Tag Archive: religion


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: “The Blue Star” by Fletcher Pratt, (1952)

A few of you may remember my earlier posting,Alien Commies and a Future Past all about “Alien Planet” by Fletcher Pratt. I truly enjoyed that work, so when I saw this tripped out, screams-1960s cover with ol’ Fletch’s name on it, I just had to pick it up:

What Libyan protesters see when the al-Qaeda LSD kicks in...Really! That's what Moammar Gadhafi told me!

I’ve got a plentitude of praise for the psychedelic blast of a cover by Ron Walotsky. Peter Max’s got nuthin’ on this painter! And that smoke cat on the back – very eye-catching. Of course, NONE of the imagery was actually IN the book, really. The settings a lot more medieval than Zap Comix, but hey! this was published in ’69, baby! This was one of a series called Ballantine Adult Fantasy that Lin Carter crafted for Ballantine Books and almost all of the covers were great. (Check ’em out.)

The 1981 cover isn't bad. It's probably a better representation of what's inside, but it jus' don't groove me like that fab, far-out '69 version, dig?

I think this 2008 cover was aiming for the "Charmed"/"Sabrina" crowd.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the story near-so-much as the cover. Waaaay too much political intrigue/soap opera and way too little witchery for my (perhaps atypical) tastes. If you like that sort of thing, this has got lots of twists and turns, but it grew tiresome for me. But, y’know, I think that’s just me. Amazon’s got a couple of reviewers that praised it highly. And I particularly recommend the review at Endless Bookshelf for a view that’s different from my own, as well as some interesting info on Pratt, his famous literary group, the Trap Door Spiders, and the Ispsy-Wipsy Institute house they met in. (You’ve got to scroll down to the bottom fourth of the page.)

Oh well, I’ve also purchased “The Well of the Unicorn” by Mr. Pratt, and I’ll be reviewing it here some day, so we’ll see if he gets a “two-outta-three,” anyway, huh?

This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.

Extra: I just have to add one more of Ron Walotsky’s images to this post. The guy had one great visual imagination.

"Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn" by Ron Walotsky (1943 - 2002)

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

This transmission I present TWO covers from ONE cheap, 1966 paperback! Whatta score! I just “flip” for these old Ace Double books!

The first side we’ll look at is The Star Magicians by Lin Carter:

Star Magicians PB

Some Green Goddess for your space salad? I think the guy with the sword should be waaay careful he doesn't pop that bubble while he's out in space, don't you?

I’ve often wondered why the “good” barbarian is always pitted against the evil sorcerer in so many fantasy books? I mean, who do they think are reading these books anyway? Jocks? No, it’s usually the more bookish nerd who has, after all, much more in common with someone who has studied “ancient lore and forgotten tomes” to gain in intellectual power than some belching, farting caveman with a sword.

After reading this book, I can see why Mr. Carter was picked to finish the Conan books back in the 1970s of your 20th century. The star-system-stomping barbarians are the “bad guys” in this very fantasyish sci-fi novel, and for once the (super-scientific) Magicians get to be the “good guys,” but, by the end, Lin makes it clear that he sees a role for warriors in the cosmos.

The book was good, somewhat kitschy, comic-bookish fun and it has another great cover by Jack Gaughan. This guy must’ve had it in his contract that he got credit for his covers, ’cause he’s the “most mentioned” so far, in this blog. (See Mighty Merlin and the Toothy Bat).

Once again note the flow of Jack’s layout: The Green Goddess apparition is very out of proportion, the way her long left arm reaches far down to the bad-ol’-barbarians-in-the-bubbles! But it works wonderfully within the over-all rhythm of the painting! Even the title works as part of the composition.

The flip side of this Ace treasure is The Off-Worlders (The God Killers) by John Baxter:

Space ship in poles and bubbles

So, was Mr. Bubble the art director for this flip book? Two very different covers, except there are bubbles front and back!

Cover by the renown Kelly Freas (and a small interior illo, too?) Normally, no one is a bigger fan of Freas than me-as, but the description of these pre-war buildings in the book is much cooler: Pod houses attached to the stalk elevators like fruit on a plant. Why’d ya’ make it more conventional, Kelly? Still, look at all’a those pastel Freas hues. Ouuui! Ahhhh! Niiice colors…!

The star spanning civilization of Earth is crumbling. Merryland is a planet beyond “the Limit.” After their own version of Armageddon, the little world has renounced technology and Christianity. People live like Pilgrims, farming and fishing. No progress is ever made. Secret Christian rituals are practiced, but they are a cross between a Roman Catholic liturgy and a naked, drugged Bacchanalia! And then off-worlders arrive by matter transport…

As broad and unsophisticated as the space opera, The Star Magicians, is, that’s how strange, subtle and dream-like it’s Ace Double Book spouse is. (I guess opposites attract even in the publishing world?)The characters are multi-layered and the societal situation’s complexities keep one wondering ’til the end.

I liked both sides of this book; Just in different ways…

This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.

Shigeru Komatsuzaki's Solar City

Solar City: Big fun under the sun!

Boat car by Shigeru Komatsuzaki

Chicks dig a cool, convertible boat-car!

Shigeru Komatsuzak Moon Line

"One of these days, Alice...Pow! Right to the MOON!"

UnderseaTunnel

This train's in a tunnel under the sea! But, better than that: It's got ginchy fins!

Attention, Earthlings! This is Captain Blastoff, coming to you from the Galaxy Gallery in the future.

In this transmission, Sci-Fi from a different source than usual: The images are from a Japanese artist known as Shigeru Komatsuzaki, an artist who has a number of images online, but there seems to be very little information about him. The reason I picked these images was because they represent, so well, the dream of a society working together to advance themselves.

A few days ago, I was talking with an artist friend, Karine Swenson, who traversed space/time to come to the Mystic Moon Base and view my Galaxy Gallery art acquisitions by another artist, Rik Livingston, who posts this blog from my transmissions.

She happened to mention that I had a lot of retro looking art and, without thinking about it, I said, “Yeah, I like the vintage stuff. They imagined a great future back then.

After she left, I realized what I had said: I like the vision of the future more from images created in past decades than the ones created in your early 21st century. In the period that is “now” for you, when I walk past a shelf with sci-fi (or any!) DVD rentals, the color scheme is over whelmingly a distressed dark blue, gray and black with splats of red. You don’t have to be a color psychologist to realize this represents depression and violence.

In your present, no one can seem to imagine a future will be brightly colored. Well, except for a few, very political people in the Bible Belt and they only believe Earth will be happy after it’s practically destroyed. (I don’t want to turn this into a religious discussion, but, since I live in the future, I’ll just drop the hint that there is more ways to translate that last book of the Bible than what the televangelists tell you and that, if you believe in something enough it will come true; It will be a self-fulfilling prophecy!)

Creative thinking seems in short supply. For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. If you’re just doing what you are told, without even questioning, or looking into other ways of thinking for verification, are you really even living? I will keep bringing you more past visions of the future, in the hopes that they will nudge your imagination and free YOU to think for yourself and create your OWN dreams in the future!

So, this has been Captain Blastoff , with renewed purpose now, ending transmission! Keep looking ahead and “Keep Looking UP!

Next transmission: Back to those crazy paperback covers!

Extra: Check out another WordPresser with equally imaginative, but different, Komatsuzaki jpgs