Tag: 1960s

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Cosmonauts at the British Science Museum

    Cosmonauts at the British Science Museum

    The only mildly interesting scene in that otherwise steaming heap of found-footage nonsense Apollo 18 is when the US astronauts stumble across the Soviet LK Lunar lander sitting in a crater. The real thing was flown unmanned in orbit but never made it to its final destination. Lack of co-ordination and investment in a launch […]

  • Some games I’ve played…

    Some games I’ve played…

      A Happy New Year! I thought I’d kick off 2015 with a blog post about some of the games I’ve played and enjoyed over the last twelve months. Games are often seen as one of the writer’s deadly enemies. They can be a massive time-soak – an easy distraction when writer’s block kicks in […]

  • Soviet Space Art

    Soviet Space Art

    Last week I was working in Russia. I attended a conference in Tver, halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg where I was set on fire. I was also asked to be one of the judges for a final graduation film for one of the students at the All Russian Cinematography University (VGIK for short). As a […]

  • More Grotesque – the world of Bosch and Bruegel

    More Grotesque – the world of Bosch and Bruegel

      This is the second post in a short series about the Grotesque, that sub-genre of Horror and Fantasy that’s characterised by physical distortion, dream imagery and the ordinary made monstrous. In this article I’m going to talk about the Grotesque during the Renaissance, specifically in the works of artists like Hieronymous Bosch and Pieter […]

  • Patrick Woodroffe

    Patrick Woodroffe

    I’d already planned on doing an article on the fantasy artist Patrick Woodroffe when the news came in that he’d passed away and so, sadly, this has become my personal tribute to his powerful and often frightening imagination. Patrick Woodroffe was one of a small group of painters and sculptors working in the 1970s whose […]

  • Tove Jansson – the Truth about the Moomins

    Tove Jansson – the Truth about the Moomins

    A while back I wrote a post about Tove Jansson’s last Moomin book, Moominvalley in November (1971), pointing out that behind the innocent guise of a charming children’s tale lurked a masterpiece of Nordic existentialism. I had no idea. I’ve just finished Boel Westin’s biography of the author Tove Jansson: Life, Art and Words, translated […]

  • Classrooms of the Future

    Classrooms of the Future

    I work in education, advising ministries throughout the world on how to best use technology in the classroom. For most the process is one of constant catch up. Technology changes on a monthly basis, while education systems tend to work on yearly budget cycles. Furthermore if you tinker with something you usually don’t see the […]

  • Olivetti Lettera 32

    Olivetti Lettera 32

    A Happy New Year to everyone! This is my one hundredth post and I thought I’d follow tradition by talking about what Santa brought me for Christmas. When I was eight years old, and a precocious little sod,  I filled a couple of reporter’s notebooks from W. H. Smiths with a ‘novel’. My dad was […]

  • Frank Frazetta

    I’m still waiting for Conan. The first Arnold Schwarzenegger film was kind of OK, and had one or two impressive moments. The second was dire and I still can’t bring myself to watch the remake with Jason Momoa (despite the fact that his Khal Drogo is as close to Conan as anyone – though Rory […]

  • The Singing Ringing Tree

    For a certain generation in the UK, The Singing Ringing Tree, an East German take on a Grimm-style fairy tale is indelibly carved on our psyches, giving us all the screaming habdabs for years. Many of us still wake up crying in the middle of the night over fading visions of large plastic goldfish, grizzly […]

  • Pop Art Spaceman

    I grew up in the Swinging Sixties, and as my parents were an architect and an artist our house was full of the latest trendy examples of art and furniture. As I mentioned before, the interior of Kubrick’s space wheel in 2001 was our lounge, without the curving floor. My mother went to Leeds College […]

  • Frontiers of Space – in memory of Neil Armstrong

    For me the years 1968 – 1969 were a perfect storm for three reasons. Firstly I saw Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey at the age of seven. Not only was I entranced by the movie’s images but also beside myself with excitement at the thought that I would be alive at the grand old […]

  • The Saga of Noggin the Nog

    In the lands of the North, where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale… The TV adaptation of Game of Thrones is impressive in its complexity, sweep and intelligence, […]