Category: robots


Extra Extra: Bid on this Ed Emshwiller "Science Fiction Digest" cover at Heritage Auction Galleries (HA.com) at this writing. What a great piece!

Happy Holidays, 21st Century Earthlings! This is Captain Blastoff, coming to you from the Galaxy Gallery in the future, talking about a great popular art form of the past: No, NOT Cheap Science Fiction Book Covers, but an internet treat that all aliens will adore.

As you may remember, in the last installment of our sizzling space serial, Space Cadet Rik Livingston was under house arrest for being AWOL, and derelict in his duty of translating my futuristic communiqués into blogosity for the citizenry of the early. early 21st century. But I, Captain Blastoff, had canceled the court-martial trial, as Livingston’s spacey art had just led me to a great Science Fiction discovery, a wondrously weird website called GeekCrafts.com, that actually collects the mad makings of gifted geeks from your own great globe!

Truly, this demonstrates my contention that 21st century Earthlings were ready for intergalactic entrepreneuristic enterprise long before the process of space trade actually reached the Sol System. Such treasures abound on Geek Crafts as Motherboard Christmas Trees, a Crocheted Spock Head and an alien iPod pouch! But, why tell you, when I can show you:

Cupcakes with Darth Vader

Eat light saber, Rebel Alliance! Katipeck baked Darth Vader cupcakes. We now know the Dark Side of the force: CHOCOLATE!

Soft Robot

Ever wanna hug a robot? Well, now you can: Buy 'bot's by Bitterbethany! Dig the zipper mouth!

Mr. Spock apron

A logical development in kitchen attire by Nix Sidhe, modeled by her Vulcan boyfriend. "Live long and Puree..."

Star wars images on blanket

"Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray, the Force, my Jedi to keep." Are you Star Wars crazy? Then you'll love this Star Wars Crazy Quilt by Mc Beth of SubversiveCrafting.com

And finally, we have one of the entries by Rik Livingston, that appeared on this scintillating site. While not a Cheap, Science Fiction Paperback Book Cover, per se, I do think the boy has been influenced by the works I’ve been showing you all from the Galaxy Gallery.

Floating astronaut painter

Head over heels in love with art! © Rik Livingston

Read Rik’s interview and then go geeking around ALL the great Geek Crafts. It’s a site not to be missed!

Next: Back to the BOOKS! This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.

Attention, 21st century Earthlings! This is Captain Blastoff, coming to you from the Galaxy Gallery in the future, talking about a great popular art form of the past: Cheap Science Fiction Paperback Book Covers!

This transmission I present the short story collection, Crashing Suns by Edmond Hamilton, Ace 1965.

I guess Eddie was once a pretty big name in SF. He was guest of honor, along with his wife, Leigh Brackett at the 1964 World Science Fiction Convention, and a reader’s choice for most popular back in the classic days of early SF. He worked on Batman and the Legion of Superheroes, too, so you know this book is gonna be some high-toned Literature with a capital “L!”

Crashing Suns is a collection of interstellar opium dreams by Edmond Hamilton. I mean they are reeeeallly out there! These stories were all published between 1928 and 1930 and part of their charm is the old, twisted science: Creatures live inside nebulas and drive comets (and I don’t mean the cars!) There’s always a sort of “Alliance of Suns” that is solar systems who trade with one another. All the spaceships are propelled by “vibrations in the ether.” You can change the course of solar systems by giant electromagnets on your planet. There’s only eight planets in our solar system because Pluto hadn’t been discov…oh wait, guess Pluto isn’t a planet! Well, Ed got that one right anyway!

Space Patrol Crime Stoppers Tip # 9822: Be prepared for petulant pink bubbles packing pistols!

And the dangers are truly epic: In one a solar system in a neighboring galaxy is sweeping by the Milky Way to attract our sun away. In another a comet is heading for Earth; Another a whole nebula is heading for Earth! And the title of the book describes another danger: another sun on it’s way to CRASH poor ol’ Sol!

But it’s the aliens Eddie designs that will really warp your mind: There’s inverted cone creatures with just two eyes and multiple tentacles, for instance. A plant race, an insect race, a crustacean man, a metal man and a heavy-duty buddy that has four arms and four legs. (I think he should have designed for the Masters of the Universe toy line!)

There’s the pink bubble creatures you see on the cover. They pop if you even look at them too hard and all their jellied guts come out!

Then there’s the liquid creatures who live on flat worlds that orbit inside the comet they drive through space. Sometimes they get out of their comet driving square rockets. (Shades of the Borg!) What I really like about them is that, when it’s night, they all ooze together into a big lake of liquid zzzzs!

But the creepiest are probably the eyeless creatures with no heads but flap ears, flap arms and flap legs that live in the “black cloud where light vibrations simply don’t exist,” in the center of the galaxy. Hamilton’s description of the plight of the heroes who get pulled into that dark world is truly nightmarish and claustrophobic. As cartoonish as the situation was, it still gave me the creeeeeps!

These are essentially pulp adventure stories but I love the imagination that went into the creation of the alien worlds and the life forms that inhabit them! I wish I had covers depicting each and every one!!

This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.

Extra: Here’s the cover, also of I Soli che si Scontrano (Italian version of Crashing Suns, Translator: Ugo Malaguti). Guess we can count this as yet another “Alien Abstract” cover? And be sure and check out the Masters of the Universe link…

Some spicy meatballs...

Attention, 21st Century Earthlings! This is Captain Blastoff, coming to you from the Galaxy Gallery in the future, talking about a great popular art form of the past: Cheap Science Fiction Book Covers!

Space Cadets: Ten-hut! ATTENTION! It’s become clear to me that not all of you junior astro-art aficionados have heeded the advice I gave in the last transmission. Some of you have yet to blast off for that treasure trove of timeless visuals that make up the Flikr Photostream of Hang Fire Books’ Pulp Fiction Cover Gallery!

So just to give you a small sample of the screwball sci-fi you’ll find on Flikr, here, presented with a minimum of my usual mutterings. is a mini-gallery of covers for you to whet you’re appetite with, before you visit Hang Fire‘s massive vault of visuals.

No, sadly, I haven’t read all of these books. It’s good to know there is someone out there in the ether, even more spaced out than your good Captain on this mind altering art. If he’s truly read all of the barmy books he has collected the crazy covers to, well, he deserves a special Captain Blastoff medal and decoder ring, for sure! When you drop by, tell him all of us on the Mystic Moonbase know he’ll have a great future. Hang in there, Hang Fire!

This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.

Attention, Earthlings! This is Captain Blastoff, coming to you from the Galaxy Gallery in the future, talking about a great popular art form of the past: Cheap Science Fiction Paperback Book Covers!

This transmission I present TWO short story collections by, easily, one of the greatest Sci-Fi fantasizers alive today, :Frederick Pohl Turn Left at Thursday, Ballantine, 1961 and The Abominal Earthman, Ballantine, 1963.

You aren’t going to hear my cosmic prattle about the wonderful, surprising, intelligent and often funny 14 stories in these two volumes, Space Cadets. Pohl is pretty nearly always interesting reading and these books are well worth your time. (I’d also like to recommend his entertaining blog.)

Book cover

Is that an origami space ship at top? And is the pierced eye on the monitor screen a reference to Dali's famous scene in "An Andalusian Dog?"

No, I’m not reviewing the stories this time because my original mission here is to present Sci-Fi BOOK COVERS! And I’m particularly fascinated by the use of abstraction in these two book covers.

Now, a lot of Space Cadets think that Abstract Art means art without a subject matter; Say, just color and shapes. But that is the definition of Non-Representational Art, NOT Abstract Art.

book cover

Okay, I see the spaceships and the aliens...but what in the galaxy is that bodacious blob thang they are staring at?

Here’s my own definition: Abstract Art is when the creator abstracts the form of the physical world to represent an aspect of the subject matter in a manner that is somewhat independent of what we see with our human eyes. For instance, you can tell that there is mountains, a spaceship and some sort of TV or monitor screen on the cover of Turn Left…, but they don’t look “realistic.”

We could get into a discussion of what is “real” in Realistic Art, but I don’t want to digress. Rather, I’d like to curate an on-line exhibit in this transmission, juxtaposing these wonderful, and, sadly, uncredited, abstract book illustrations with a couple of paintings by one of my favorite “art history class” fine artists, Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky. (You can see why he’s mostly just referred to by his last name only!)

painting

No, it's not "Space, the final frontier." It's "Some Circles," 1926. (But I suggest a title change!)

painting

No it's not Spacely Sprockets, George Jetson's work place! It's The Great Gate of Kiev, way back in 1928!

You tell me if you think these two famous abstract works wouldn’t work just as well for Sci-Fi books? Of course, just to be fair, we also need to remember that Kandinsky created his abstractions a good deal sooner than the early 60s publication dates of the Pohl paperbacks…

Still, I hope to show that the art on these “pulp, throw-away” book-treasures ARE worthy of serious consideration and should have been better credited and preserved. I hope, in my small way, to help remedy that…

This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.

Extra: I’m including the Galaxy tabloid printing of the “Pingot” cover from a story also printed in Turn Left, just because I dig robots. And I’d like to thank Hang Fire Book’s Photostream for Turn Left at Thursday‘s reprint version book cover. I include it here as it is also interesting and unusual as it is a collage work cover. If you haven’t discovered Hang Fire Books and love book cover art, I highly recommend you visit that site!

tabloid

How robots get ahead...by getting a head...

paperback

A cosmic collage for a consistently cool creator...