New Treasures: Penguin Science Fiction Postcards: 100 Book Covers in One Box
We’ve already established that I’m a sucker for a cool cover. I don’t have time to read a fraction of the books I buy, but I can look at great cover art all day long. Put an eye-catching cover on your book, and you’ve got my immediate attention.
Put a hundred cool covers on your book, and you can just shut up and take my money.
I think that’s the overall idea behind Penguin Science Fiction Postcards: 100 Book Covers in One Box. It’s sort of like a science fiction book with a great cover, but minus the book. And with 99 other covers. And with the added bonus that you’ll never lack for postcards again, when you need to drop a note to your uncle to remind him to return your copy of The Stars Like Dust. And did I mention the cool box?
Penguin has published a lot of science fiction over the decades. Like, a lot. Waaaay more than a hundred titles. How many exactly? I don’t know, but I bet I know somebody who does. James Pardey at the amazing penguinsciencefiction.org site.
James and his team have indexed every single Penguin science fiction paperback, starting with Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, published under the Penguin imprint in October 1935, to Consider Her Ways and Others by John Wyndham, which appeared last year. They’ve indexed each in chronological order with a clickable thumbnail image, allowing you to spend as many hours as you want gawking and browsing the fabulous Penguin catalog.
Above is a six-year span of that catalog, starting with Michael Moorcock’s A Cure for Cancer (December 1973, cover by David Pelham) to the 1979 reprint of Chocky by John Wyndham, with a cover by Peter Lord.
Obviously, you don’t get every one of these book covers in Penguin Science Fiction Postcards. But you do get a generous sample, all printed on sturdy, glossy card stock. Here’s the description:
A collection of 100 postcards featuring iconic, bizarre, and mind-blowing science fiction book covers
Exploring the weird, wonderful world of science fiction cover art, this set of one hundred postcards includes classic images from some of the of the heavyweights of the genre — H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury — as well as celebrating images from delightfully pulpy cult classics. Inspired by surrealism and pop art, and charting science fiction’s emergence as a literary force, the postcards in this collection will appeal to legions of sci-fi devotees and design fans alike.
Penguin changed art styles several times over the years, starting with rather bland text-based covers, shifting to colorful pop art in the sixties, and gradually developing an iconic style. In the seventies and eighties, their sytle changed again, becoming less design-focused and more art-focused. Have a look (covers again from penguinsciencefiction.org).
Penguin Science Fiction Postcards: 100 Book Covers in One Box was published by Penguin Books on September 29, 2015. It is, well, 100 pages (200 counting both sides), and comes in a nifty box. It is priced at $25, and you know what? There is no digital version.
See all our recent New Treasures here.
My wife hates you, John.
I am not well loved by those who have to manage a budget, it’s true. Or anyone who has something against impulse buying.
I just ordered this set (but didn’t tell my wife). Keep up the Good Work of stimulating the economy!
Ha ha love the comment Thomas. I told my wife this would make a wonderful present. She agreed……grudgingly.
> Keep up the Good Work of stimulating the economy!
Glad to oblige!
Ah some of those covers take me back! I don’t think I realized how much Science Fiction Penguin actually published. However, I am surprised that they included the cover of Connoisseur’s Science Fiction, which is truly awful. Have a look at this link for some comments on a very bad picture:
As bad as the UK cover for Connoisseur’s Science Fiction was, I think the US cover is worse:
William I. Lengeman III reviewed the book for us a few months ago:
We had that cover in the UK. In fact, it’s in the 100 postcards, with a price of 3/6, rather than the 95c. I agree that it is visually uninspiring but is stylistically like a good number of contemporaneous Penguin covers, not just SF but in general. There are people in the UK who collect these editions, because they see them as being more of a pure Penguin brand than the later more colourful covers.
This marvelous set of postcards arrived and they’re wonderful! Thank you for bringing this to our attention! I blogged about it at http://www.georgekelley.org and gave you and BLACK GATE a plug!
> Thank you for bringing this to our attention! I blogged about it at
> http://www.georgekelley.org and gave you and BLACK GATE a plug!
Thanks George! Always glad to be of service.