From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.24, Five Classic Titles

This week’s article is going to be short and to the point, no need for any in-depth information or history on this brief collection of five books. These are classic tomes which I’m sure that we’ve all either got a copy lurking away on our shelves somewhere or have at least read at some point down the years. This was a purely arbitrary selection based on nifty cover designs rather than any lofty notion of literary standing and so this small selection of greats is obviously just a tiny snapshot of the pantheon of truly outstanding science fiction literature we are truly lucky to have access to.

No more talking now, let’s look at some lovely book covers instead;

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1963 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Joe Mugnaini

Bradbury Fahrenheit 451

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
This version was published in 1964 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is John Griffiths

Wyndham The Chrysalids

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
This version was published in 2008 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Unbelievably for me this was an incredibly late printing that I decided to pick up after much deliberation. Prices of earlier editions were bordering on lunacy and so my attentions turned elsewhere. I think this modern/retro design is extremely well executed and I’m very pleased to have it nestled amongst my vintage paperbacks where I don’t think it looks out of place in the slightest.

Orwell 1984

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This version was published in 1983 by Panther / Granada
The cover artist is Heinrich Hoerle

Huxley Brave New World

War Of The Worlds by H. G. Wells
This version was published in 1971 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Harry Willock

Wells The War Of The Worlds

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From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.10, A Final Bit Of Horror And The Supernatural

Having covered the great August Derleth’s anthologies (here) and works of pure pulp (here) I find myself still left with a huge pile of horror books with brilliant covers that I’d like to share. I can’t include everything I want in this final post and so I’ll just have to choose eight of my favourites from the ghoulish to the garish to wrap up this diversion into all things horrible.

I hope that these covers have been of some interest, particularly to my usual sci-fi devotees, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments then maybe I can post a few more at some other point;

A Stir Of Echoes by Richard Matheson
This version was published in 1965 by Corgi Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

Anthology A Stir Of Echoes

The Supernatural Omnibus edited by Montague Summers
This version was published in 1976 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Justin Todd

Summers, The Supernatural Omnibus

Horror Anthology edited by Syd Bentlif
This version was published in 1965 by Mayflower-Dell Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Bentlif, Horror Anthology

The Darkest Night by Peter Saxon
This version was published in 1966 by Mayflower-Dell Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Saxon, The Darkest Night

Tales Of Love And Horror edited by Don Congdon
This version was published in 1961 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Congdon Tales Of Love And Horror

The Dance Of Death by Algernon Blackwood
This version was published in 1963 by Pan Books
The cover artist is W. F. Phillipps

Blackwood The Dance Of Death

The October Country by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1965 by Four Square Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Bradbury The October Country

Shock! by Richard Matheson
This version was published in 1962 by Corgi Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

Anthology Shock!

Another Random Act Of Generosity

Back in November 2014 I wrote an article about a series of Penguin SF paperbacks with eye catching cover art produced by experimental photographer Franco Grignani (here). I presented my incomplete collection of fifteen books as I hadn’t been fortunate enough to find a copy of the remaining volume anywhere after exhausting all of my resources. I had finally become resigned to the fact that this series would remain incomplete despite my best efforts and so posted what I had before moving on to other books.

It came as no small surprise then when I was contacted out of the blue sometime afterwards by my good friend and fellow blogger Mr Read who told me that he had stumbled across a copy of the missing book whilst browsing in a secondhand shop and had purchased it on my behalf. I was absolutely thrilled as you can imagine and immediately replied to his kind email to shower praise upon such a selfless act of generosity. Mr Read is of course no stranger to this kind of thing after having stepped in previously with a spare copy of The Abominations Of Yondo by Clark Ashton Smith to complete another collection (here). I am therefore forever indebted to this kindly gentleman who would take nothing but a mere book swap for his pains, I happily sent him a couple of Badger duplicates for his trouble.

It’s worth noting here that Mr Read runs his own very well produced and extremely erudite website/blog called Lankhmar – The Fritz Leiber Homepage which can be accessed here.

Say what you like about the denizens of the internet and bloggers in particular but I have never come across such a friendly and thoughtful bunch. I have never met Mr Read in person but knowing that he’s out there reading my words and acting on my behalf in such situations pleases me greatly. There are many others out there too who have taken the time and effort to react to my humble efforts whether clicking the ‘Like’ button or leaving a comment, it’s all the same to me and displays a tangible human connection through the wires. I’d therefore like to take this opportunity to say a big thanks to everyone who has responded in some way or another, I’m truly grateful for your participation.

Here then is the final piece in my now completed Franco Grignani puzzle, a book I never thought I’d get my hands on try as I might. Your comments are as always welcomed;

The Day It Rained Forever by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1969 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Franco Grignani

Bradbury, The Day It Rained Forever

For the sake of completeness, here’s a recap of the other books in this series. Click on a thumbnail for a larger view;

Brunner The Productions of timeSaberhagen BerserkerLeiber The Wanderer

Harrison Bill The Galactic HeroPohl Kornbluth Search The SkyPKD The Penultimate Truth

Davidson RorkPohl Williamson StarchildPangborn The Judgement Of Eve

Brunner The Squares Of The CityPangborn DavyMoorcock Traps Of Time

Leiber Conjure WifePohl Williamson The Reefs Of SpacePKD Time Out Of Joint

A Plethora Of Penguins Part One

I love Penguin Books. I think it all started at secondary school because we had so many of them in our library – rows and rows of orange, blue and green spines. Somehow the smell of musty books takes me right back there and I’m sat at a long table on an uncomfortable steel framed chair reading a Penguin Book. It comes as no surprise then that I should have picked up a fair few Penguin Science Fiction books in later years.

Some time ago, I was sent a link to a website listing all the Penguin SF books to date (here) and I was off again, clicking on thumbnails and attempting to complete whole collections of fantastic looking books. This site has been a great tool in helping me decide what I want to find but also a source of unhappiness as it taunts me with pictures of those books which continue to remain unobtainable to me.

I’ve written about a couple of my major Penguin triumphs (here and here) but also about my biggest failure to date (here). I was wondering the other day how to deal with my remaining Penguin-related fragments in terms of displaying them on the blog when I decided I should just gather up some of my favourite covers from the tangle of incompleteness and present them here simply as a plethora of Penguin Books for your viewing purposes. As stated before elsewhere, these covers are just far too good to be sat on a shelf displaying their spines, their beautifully designed covers should be shared with the world.

So here they are, the first batch of eight rather excellent covers from various unfinished Penguin collections which sit forlornly on my library shelves. It’s a testament to my defeat that this article has been written but one from which I hope you will at least derive some enjoyment. Let me know your thoughts on the covers and your own collection failures in the comments;

Final Stage Edited by Edward L. Ferman and Barry N. Malzberg
This version was published in 1975 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is David Pelham

Penguin Anthology Final Stage

The Day It Rained Forever by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1966 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Romek Barber

Bradbury The Day It Rained Forever

Telepathist by John Brunner
This version was published in 1968 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Carl Struwe

Brunner Telepathist

Wolfbane by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1967 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Pohl Kornbluth Wolfbane

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement
This version was published in 1963 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Yves Tanguy

Clement Mission Of Gravity

The Pollinators Of Eden by John Boyd
This version was published in 1978 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Peter Cross

Boyd The Pollinators Of Eden

The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick
This version was published in 1976 by +Penguin Books
The cover artist is Peter Goodfellow

PKD The Man In The High Castle

Gunner Cade by Cyril Judd
This version was published in 1966 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Ian Yeomans

Judd Gunner Cade

From Front To Back, It’s The Wraparound Cover Featuring Ian Miller

I’ve long since been fascinated by the endless inventiveness of book covers and a good designer’s approach to the artistry applied to such a relatively small surface area. This is an art-form now all but disappeared due to the proliferation of those chunky petrol station/supermarket paperbacks and e-books. I hope that I have presented some good examples of well designed covers from the past on these very pages to even things up a little though. For this week’s selection I decided to concentrate on a novel (oh dear, sorry for the pun) solution to this problem of working in such a small area by carrying the design work over onto the back cover. These pieces are not as common as you might imagine, people rarely look at the back of a book and so it’s always a huge bonus when I find a wraparound cover where I didn’t expect one. You should always check your back covers people!

The king of the wraparound (for me at least) is a chap from the UK called Ian Miller who has a website here. Pretty much everything he produces spills across the front cover and spine, flowing on to the back of the book like it just doesn’t want to stop. I wrote a short piece about him here which included eight of my then current favourite front covers but at that point I hadn’t figured out how to photograph the whole book without it looking rubbish or damaging the fragile spine by flattening it out so the article just didn’t have the impact I thought it deserved. I’ll always see that post as a missed opportunity and a bit of a flop despite it’s very respectable viewing figures.

Well, after lots of experimentation (and a little technical innovation) I finally developed a technique of successfully creating wraparound covers to sufficiently appease my exacting expectations and got an early chance to work with three of my favourite Ian Miller/H. P. Lovecraft pieces courtesy of my good friend, fellow paperback aficionado Teece. His bit can be found here and features Teece on words and me on images. The thoughts of that missed opportunity were beginning to recede after showing off these three covers in all their wraparound glory and seen fully as the artist intended.

This post should now finally put the personal humiliation of my dreaded missed opportunity well and truly behind me as I present eight full wraparound covers by Ian Miller. It’s only fair to admit that several titles have appeared before elsewhere on the blog but only as front cover photographs. This is the first time that they’ve appeared here in this fully extended format.

I’m really pleased to be showing these off as they’re not easy to shoot (especially the spine) and the post-processing always takes longer than you plan for but I think the results speak for themselves. Clicking on an image will result in a larger view of each cover so feel free to dive in and have a closer look.

I hope you enjoy this first batch of wraparounds as much as I did creating them, your comments are always gladly received;

R Is For Rocket by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1972 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Wraparound - Bradbury, R Is For Rocket

S Is For Space by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1978 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Wraparound - Bradbury, S Is For Space

The Golden Apples Of The Sun by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1979 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Bradbury Golden Apples Wraparound

Galactic Pot Healer by Philip K. Dick
This version was published in 1977 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

PKD Galactic Pot-Healer

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
This version was published in 1974 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Wells The Time Machine

Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1978 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Bradbury Long After Midnight

Beyond tomorrow edited by Damon Knight
This version was published in 1973 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Knight Beyond Tomorrow

War Games by Brian Stableford
This version was published in 1981 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

stableford-war-games

What The? #9

An occasional series of book covers whose outlandish design evokes bafflement and confusion in equal measure.

I Sing The Body Electric by Ray Bradbury

1972 – Corgi
Cover art not credited

This very odd cover clearly features a heavily rouged glam rock centaur with a rather natty feather-cut hairstyle flexing his biceps, his forearms transmogrifying into miniature bicep flexing glam rock figures. I think I’m slowly losing the plot here.

WTF9 Bradbury I Sing The Body Electric