Category: Science Fiction

  • Perry Rhodan

    Perry Rhodan

    I briefly came across the German science fiction series Perry Rhodan in the mid-seventies when Futura/Orbit published the first 38 novels in the series, and later on when I picked up half a dozen of the US Ace translations. Despite its many detractors, the vast sprawling saga consisting of almost 3000 episodes has endured in […]

  • Astral Jewellery and the Mind-Exploding Climax

    Astral Jewellery and the Mind-Exploding Climax

    At the end of his ground-breaking book One Hundred Years of Science Fiction Ilustration, 1840 – 1940 (1974), Anthony Frewin included an appendix on the adverts that appeared in the pages of Amazing Stories, Astounding and Science Wonder in the 1920s and 30s. Unsurprisingly in an America slowly emerging from the Depression, self-help and education […]

  • 1984 – John Hurt (1984)

    1984 – John Hurt (1984)

    My favourite John Hurt film has to be Michael Radford’s 1984, released in the same year, with Hurt as Winston Smith, Richard Burton as O’Brien and Suzanna Hamilton as Julia. Finally reaching the year inevitably prompted endless discussions about whether reality matched Orwell’s original vision. Not surprisingly the Labour party pointed out how Thatcher’s Britain […]

  • Space Games

    Space Games

    I guess, like many, I fell in love with the visual style of No Man’s Sky. The screenshots posted in the build up to its release looked like the covers of 1960s science fiction magazines – Galaxy, If and Worlds of Tomorrow. That, plus the promise of a vast galaxy of procedurally-generated unique planets, many […]

  • An Interview with Edmund Cooper by James Goddard

    An Interview with Edmund Cooper by James Goddard

    James Goddard has very kindly agreed to let me reprint his interview with Edmund Cooper from Science Fiction Monthly Volume 2 Number 4. This first appeared in 1975 when Cooper’s career as an SF writer had more or less peaked. As individuals, the characters in many of your books lack the identity of singular people […]

  • Edmund Cooper

    Edmund Cooper

    There’s a poignant anecdote that Terry Pratchett once told about a book signing. A young woman in the queue told him that her father was once a famous science fiction writer, but no-one these days had heard of him. When he asked who it was she replied Edmund Cooper.  Certainly in the early 1970s the […]

  • The Final Programme (1973)

    The Final Programme (1973)

    Here’s another film that seems pretty apt for the current state of the UK post-Brexit – Robert Fuest’s end of the world-lite version of Michael Moorcock’s classic novel The Final Progamme (released in the US as The Last Days of Man on Earth). It starred Jon Finch as Jerry Cornelius and Jenny Runacre as Miss […]

  • The Art of Jack Gaughan

    The Art of Jack Gaughan

    Hot on the heels of Peter A. Jones, here’s my tribute to another great SF artist who, sadly, is no longer with us. The vast majority of science fiction art through the ages has been illustrative, which is not particularly surprising as book and magazine artists have usually either depicted scenes from whatever story they’ve […]

  • The Art of Peter A. Jones

    The Art of Peter A. Jones

    As part of my ad hoc trundle through the greats of 70s and 80s Science Fiction book covers I thought I’d turn my attention this time to the work of Peter A. Jones, or PAJ as he signed himself. Jones came slightly later to the scene than his contemporaries Chris Foss and Bruce Pennington, doing […]

  • Eschatus – Bruce Pennington (1976)

    Eschatus – Bruce Pennington (1976)

    One of the strangest books to come out of the 1970s fantasy art imprint Paper Tiger had to be Bruce Pennington’s Eschatus (1976). I’ve already briefly spoken about Pennington as one of the iconic science fiction book artists of the era, working largely with New English Library. His work stood in stark contrast to the […]

  • Science Wonder Stories – June 1929

    Science Wonder Stories – June 1929

    The first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, is forever linked to Hugo Gernsback. In reality he was only in charge for three years. By April 1929 the Experimenter Publishing Company was bankrupt and Gernsback sold all his titles, including Amazing. Yet two months later he bounced back with three new magazines – Science Wonder Stories, […]

  • Zardoz (1974)

    Zardoz (1974)

    What better way to recover from New Year’s Eve than a leisurely afternoon watching John Boorman’s cult classic Zardoz. Putting aside the seriously disturbing sight of a post-Bond ever so slightly flabby Sean Connery dressed in Vampirella’s swimming costume and thigh length leather boots while sporting a porn moustache it’s difficult to know where to […]

  • Cosmic Fire Clowns – Bob Haberfield’s Moorcock covers.

    Cosmic Fire Clowns – Bob Haberfield’s Moorcock covers.

    On the one hand it’s great that SF and Fantasy are more or less mainstream these days, and so every Waterstones has a huge selection to browse. On the other I do sometimes find myself looking at the shelves and feeling a bit ‘meh’ at the overall sameness of the cover art on display. I […]

  • Lovecraft by I. N. J. Culbard

    Lovecraft by I. N. J. Culbard

    A while back I wrote about the H. P Lovecraft Historical Society’s film of The Whisperer in Darkness. It’s a great movie and by and large it does a good job of rendering a classic Lovecraft tale in the style of ‘40s film noir. Yet at the same time it highlights a lot of the […]

  • Jodorowsky’s Dune – Documentary (2013)

    Jodorowsky’s Dune – Documentary (2013)

    In 1977 the film-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky wrote an introduction to Dragon Dream’s monograph on the paintings of Chris Foss, 21st Century Foss (1977). The essay describes the artist as ‘a being who carried his drawings with the same ultra-maternal care as the Kaitanese Kangarooboos carry the children born of their self-insemination.’ Apparently Foss would ‘go […]

  • The sexual politics of Imperator Furiosa’s left arm

    The sexual politics of Imperator Furiosa’s left arm

    Mad Max Fury Road was just as brilliant the second time round I saw it. For what is essentially a colossal car chase in one direction, followed by a 180 degree turn and a colossal car chase all the way back, the intelligence buried in all the detail in and around the constant explosions and […]

  • Paperback AntiHelix and a Goodreads giveaway!

    Paperback AntiHelix and a Goodreads giveaway!

    The paperback version of AntiHelix is now available from Amazon. Above you can see it next to the first two books in the series with their new covers!. I’m now cracking on with the final volume. I’ve also set up a giveaway on Goodreads, so if you click on the link below you might have a chance […]

  • AntiHelix out now!

    AntiHelix out now!

    Remorseless, vicious and brilliant – General Crysanthe Uella has dedicated her life to ensuring humanity will escape from the embers of a dead universe. But the corrupt lords of a decaying empire have betrayed her, tearing away everything and everyone she ever cared for. She has one last chance to redeem herself – a final […]

  • Ragged Claws

    Ragged Claws

    5 out of 5 – Jane Dougherty, Amazon.com. “This is a wonderful book, a massive canvas of purple and blood red skies, oceans of liquid metal, decomposing cities full of fear and squalor inside the body of God (yup, that’s right), nightmarish beings, and exquisite beauty.” … Read the whole review here.   Ragged Claws, […]

  • Thumb

    Thumb

    Reviews of Thumb Adrian Tchaikovsky – Shadows of the Apt “Thumb is a superb book, one that makes the madness work.” Ian Watson “Splendidly strange, vividly original.” 5 out of 5 – ABShepherd, Amazon.com. “A five star rating is a rare thing for me to give no matter how I obtained the book. A book must […]