Tag: science fiction

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Visual Trope: the Alien Encounter

On this snowbound Solstice weekend in New England, I happened to be reading reviews of The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, and pondering the ways in which humans have envisioned our first contact with alien life forms. Without going too heavily into the subject, I pondered the range of human-alien frission typically presented in SF, from the over-hyped assumption of instant warfare, or the however improbable love at first site, to the more nuanced anthropological approaches of Chad Oliver and the intensely portrayed psychological gestalts of Theodore Sturgeon. At that point Sturgeon’s amazing story To Marry Medusa (aka _The Cosmic Rape_) popped into my mind, and in particular the lush red cover image for the 1968 paperback by Paul Lehr. This image, so typical of Lehr (with a mountainous half-organic construction looming in the center, while miniscule beings flit around it like so many fleas,) represents the contact between human and alien minds in the realm of abstraction and metaphor. In that sense it fascinates more than the familiar image of some athletic dork with a ray gun zapping the tentacles off of a bug-eyed wierdo.

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How to envision Lem?

An interesting problem: illustrate a cover for the fiction of Stanislaw Lem. How would you do it? Here is a nice little gallery of rarely seen Lem covers, collected by one of the very best tribu

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Steele Savage, can you give me an "e"?

Enjoyed reading a copy of Heinlein’s novel “Have Spacesuit Will Travel,” with an especially nice cover by Steele Savage. Which made me curious to look up more covers by the same artist. He seems to h

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CUSFuSsing Fanzine Archive

Yes, in the late 1970s there were some *very* weird science fiction fans at Columbia University. Some read stacks of comics and novels every day, then meticulously reviewed them for the Columbia Univ

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Who Gives a Hoot von Zitzewitz?

The interesting cover on Arthur Sellings The Uncensored Man attracted my eye in a San Francisco bookshop on Polk Street several years ago. It featured a sort of typical 1960s collage of a man’s face

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Easter Bunny Meets Goord and Lod

As the sunny day passes, I am reading one of the finest books ever written, The Star Diaries, written by my personal hero, Stanislaw Lem. When I pause to look at the news headlines, it is always a sh

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Zombies Devour the Lawless Elite: Boskone 2008

This year at Boskone, there were some interesting panels, great painting demos by Bob Eggleton and Omar Rayyan, and a nice gallery of paintings from Boskones past and present alongside works by the Artist GOH, Dean Morrissey. Anthropology, SF, and Chad Oliver The first panel I attended was on the works of Chad Oliver, the great anthropologist / SF author from Texas. Amy Thomson, whose work on the encounters between humans and aliens (and between robot girl and humans) remarked that, in fact, she was not influenced by Oliver before writing the Color of Distance and Through Alien Eyes, and only came to appreciate the anthropological aspects of Oliver’s science fiction in retrospect. George Zebrowski told of his long working relationship with Chad Oliver. When he worked with Crown Books as editor for their Classics of Modern Science Fiction series in the mid-1980s, Zebrowski was asked what the first ten volumes should be, and he told them that the three of those ten should include Chad Oliver’s novels: Shores of Another Sea, Shadows of the Sun, and Unearthly Neighbors. Three out of ten? By the same author! Was Zebrowski out of his mind? But, in fact, Crown ended up supporting the suggestion and those novels did appear as the 3rd, 8th, and 9th volumes in the series.

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Postsingular Now!

Hey, folks, you should all know that Rudy Rucker’s next far out adventure is in print! You have wonderful options to read it: a) buy a <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765317419?ie=UTF8&a