By 1967 Allen Lane was harbouring deep misgivings about the direction Tony Godwin was taking Penguin with regard to the marketing and distribution of fiction. Lane felt that the covers being designed by Alan Aldridge et al. were becoming too commercial and increasingly tasteless. To Lane such covers were undignified and not in keeping with Penguin's reputation. Worse still, the use of images he regarded as titillating or even offensive was an insult to the books' authors, some of whom were now making their own feelings known, with more than one threatening to move to another publisher.

J G BALLARD The Wind From Nowhere, 1967 The Wind From Nowhere (2591) by J G Ballard

First published 1962.

Published by Penguin Books March 1967 with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.

Matters were made worse by Godwin's desire to sell Penguin books in non-traditional outlets such as supermarkets. Lane disliked the idea and as booksellers joined authors to protest at the way Penguin was heading so the rift between the two men deepened. To Lane, Aldridge's 'vulgar covers' and Godwin's 'gimmicky selling' were a threat to over thirty years of Penguin tradition and brand identity. If left unchecked it would only be a matter of time before the books were being packaged and sold just like any other consumer product. The crisis came to a head in late April and early May, with a boardroom bust-up that resulted in Godwin's departure and Lane's barbed comment that 'a book is not a tin of beans'.

CLIFFORD D SIMAK Time and Again, 1967 Time and Again (2596) by Clifford D Simak

First published 1951.

Published by Penguin Books April 1967 with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.

The Penguin sf titles published in 1967 perhaps give some idea of what all the fuss was about, for whereas previous sf covers had targeted adults, Aldridge wanted his to 'reach the kids' and for that something different would be needed.

FRANK HERBERT Destination: Void, 1967 Destination: Void (2689) by Frank Herbert

First published August 1965 as Do I Wake or Dream? in Galaxy magazine.

Published by Penguin Books May 1967 with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.

Aldridge's new designs retained the black, white and mauve livery that had first been used on the 1966 reprint of Harry Harrison's Deathworld but shortened the banner to SCIENCE FICTION and relocated it beneath the logo, along with the price. With the price and banner out of the way, the title and author's name were shifted to the top right corner.

KEITH LAUMER A Plague of Demons, 1967 A Plague of Demons (2698) by Keith Laumer

First published 1965.

Published by Penguin Books June 1967 with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.
ALFRED BESTER Tiger! Tiger!, 1967 Tiger! Tiger! (2620) by Alfred Bester

First published October 1956–January 1957 as The Stars My Destination, a four-part serial in Galaxy magazine.

Published by Penguin Books July 1967 with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.

But tinkering with typography was merely housekeeping, to clear away the clutter in preparation for the main event. For unlike Deathworld and the other sf covers of 1966, the artwork was no longer confined to a white-bordered window. Instead it took centre stage, with Aldridge as impresario and master of ceremonies. Roll up, he said. It's showtime!

HARRY HARRISON Make Room! Make Room!, 1967 Make Room! Make Room! (2664) by Harry Harrison

First published August–October 1966 as a three-part serial in SF Impulse magazine.

Published by Penguin Books August 1967 with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.

Penguin sf had never seen anything like it. Aldridge clothed his cast of characters in dicky bows and polkerdots or kipper ties and pantaloons, mixing vaudeville with freak show in a crazy raving medley of surrealism and psychedelia that pinched from Pop Art and flirted with Art Deco. His phantasmagoria of floating images took sf to the brink and the titles of the books said as much. Strung out in shrieking white capitals, they splintered the blackness like a banshee's wail.

THEODORE STURGEON The Joyous Invasions, 1967 The Joyous Invasions (2702) by Theodore Sturgeon

First published 1965.

Published by Penguin Books September 1967 with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.

To Marry Medusa
The Comedian's Children
The [Widget], the [Wadget] and Boff

Cartoonish and cadaverous, gilded and grotesque, Aldridge's artwork was trippy and fun. It tuned in to the spirit of the times and to some his covers were the drug of choice (this was 1967 and flower power was in full bloom) but they did not please everyone. Aldridge aroused adoration but also abhorrence and some of his covers in the main fiction list provoked a particularly hostile reaction. It was enough to ensure there would be no encore. With Godwin gone, Aldridge's position at Penguin became increasingly untenable and by early 1968 he, too, had left the building.

CHARLES G FINNEY The Circus of Dr Lao, 1967 The Circus of Dr Lao (2537) by Charles G Finney

First published 1935.

Published by Penguin Books December 1967
* with a cover illustration by Alan Aldridge.

This is the circus of Doctor Lao.
We show you things that you don't know.
We tell you of places you'll never go.
We've searched the world both high and low
To capture the beasts for this marvellous show...