. Yes, the Greybeard cover is horrible isn’t it but I’m also strangely drawn to the Sturgeon artwork too. Takes all sorts doesn’t it. Hope you’re well, take care too xxx


    • unsubscriber 05/10/2015 / 11:47 am

      Many thanks, hope you enjoy my upcoming posts. All the best.


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