I’m following up last weeks post with one more series that I really like. In the late 60′s and early 70′s sci-fi author James Blish got commissioned to write a series of books that contained short story adaptations of the TV show. He started on volume one and made it all the way to twelve before he passed away, his run with writing this series was eight years long. Each book had a volume number and contained around ten short stories. Over the course of these twelve books there were many different artists that worked on the cover illustrations but the text treatments for the most part remained the same. How can you not love those big volume numbers on the cover, so good. I posted a few of my favorites from the series above but I encourage everyone to seek out the other covers and post personal favorites in the comments below.
My favorite would have to be volume six. This volume along with numbers four and eight (also favorites) were illustrated by Lou Feck. One reason I love Lou Feck is that his work is very easily recognizable when you are flipping rapidly through the paper back bins at your local used book store, high contrast and very dramatic. I am planning on doing a whole post dedicated to Lou, he is one of my favorite sci-fi cover illustrators and there are many other great ones outside of his work on this Star Trek series.
Number five was done by Mitchell Hooks, and I have to admit I didn’t know much about him before this post. When I went searching for more sci-fi work of his I really couldn’t find anything that came close to this one in terms of subject matter and style. A lot of his work seemed to be for mystery/thriller books and also some magazine cover work. Although much of his other work doesn’t quite fall under the sci-fi category I felt this image fits in well here so I included it. I hope you guys are enjoying this series.
A quick thanks to @jakekouba on instagram for tagging a few of these Star Trek covers a week or so back. Keep the #sundayscifi tags coming!
This week’s post starts with one of my personal favorite covers–Childhood’s End, which is also a great read. It’s pretty short and I think its up there with Arthur C Clarke’s best. On the back book cover I learned that Ballantine Books did a whole series of similarly illustrated covers–all just as beautiful. I love how the same illustration style and structure is maintained over the entire series of covers while each book is given its own dominant color. When I sat down to look into the series’ artist, everything unfortunately end in “artist unknown” or “uncredited cover art.” There is some speculation that the artist of the Earthlight cover may be Dean Ellis, but it’s not enough to tie him to any of them for sure. While I debated not posting this series after I found no conclusive artist, I decided they’re too good not to post. I am hoping a solid artist credit surfaces so that I can come back here to post an update. If anyone comes across anything, be sure to post in the comments below.
I’m happy to see the #sundayscifi tag on instagram is starting to get some posts. I will be pulling some ideas for future editions on there (in fact there is one I already know for sure I will be posting). As always, feel free to share your own favorite sci fi artist suggestions or thoughts on the post in the blog comments.
Paul Lehr illustrated a ton of work for sci-fi kings like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and H.G. Wells. While last week we saw John Berkey’s scientific and technical approach to space craft and space flight, Lehr’s work is certainly more organic in both his subjects and technique. He leans more towards fantasy-like creatures, life forms, and orbs. There is also a recurring scene of numerous people all surrounding an object or life form. I find it interesting when artists have a heavy overarching presence of certain themes in their art; links between separate bodies of work. I was thinking while posting this week’s covers how different one artist’s view of the future can be from the others’. I think that seeing each artist’s different take on the future will be an interesting part of this series.
I’m curious–does anyone has any favorite images from this week or a preference between the styles seen this week or last?
Ducking into used bookstores over weekends and after work, I have become a bit of a sci-fi paperback junky. I love the feeling of rummaging through stacks of forgotten paperbacks and discovering that hidden gem of a cover. There is just something about the idea of the future as illustrated by artists of the past that I find fascinating. If you do enough digging you can come away with some great covers for under a few bucks. Recently I began scanning and cataloguing my finds and this has led me to the idea for a new blog series I will be posting here on Sundays. Every week my post will be inspired by one of the covers I own or a new find. Some of these may be well known while others more obscure. I look at this as a way to learn about and resurrect some of the great cover illustrators and designers of the sci-fi genre. If you have suggestions or your own favorites, leave a comment or contribute to the collection of covers with a nice straight on shot of your find and tag it #Sundayscifi on Instagram. I started the tag off with a few of my own images but I would love everyone to include their finds.
To start the post off, I am featuring one of the better known artists of the sci-fi genre. Most know John Berkey for his illustrations for Star Wars, but he holds a massive catalogue of varying types of work. Beginning in the 1960s, he was commissioned by NASA to further their space program as part of their efforts to travel beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and ultimately to the moon. No matter the type of work, I consistently love his use of color. My personal favorite thing about his work are his spaceships. The details of his images draw you in and you can get lost looking at every tiny detail he includes.
You may recall the post I did a while back on Daily Book Graphics. Well apparently I misidentified several of those images as vintage covers when in fact they were modern works by designer Julian Montague who is part of the Buffalo based design duo Frazer / Montague.
Last week I shared with you the start of a 4 [maybe more?] part series of covers that some of my friends did that was free to download here. Here is volume 2:
Calmer covers Bob James: I think when I asked Calmer to cover the Taxi theme song he thought I was joking but I actually wasn’t I always play this song when I DJ late nights. He does a great hazy looped cover which shows off his drumming skills and that was what I was hoping for.
Andre Obin covers Editors: Boston’s Andre Obin is the bridge from Synth Pop to Underworld/the older Kompakt sound, he covered Munich, he went with a great direction which was ditching the sped up original and owning the vocals.
Tom Croose edits Van Morrison: Our Tom Croose does what he does best which is turning rock oldies into respectable dance floor pleasers without referencing that whole Justice dance beat movement, back to the basics for 2010 and more from Tom Croose. [Sorry, this song has been removed due to a DMCA complaint]
D. Gookin covers Primus: Are you ready for your early teen years to flash before your eyes? D. Gookin might have just made the rowdiest intro for a song ever posted on iso50 but don’t let that fool you the cover is really diverse and he did it within hours on his drum kit. I asked Gookin to do it because on tour over a year ago he played a ton of Primus for us in the car and I could tell he loved them plus Pork Soda was the first CD I ever bought so I thought it would be fitting.
Charles Trees remixes Mayer Hawthorne: Ann Arbor, MI remixing Ann Arbor, MI both Mayer and Charles are around my age and from the same city as me. You may know Charles from his other alias Mingus Rude who gave us that very memorable Fleetwood Mac edit. Charles does a fantastic job of making Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out more heady and head noddy which totally made my ears smile.
It was my birthday this weekend and I went out on a limb earlier in the week for a last minute HUGE favor from some close musician friends to do covers of some of my favorite songs or songs I thought the musician would do a cover of really well and surprisingly they agreed….20 of them! So here are the first 5:
Benoit Pioulard covers Hum: This is absolutely stunning, Benoit has a voice that i’d want to have if I could sing. I heard once that Benoit liked Hum so I asked him to cover a song by them and everyone should be more glad with this outcome.
Corbu covers Colder: This one was a touchy song since its probably one of my favorite songs of all time but I didn’t want an all electronic or post rock group to cover it so I asked Brooklyn’s experimental guitar duo to do it right and they did by taking it to a very unique and detailed level that i’m sure you’ll enjoy.
Alex Cornell covers Empire Of The Sun: You know him from his phenomenal work and posts on the blog and if you haven’t already seen him on youtube then here’s a very fine example of what he’s capable of creating musically.
A Setting Sun covers Tracy Chapman: A Setting Sun probably had the most challenging and off the radar cover to do but I thought a brighter doom metal approach might the only thing that would make this matchless pair up work and he killed it, especially check out how he gets to the end which is surprising after you hear the first few seconds.
Shigeto covers Boards Of Canada: This one is out there, as some of you may know Shigeto is a drummer that makes beats similar to Dabrye meets Caribou or something of that nature but loves to experiment so I thought why not see what he could do with a Boards Of Canada song since I know he’ll try to get crazy with it and not steer towards the guitar angle which I had to hear.