It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible


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Judging by its cover

A recent conversation on Twitter with Alastair Reynolds prompted me to dig out my collection of books on science fiction cover art. I think I bought my first one way back in the mid-1980s as part of the introductory offer when I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. (I think I lasted a year in the SFBC before giving up because they rarely had anything I wanted.) In the decades following, I’ve picked up the odd book here and there, chiefly by those artists whose work I like the most. And yes, I know Chris Foss had a massive retrospective collection published last year, but I’ve yet to buy myself a copy.

Anyway, these are the books I do own…

21st Century Foss and Solar Wind I’ve owned for a couple of decades. Diary of a Spaceperson I found on eBay a few years ago, and Journeyman is an even more recent purchase. There’s a huge number of books like these, for years I’ve been meaning to pick up those by Tim White, Bruce Pennington, Tony Roberts, Angus McKie and other sf cover artists I remember from my teenage years…

Four books by the inimitable Jim Burns. I bought Planet Story at a con in, I think, Scarborough, and Jim signed it for me there and then. The copy of Lightship I think I bought signed. Mechanismo was a lucky find on eBay, though my copy has seen better days. Incidentally, I remember at school having several huge posters on my study walls of the art from Planet Story and Mechanismo.

Two of the earliest cover art books I ever bought. Not sure why I never picked up a copy of Roger Dean’s first book, Views. I did have a copy of Syd Mead’s Sentinel but I swapped it with a friend several years ago for, er, something.

I wasn’t old enough to see Alien when it was originally released in 1979, but I bought every book I could find about the film. Including this one by Giger. I can’t remember where I got The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony from. It includes a double LP by Dave Greenslade, which I’ve listened to several times. I can’t say I like it that much.

Finally, some books about the best two sf comic strips ever produced in the UK – Trigan Empire and Dan Dare. My parents bought me a Dan Dare omnibus in the early 1970s, and it became one of my favourite books – until getting chewed by mice when in storage between Gulf postings. In the past ten years, I hunted down and bought copies of the Hawk Publishing omnibus editions of Dare strips. They are brilliant. Trigan Empire I remember from reading Look and Learn at school. At some point, I bought, or someone bought me, the big Hamlyn Trigan Empire omnibus. I still have it somewhere. Several years ago, Don Lawrence Collection bought out a beautifully-produced twelve-volume set of Trigan Empire. I bought them as they were published.

But Dan Dare and Trigan Empire are, I think, a post for another day…

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