Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Venus Factor

It was Mars last month. Now it’s the turn of Venus - the second brightest object in the night sky.
Only the Moon is brighter. Venus doesn’t have any moons - and it rotates in the opposite direction to the Sun. It’s the hottest planet in our solar system, and as it does not tilt on its axis, Venus has no seasonal variation. But, it is often called Earth’s sister planet, as they are almost the same size. 
Back in 1961, the Soviet Union sent the very first mission to Venus - the space probe 'Venera 1' which lost contact with its base.
In Roman mythology, Venus was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy.  Julius Caesar claimed Venus as his ancestor.
The Romans adapted the myth and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite - and Venus was revered as the embodiment of love and sexuality.

A selection of vintage book and pulp magazine covers continues the science fiction theme of last month’s edition of ‘After You’ve Gone’, but I have also slipped in the lives and loves of the Venuses of other genres...

And perhaps it's appropriate to sign off this collection of book covers with a 1973 edition of 'The Venus Factor' - dubbed TRULY THE WOMEN'S LIB OF SCIENCE FICTION!

It's a collection of short SF and fantasy stories written by women between the 1920s and the 1960s. Authors include Judith Merril, Anne McCaffrey and Agatha Christie...

Friday, 18 November 2016

A Mars a Day

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. It can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye, as can its reddish coloring. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often referred to as the "Red Planet" because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance.

Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. Its two polar ice caps appear to be made largely of water. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. Mars has two small and irregularly shaped moons, Phobos and Deimos. 

There are ongoing investigations assessing the past habitability potential of Mars, as well as the possibility of extant life.

A Mars a Day recalls the vintage covers of the well-remembered, the rarely read, and the totally obscure science fiction books boasting a Martian theme...

Thursday, 27 October 2016

London After Dark

Here is a small collection of eight vintage paperback books depicting London, or a district of London, in their titles and on their illustrated and photographic covers. Sensationalist snapshots and escapist fiction, lurid, exciting and cheap...

Published originally as 'The Stars are Dark' in 1943, this is the American edition of the tale of the British Secret Service, the spies and the counter spies....
Formerly known as 'The Misfortunes of Mr. Teal' when it first came out in 1934, this paperback version dates from 1963 

Want a little ZIP in your TRIP? asks the blurb on the back cover. "It's easy in London if you know the 'right' people who swing in the 'wrong' places"

She claims she started the permissive society! The full story of London's beautiful, turned-on people. It's the 1973 NEL paperback release of the '71 original. 

The legendary film director Sam Fuller's investigation into the life and times of the most famous squat in London at the turn of the 1970s

"the twilight world of the under-privileged...touches the depths of squalor and degradation". And all for five bob.

It's 1954, and here's the "The Murky Side of London...hitherto unpublished facts about dope, prostitution and blackmail". This edition was published by Panther Books in 1959.

"in these six stories about London's teenagers from Asian families Farrukh Dhondy describes, through the teenagers' own eyes, their life in Britain today" (well 1976 to be exact)