Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Avon paperback, fifth printing, April 1970. Cover by Don Crowley.

The glowing ovoid plummeted earthward, the sky screaming like a metallic banshee as the air boiled away from its sides. 

A supersonic boom broke over the forest. The curious thing glided down; earth fountained away from it like water, and the forest burst into flame! 
Then a thin black line etched a circle on the side of the metal egg; the circle thickened into a door, or airlock; the air was rent by a searing, screaming hiss and suddenly - the strange being soon to be known to all mankind as 


Panther SF paperback, 1973. Artist uncredited.

"Philip José Farmer is one of the handful of authors who made science fiction grow up. Unlike so many other sf writers, he has never been afraid to explore to the furthest limits of the bizarre, terrifying and grotesque the implications of man's contact with completely alien life-forms in outer space. In this outstanding collection of brilliantly disturbing stories man meets alien in a weird variety of ways. The results of these encounters will shock, startle and astound you. They will also open your mind to a new awareness of the rance of experience available to man in an infinite universe..."


My Sister's Brother

Today was definitely a day for oddball book covers - I bought this at the same time (and place) that I got Philip Bedford Robinson's Masque Of A Savage Mandarin.


Panther Science Fiction paperback, 1974. Artist uncredited,
possibly Bob Haberfield.

"Nicholas Coad, the Savage Mandarin: detached, scientific, 'converted' into a state of 'sublime, cosmic indifference'. He is working on a unique project - the 'conversion' and liberation of the soul or higher self from chains of physical bondage. His 'patient' is his good-natured neighbour, Rogers, up-and-coming ad-man. Rogers does not realise that his piercing headaches are caused by the fearsome, hypnotic in coad's flat. But as coad brings him further along the path to liberation, he has no choice. After all, his brain now resembles a chunk of Gruyére cheese..."

Well, you don't see a book cover like that every day (!) the artwork looks familiar but I can't place a name. Haven't read this one yet (like so many others - my 'reading list' is seven feet tall) but judging from the synopsis on the back cover, it's the literary equivalent of taking a few 'shrooms. Thanks to Mark for suggesting the cover artist might be Bob Haberfield, it looks psychedelic enough to be his work to me!

Saturday, 29 October 2011


Orbit paperback, 1991. Artwork by Les Edwards.

"Renowned throughout the galaxy as the finest soldiers ever born, the men of the Dorsai had been hired by El Conde, sovereign of Gebel Nahar, to transform his raggle-taggle army into a fighting force to be reckoned with. Now revolution had erupted, and the men once trained by the Dorsai bore arms against them. Bound by their rigid code of honour, the mercenaries' first duty was to protect el conde from the rebels. But what chance had a handful of warriors, however noble and fearless, against the massed ranks of the Naharese?"


Orbit paperback, 1989. Artwork by Les Edwards.

"The spirit of Dorsai is an illumination of the heart and soul of the planet dorsai and its people, showing with epic clarity and unforgettable vision how and why the Dorsai fight and live. It tells of the beginning when the first Dorsai was formed by mercenaries willing to fight others' battles to buy freedom for their own homes. It tells how even children and old men fought for the dream of the Dorsai. From the mouth of Amanda Morgan, direct descendant of two illustrious women who bore her name, the full story is told in all its splendour."

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Sphere SF paperback, 1987. Artwork by Peter Elson.

"The day the time storm struck, Marc Despard was one of the handful to survive. Mist walls, moving endlessley across the surface of the earth, created a devastated, shifting patchwork of temporal anarchy.
But Despard saw strange, dazzling patterns in his head that he knew could lead him through the storm. In the violent, terrifying landscape of an ever-changing world he began to realise his awe-inspiring mission: he must become nothing less than master of the universe - he must become god."

Friday, 16 September 2011


Hodder paperback, 1965. Cover artist uncredited.

"A man has been experimenting to make contact with the outer world. One night he disappears - to become the master of the forces he has unleashed, or their first victim?"

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Orbit paperback, 1976. Cover artist uncredited,
possibly Bob Haberfield.

"The secret of time travel is the exclusive property of two huge, shadowy organizations who send their agents into the past to change crucial events in history and thus remodel the world in their own image. Fritz Leiber's masterpiece of sustained surrealistic imagination is the most remarkable novel ever to win science fiction's coveted Hugo award."


Fontana SF paperback, 1978. Cover illustration
by Roy Ellsworth.

"What was the evil figure that haunted Franz Westen? Was it his imagination, or was it something infinitely more frightening, connected somehow with those old books he'd been reading? For there was much in those books to connect the figure with the bizarre twilight world of San Francisco in the 1920s, the world of H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton smith, Jack London, Dashiell Hammett and Aleister Crowley. The more westen plunged into those misty reaches of the occult, the more he would uncover things which had perhaps better lain undisturbed. For Westen, in trying to unravel the mystery of our lady of darkness, was gambling with his life."


Mayflower SF paperback, 1975. Cover illustration by Peter Jones.

"In the wilderness of Britain little of civilization remains. Decadence and division have overtaken the huddled people of festival. And faith in the texts of the old gods - Dhillon, Djeggar and Morrizen - is fading fast.
Beyond the city walls the tribes are massing, united in evil intent. Hill savages fired by ritual superstition to pillage and slaughter. Satanic horseriders inspired by drugs to rape and defile. And crystal-crazed iggy at the head of them all - a despot in search of a territory. A territory like festival."

Friday, 9 September 2011


Orbit paperback, 1976. Cover artist uncredited.

"Among the handful of writers who make up the real hardcore of science fiction, Edward E. Smith stands supreme. His 'Skylark' and 'Lensman' series set a standard for breathtaking intergalactic adventure which has never been surpassed.
shows the master story-teller at the top of his form in this story of a brash new race erupting into space, determined to risk their very existence in a bid to take over the Galactic Empire and prevent it falling into the hands of tyrants."

Thursday, 8 September 2011


Panther SF paperback, 1977. Cover illustration by Chris Foss.

"Jules and Yvette d'Alembert had faced challenges before - but rarely one as daunting as this. To them fell the perilous task of infiltrating a vicious conspiracy which threatened to destroy the Stanley Dynasty and throw the whole interstellar civilization into chaos.
Now, as rival candidates from all corners of the galaxy gather for the progress, the two most daring space super-agents of all time go into action. For among the suitors competing to be consort to the royal heiress of the empire of earth, there is a traitor. And somewhere close to the princess, a time bomb is ticking..."


Hamlyn SF paperback, 1979. Illustration: Tim White.

"'what's the lion game?' asked Telzey of her captors. 'you're engaged in it now,' was their answer. 
It was a game of mental chess played on the intricate closed-transit circuits of an entire world by a race of giant mentalists who acknowledged no allegiance to the civilized planets. 
Telzey was a human and, as such, a test piece - either a pawn to be sacrificed or a wild queen who could make her own decisions, she was never sure which. Either way the loser would not be just one talented earthling; the loser would be a whole civilization, and possibly a few peaceful planets as well..."

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Corgi paperback, 1972. Cover artist uncredited.

"The brain was perfect, the tiny, crippled body useless.

So technology rescued the brain and put it in an environment that conditioned it to live in a different kid of body - a spaceship.
Here the human mind, more subtle, infinitely more complex than any computer ever devised, could be linked to the massive and delicate strengths, the total recall, and the incredible speeds ot space. But the brain behind the ship was entirely feminine - a complex, loving, strong, weak, gently savage - a personality, all-woman, called Helva..."


NEL paperback, 1975. Artwork by Ray Feibush.

"Earth was a planet of incompetents, but Simmons was the greatest loser of all. It seemed as if the powers of the universe were concentrated on grinding his small soul into ultimate insignificance...Until the aliens came. To them, simmons was the most important human on the planet - for only through his mind could they overcome this world."


Panther Science Fiction paperback, 1977 reprint.
Cover illustration by Peter Jones.

"The biggest advertising sign in the solar system...Dinosaurs of the mesozoic era - armed with guns...The fall of a future Atlantis - these and many more mind-spinning delights await the reader within this latest collection of Isaac Asimov's shorter science fiction.

Never before collected into book form, the stories in Buy Jupiter span twenty-three years of Dr Asimov's writing career. Each brilliant tale comes complete with fascinating details of the circumstances in which the author wrote it. The result is an unsurpassed combination of first-rate entertainment and an intriguing look at the development of the twentieth century's greatest master of science fiction."


Darwinian Pool Room
Day Of The Hunters
Shah Guido G.
Button, Button
The Monkey's Finger
The Pause
Let's Not
Each An Explorer
Does A Bee Care?
Silly Asses
Buy Jupiter
A Statue For Father
Rain, Rain, Go Away
Founding Father
Exile To Hell
Key Item
The Proper Study
2430 A.D.
The Greatest Asset
Take A Match
Thiotimoline To The Stars
Light Verse

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Corgi paperback, 1970. Cover artist uncredited.

"There was the sudden stench of a dead sea creature....
There was the horror of a huge black shape closing over her.... 
There was nothing.... 
Then there was the memory....isolated fragments that were so horrible her mind refused to accept them....Intense heat and shivering cold....Excruciating pain....Dismembered pieces of the human body....Sawn bones and searing screams.... 
And when she awoke she found she was in a world that was not earth, and with a face and body that were not her face and body. 
She had become a Restoree..."


Macfadden paperback, second printing, June 1970.
Cover painting: Jack Faragasso.

"The machine decided who would live and who would die. It provided food from mechanized plants. It enabled people to travel to distant planets, or to go backward and forward in time. The only thing in the universe it had not yet changed was man. Here is a world in which new problems and new dangers have replaced the familiar ones - but man continues his age-old battle to retain mastery over the machines he created."


The Frozen Planet by Keith Laumer
Growing Season by F. L. Wallace
Cinderella Story by Allen Kim Lang
The Quality Of Mercy by Daniel Keyes
Gleaners by Clifford D. Simak


Berkley Medallion paperback, 1963. Cover artwork
by Richard M. Powers.

"The late, lamented Beyond, edited by H. L. Gold, published during its career some of the best adult fantasy and science fiction stories written in America - stories by masters such as Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury and Algis Budrys" 
-Damon Knight.
"The Watchful Poker Chip - Ray Bradbury tells the story of a man who had one of his eyes replaced with the most beautiful poker chip in the world... 

The Real People - a startling story which shows that most of us are only puppets - and Algis Budrys proves it... 

The Ghost Maker - Frederik Pohl demonstrates that if you track real magic to its lair, you may be very, very sorry..."


 The Watchful Poker Chip by Ray Bradbury
The Ghost Maker by Frederik Pohl
Can Such Beauty Be? by Jerome Bixby
The Real People by Algis Budrys
The Beautiful Brew by James E. Gunn
I'd Give A Dollar by Winston Marks
The Root And The Ring by Wyman Guinn
Double Whammy by Fredric Brown
Talent by Theodore Sturgeon


Methuen paperback, 1976. Cover artist uncredited.

"Scattered over the densely populated solar system there is a small group of immortals. One of them, Dr Sequoya guess, attempts to take over Extro, the supercomputer complex that controls all mechanical activity on earth. But instead Extro takes over Guess, and the combination turns suddenly evil. Dr Guess must be destroyed - but how do you kill an immortal?"

Monday, 5 September 2011


Coronet SF paperback, 1975. Cover artwork by Chris Foss.

"P 939 - the greatest venereal disease in the history of mankind
The day Gabriel Chrome, a failed book sculptor contemplating suicide on the Thames embankment, stumbled on the suicide bid of the naked Camilla Greylaw, was a day of hopeful redemption for a corrupt and violent world. For the lovely form that he chanced to preserve was the sole carrier of a contagious venereal disease. A bug which could inhibit the aggressive instinct, rendering total placidity in all humans. At once Gabriel's life has new meaning and purpose. To save mankind becomes his hardened ambition. But mankind seems far from hope."


Orbit paperback, 1978. Cover painting by Peter Jones.

"Robert Silverberg: a giant among sf writers, a master of the macabre, the fantastic, the satirical and the amazing. Here is the very best of his shorter fiction. 
HAWKSBILL STATION: one of the great classics of time travel; 
NIGHTWINGS: the Hugo award-winning masterpiece; 
PASSENGERS: the chilling Nebula winner; 
GOOD NEWS FROM THE VATICAN: sly and elegant, a Nebula award-winner; and six more superb stories."


Road To Nightfall
Warm Man
To See The Invisible Man
The Sixth Palace
Hawksbill Station
Good News From The Vatican


Sphere SF paperback, 1975. Cover artist uncredited, possibly
Bruce Pennington or Ray Feibush.

"The Underpeople were mutated from animal stock to serve mankind. They lived downdeep in the forgotten corridors and caverns of old earth, servants to the men who bred them in their own image.

But even underpeople dream - and often have strange powers.

And now they have a strange ally in the richest man who ever lived: the man who owned the whole planet." 

This is my second copy of The Underpeople. I didn't intend on owning two different copies, but found this one in a box with about thirty other books. 


Ace paperback, 1969. Cover art: Jeff Jones.

"Marooned on the strange planet Tschai, Adam Reith agreed to lead an expedition to return the princess Ylin Ylan, the flower of Cath, to her homeland halfway around the globe. 
Monsters of land and sea lay before them, and beings both human and alien who might rob, kill or enslave them. Tschai was a large planet, an ancient planet, where four powerful alien races struggled for mastery while humans were treated as pawns; nothing would be easy for Reith on this journey. 
But the girl's father was enormously wealthy, her homeland technologically sophisticated. If reith was ever to obtain human aid in returning to Earth, where better than Cath? If he could get there..."

This is quite an infamous paperback; Wankh sounds like a particular example of Commonwealth slang that Jack Vance was unaware of at the time. He was convinced to change the offending word for Wannek in later editions.


Arrow paperback, 1978. Cover artwork by Melvyn Grant.

"Darkover had once been home to Jeff Kerwin - a home he'd left and then yearned after for many years. But when, finally, he returned it was to mystery and fear. For there was no record of his birth there, nor of his childhood. And when he joined the freedom fighters who struggled to overthrow earth's control of the planet, the Darkovans accused him of being a spy. Had Jeff been conditioned, on Earth, to betray Darkover? He, himself was no longer sure of who - or what - he really was!"

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Sphere SF paperback, 1978 reprint. Cover painting
by Melvyn Grant.

"Behind the walls of Terra lay a secret no man could be allowed to learn. But Kickaha - the Earth-born adventurer of the Tiered Worlds - had to uncover that secret, or watch his home world destroyed.
Kickaha was returning to earth from the World of Tiers, the many-levelled universe of the god-like lords, that he had entered many years ago as Paul Janus Finnegan. Now he had returned to a world he no longer knew, to find it ruled by Red Orc, a lord jealous of his personal domain and hostile to intruders. Yet Kickaha had to stay alive in order to defeat the deadly enemy that threatened Rarth and the other Worlds of Tiers - the 'Beller', the malignant creature that was the mind-essence of a rebel lord."


Mayflower-Dell paperback, 1964. Cover painting by
Richard M. Powers.

"George Braderick, a civilian GS-5 civil service employee, was also a sergeant major in the national guard. His principal duty was to guard the local armoury. It was as such that he became the target of the sinister dr. Ludwig taun - and the victim. Here is the story of a desperate struggle for power in a world without the dimensions we know."


Penguin SF paperback, 1979. Cover illustration by
Adrian Chesterman.

"Xanthe is a member (female) of a research team which is investigating the possibilities of humanoid robots, in a world of chaos and starvation...Two types of robot have been produced: the Pragmapractors, who do the conventional manual work; and the Philophrenics, who have been programmed to more human levels, to feel affection, to talk, and even construct themselves. The question is: should they be allowed to go further?"


Arrow paperback, 1979. Cover artist uncredited.

"Institute courses told a grim story about the network - that savage world beyond the closely guarded Institute gates. But they wanted to see for themselves. They had to know. 
Were there really females there? Would their training as mercenaries prepare them for the wild bands of grisly subhumans? 
They set out on a journey of discovery only to become the unwitting agents of forces that threatened to destroy the only world they'd ever known."

Saturday, 3 September 2011


Pyramid paperback, first printing, October 1963.
Cover painting by Jack Gaughan.

"It wasn't possible. No earth-made missile could escape deflection - or destruction! - by the sentry satellites that kept radar watch on the space around Venus for a million miles out.
But on they came, faster than anything had ever travelled before! And they shook the planet Venus like a toy rattle, ripping deep wounds in its desolate flank, swallowing cities whole. 
What was this strange new weapon? What defense could be erected against a "blind bomb?" the questions came as commands to Venus-born, Earth-reared Alex Frost. But when Alex completed his secret mission to the sweet planet of his youth, he returned weary and disillusioned. 
Once again - in 2154 A.D. - the powers-that-were on earth had corrupted the peaceful research of its scientific community and turned it toward destruction. Space War I could no longer be avoided..."


Belmont paperback, first printing, March 1963.
Cover artist uncredited.

"The vault was like a prison, harsh with artificial sunlight, each of the twenty computer units guarded by heavy bars. You could look up at the glittering tiers of memory banks and stimulus response units and tell yourself that the big brain was on our side. But if the unit flashed its cold light upon you...
Far down the vault a man screamed. His fists were clenched and he raged curses at the humming computers. There was agony in his eyes, and defiance. 
"I had no right to interfere (it was a problem for the security guards) but I did. I'd seen men killed or crippled for life. In six long strides, I crossed the vault..."

It Was The Day Of The Robot is an original paperback novelization of the famous short story Made To Order, published by special arrangement with the author.


NEL paperback, 1980 reprint. Illustration: Gerald Grace.

A lone scientist working on man's one desperate chance against conquerors from space. A man and a woman in a world where the battle of the sexes has become a death struggle. A future world where citizens are commanded to be happy or to suffer destruction. A last stand against the all-powerful dictatorship that has taken over earth..."


Humans Go Home
The Reflected Men
All The Loving Androids
Laugh, Clone, Laugh (with Forrest J. Ackerman)
Research Alpha (with James H. Schmitz)


NEL paperback, 1978. Illustration: Joe Petagno.

Their rival empire had dared challenge Earth's supremacy of the stars. In vicious retaliation their race was nearly wiped out, and their home planet left lifeless and burn out. These old and terrible memories were etched deep in Georgias' memory. They drove him on over the lonely and hate-filled centuries, seeking a vengeance that would bring eternal glory. But the lovely Myraa, beloved from long ago, had a different and strange vision that did not include empires and wars and armies. And she constantly called him, drawing him always back to her side..."

Friday, 2 September 2011


Pan paperback, 1974. Cover artist uncredited; signature visible,
albeit illegible.

"Through the lowering clouds came the face of Zardoz, the god who gave Zed and the Exterminators the right to mate, the means to kill. What else in life was meaningful?
Then Zed entered the Godhead seeking its mysteries, entering the world of the Vortex, where Death was banished for ever, stirring the long-forgotten sexual desires of the eternals, dividing them, reversing time itself to find the true secret of the Tabernacle... 

Zed - an unlikely champion against eternal evil..."

Sunday, 28 August 2011


"Starting with his first appearance on ballantine's paperbacks in the 1950s, Richard Powers's career spanned over four decades in which he produced jacket illustrations for over 1,200 sf novels. Now widely regarded as the single most influential artist in the history of paperback illustrative art, he is also considered a figure of towering stature in american twentieth-century fine art. 
Richard Powers died in 1995. 
Illustrated throughout with over 120 of the artist's powerfully evocative and dreamlike paintings, this dramatic and colourful book reveals the full diversity of powers's distinctive art. 
Includes an inside look at his life by his son Richard Gid Powers, interviews with the innovative artist himself and a forward by Vincent Di Fate."
"More than any individual author, Richard Powers showed the public that science fiction could be written by intelligent adults for intelligent adults. His superior aesthetics, which still overshadow most rivals, were actually what started me reading modern sf - with Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, the cover for which perfectly captured the mood of that great American novel. I bought the book in Paris in 1957 because the cover looked cool. It didn't insult either my eye or my intelligence. So if it hadn't have been for powers, my romance with science fiction would have ended in my teens. I have huge admiration for him and am delighted that his talent is again on splendid display!"
-Michael Moorcock.

Back cover from the anthology Star Science Fiction Stories #1, 1953. 

Cover for the novel The Star Of Life by Edmund Hamilton, 1960.

Cover for Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s The Sirens Of Titan, 1990.

Interior illustration for Stardance II by Spider and Jeanne Robinson,
as featured in Analog, September 1978.

Interior illustration for Stardance II by Spider and Jeanne Robinson,
as featured in Analog, September 1978.

I've owned this book for years now but somehow neglected it throughout the existence of this blog until now. Of all the books with SF art as subject matter, The Art Of Richard Powers is one of the best and easiest to obtain with copies going for £3 - £10 used and new on both eBay and Amazon. Published in 2001 by Paper Tiger the book is crammed with full-colour illustrations, interviews and biographical essays - one of my favourite aspects of the book is a complete check-list of novels with publisher and publication data for every book that Powers worked on.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Digit Books paperback, 1961. Cover artist uncredited.

"Earthman Gary Towler is treated like a pariah; for his task as chief interpreter for the corrupt and tyrannical Nuls makes other humans avoid him as a traitor. Nor is he trusted by the three-armed mammoth rulers themselves. The leaders realize that Gary knows too much. When the Humans leading the underground rebellion demand Gary's aid or his life, he is caught between two untrustful forces. And his only way out is to make himself into a one-man third force against two worlds' plotters."


Pan SF paperback, 1971. Cover artist uncredited.

"Defying time, Jack Breton crosses into a parallel world to regain Kate - the wife who, nine years earlier, was found raped and strangled in a lonely park. But, in the alternate time-stream Kate is married to his double, John. And for one husband to remain either Jack or John must die..."

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Hodder paperback, 1971. Artwork by Chris Foss.

"They called him the Survivor - a 20th Century man 'reborn' in 2113
After a devastating atomic holocaust, mankind had now turned to the machine to solve his problems. Which led to the androids - descended from the robot, they were hardly distinguishable from real humans. By the year 2113 they ran society - leaving man to a life of leisure. 
It was into this world that John Markham emerged after spending 146 years of suspended animation in an underground deep-freeze unit. But his new lease on life was likely to be a short one. A man with his 'outdated' ideas could be very dangerous - a fact the androids realized only too well..."


Arrow SF paperback, 1976. Cover painting by David Bergen.

For a selected, genetically-fitted few among the teeming millions of the twenty-first century, to become a messenger for the hulm institute is to escape the prison that is life, that is earth. 
And inside a messenger's head is murder, impotence and despair."

Friday, 12 August 2011


Penguin SF paperback, 1975. Cover illustration by David Pelham.

"Thirteen fantastic new stories on the classic themes of science fiction by: Isaac Asimov/Poul Anderson/Robert Silverberg/Harlan Ellison/Frederik Pohl/Brian Aldiss/Harry Harrison/Philip K. Dick and others. Between them the contributors have won all the awards bestowed by science fiction: seventeen Hugos, ten Nebulas and the John W. Campbell memorial award. In this very special original collection, each writer is at the top of his form, each attempting to create the ultimate on a given theme."


We Purchased People by Frederik Pohl
The Voortrekkers by Poul Anderson
Great Escape Tours, Inc. by Kit Reed
Diagrams For Three Enigmatic Stories by Brian W. Aldiss
Thou Art Mindful Of Him! by Isaac Asimov
We Three by Dean R. Koontz
An Old Fashioned Girl by Joanna Russ
Catman by Harlan Ellison
Space Rats Of The CCC by Harry Harrison
Trips by Robert Silverberg
The Wonderful All-Purpose Transmogrifier by Barry N. Malzberg
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
A Little Something For Us Tempunauts by Philip K. Dick