Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts. — Brian Aldiss, Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction (1973).

In 1963 Penguin launched a separate sf series with Brian Aldiss, as the series editor, recommending titles for inclusion in the series. His first choice was Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, which was one of the books that had launched Penguin's Pelican imprint in 1937. In his foreword to the new edition Aldiss wrote that it was a tatty Pelican which had introduced him to Stapledon's novel when he was serving in the British army during World War Two, adding that the encounter was later to influence his own work as an sf writer. Sadly, the blurb on the book's back cover was not so generous and described it as a 'history of the next two thousand years', thus selling it short by a factor of a million.

OLAF STAPLEDON Last and First Men, 1963 Last and First Men (1875) by Olaf Stapledon

Reissued March 1963 with a foreword by Brian Aldiss.
The cover illustration is by Geoffrey Martin.

The book was also let down by an awful cover, but while it was too late to save Stapledon, Penguin's director of cover art, Germano Facetti, had an idea which would take sf covers to a new level. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of art history, Facetti paired each book with an abstract or surrealist painting that reflected some aspect of the story within. A lot of thought went into this, with obvious choices being rejected in favour of paintings that offered subtler connections to the text. It was then up to readers to find the link, or to make their own connections between the contents and cover. In this way the sf series would feature some of the major names in modern art such as Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Yves Tanguy and René Magritte.

As Facetti wrote in the Spring 1967 issue of the short-lived design journal Dot Zero, the use of paintings on the books' front covers provided 'an additional service to the reader who is without immediate access to art galleries or museums'.

JAMES BLISH A Case of Conscience, 1963 A Case of Conscience (1809) by James Blish

First published September 1953 in If magazine and doubled in length for publication as a novel in 1958.

Published by Penguin Books April 1963. The cover shows a detail from The Eye of Silence (L'oeil du silence, 1943-44) by Max Ernst, in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in
St. Louis, Missouri.

A Case of Conscience tells of a paradise-like planet called Lithia and the crisis of faith that confronts a Jesuit priest who travels there from Earth. The book's description of Lithia, where houses of glazed ceramic assume 'fantastic, quasi-biological shapes, not quite amorphous but not quite resembling any form in experience', could equally apply to the Max Ernst painting on its cover, and perhaps Blish had this painting in mind when imagining his alien Garden of Eden.

The union of text and image seems too good to be true, and in a sense it is, for the cover only shows a detail from the painting and renders it in a pinkish monochrome. The beauty of Ernst's ethereal landscape is all but lost.

FRANK HERBERT The Dragon in the Sea, 1963 The Dragon in the Sea (1886) by Frank Herbert

First published November 1955–January 1956 as Under Pressure, a three-part serial in Astounding magazine.

Published by Penguin Books May 1963. The cover shows Underwater Garden (1939) by
Paul Klee.

The Dragon in the Sea has been described as a psychological thriller, although this makes too much of a twenty-first century Boys' Own Story in which the world has been ravaged by a war against the Eastern Powers. Oil is extremely scarce so the United States has taken to stealing it from underwater wells it has secretly drilled inside Russian territorial waters. Nuclear-powered Hell Diver submarines equipped as 'subtugs' are sneaking into these underwater oil fields and pumping a hundred million barrels into sausage-shaped bags which are then towed back to America.

But the last twenty missions have failed to return and all hopes are now pinned on the élite four-man crew of the subtug Fenian Ram as it sets out for the Arctic Circle and a covert well off the island of Novaya Zemlya. But is one of the crew a spy intent on sabotage? The subtug's passage through perilous waters is beautifully evoked by Paul Klee's Underwater Garden, the first of many full-colour paintings that would become a defining feature of the Penguin sf series.

RAY BRADBURY The Day it Rained Forever, 1963 The Day it Rained Forever (1878) by Ray Bradbury

Twenty-three short stories, first published as a collection in 1959.

Published by Penguin Books June 1963. The cover shows a detail from Garden Aeroplane Trap (Jardin gobe-avions, 1935) by Max Ernst.

Penguin had acquired the paperback rights to The Day it Rained Forever prior to launching an sf series but had noted in a letter to Brian Aldiss that it was 'not predominantly sf'. Much of Bradbury's output was fantasy and most of the stories in this collection were, but a handful were sf of a kind and his two most famous novels, The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, were unequivocally sf, so few eyebrows were raised when the book appeared in Penguin's sf series.

The cover reveals a playful side to Germano Facetti's policy of avoiding the obvious, for one of the stories features a cameo by Picasso and mentions two of his paintings. To his credit, Facetti sidestepped the temptation to use either and opted instead for Garden Aeroplane Trap, one of twelve Max Ernst paintings with this title and depicting strange gardens where exotic plants devour aeroplane parts. Its connection to the stories within? La Gioconda.

HAL CLEMENT Mission of Gravity, 1963 Mission of Gravity (1978) by Hal Clement

First published April–July 1953 as a four-part serial in Astounding magazine.

Published by Penguin Books July 1963. The cover shows a detail from The Doubter
(Le questionnant, 1937) by Yves Tanguy, at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum
and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C.

Another clever pairing of cover and contents was the French surrealist Yves Tanguy and Mission of Gravity. As a young man Tanguy had been in the merchant navy and the dull metallic sea left a deep impression that reappeared in paintings of biomorphic forms in flat, alien dreamscapes. As one such painting, The Doubter beautifully evokes the world of Hal Clement's supermassive planet Mesklin and the merchant seamen – sentient centipedes – who ply their trade on its methane oceans. But Mesklin is stranger still for it spins on its axis like a top, so that day follows night every nine Earth minutes and objects swerve sideways if dropped.

The centrifugal force created by its spin has squashed the planet at its poles and bulged it like a discus at the equator or 'Rim' as the natives call it. This flattening, combined with Mesklin's huge mass, causes the surface gravity to vary from three times that of Earth's at the Rim to almost 700 Earth gravities at the poles where even the smallest dropped object smashes into the ground like a bomb exploding. This crushing gravity makes the planet inaccessible to humans except at the Rim, where a base has been built for members of a team stationed on Mesklin's inner moon, Toorey.

The team is overseeing a mission to Mesklin's south pole by an unmanned research probe that is gathering data for an experimental gravity nullifier, but the project has been thrown into jeopardy by the failure of the probe's rockets to respond to take-off commands, leaving it stricken and inaccessible. The only hope of recovering its cargo lies with a Mesklinite trading raft and its crew of fifteen-inch caterpillars whose captain, Barlennan, and first officer, Dondragmer, have agreed to lead on an expedition to salvage the lost data.

Mission of Gravity epitomises the subgenre of hard sf with its strict adherence to the laws of physics and the assumption that they operate throughout the universe. As Colin Greenland states in The Entropy Exhibition, to writers of hard sf 'science fiction is a branch of science' and Clement, more than any other writer, was its greatest exponent.

BRIAN ALDISS (Ed) More Penguin Science Fiction, 1963 More Penguin Science Fiction (1963) edited by Brian Aldiss

An anthology of twelve short stories, first published by Penguin Books August 1963.
The cover shows Small Worlds I (Kleine Welten I, 1922) by Wassily Kandinsky, at
the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

• Gordon R Dickson : The Monkey Wrench
• Howard Fast : The First Men
• Alan E Nourse : Counterfeit
• Tom Godwin : The Greater Thing
• Howard Schoenfeld : Build Up Logically
• William Tenn : The Liberation of Earth
• Harry Harrison : An Alien Agony
• Frederik Pohl : The Tunnel Under the World
• Robert Scheckley : The Store of the Worlds
• Isaac Asimov : Jokester
• Robert Abernathy : Pyramid
• Arthur C Clarke : The Forgotten Enemy

Brian Aldiss' second anthology as editor of the Penguin sf series showcased one of Frederik Pohl's best short stories alongside others by Howard Fast, who is better known outside sf as the author of Spartacus, and Robert Sheckley, who Kingsley Amis described in « New Maps of Hell » as 'science fiction's premier gadfly'.

The anthology presented Germano Facetti with a new challenge, which was to find a painting that represented a dozen different stories. The usual approach was to link the cover art to one of the stories, but Facetti stayed true to his policy of shunning the easy option and pulled off another ingenious pairing. To him, twelve short stories called for Small Worlds I from a set of twelve abstract lithographs by Wassily Kandinsky.

ERIC FRANK RUSSELL Three to Conquer, 1963 Three to Conquer (2005) by Eric Frank Russell

First published August–October 1955 as Call Him Dead, a three-part serial in Astounding magazine.

Published by Penguin Books September 1963. The cover shows a detail from The Orange Blossom (La fleur d'oranger, 1931) by Max Ernst.

Eric Frank Russell was English but mainly wrote for an American audience and like much of his output, the punchy prose and laconic, wisecracking dialogue of Three to Conquer owes much to American hard-boiled detective fiction. The novel employs a popular theme of Russell's in which the individual turned tough guy, who shoots first and asks questions later, pits his wits against an unknown foe and eventually emerges triumphant. However, this being sf, it is not gangsters but aliens who give their human pursuers the run-around, and the result is a slick, racy, hard-hitting action thriller.

ROY LEWIS The Evolution Man, 1963 The Evolution Man (2004) by Roy Lewis

First published 1960 as What We Did to Father.

Published by Penguin Books November 1963. The cover shows Pablo Picasso's design for the front cover of the inaugural issue of the art journal, Minotaure, in June 1933.

"Now then, Edward," said Uncle Vanya nastily. "Out with it.
You think you're fathering a totally new species, don't you?"

"Well," said Father uneasily, "I did just have the thought –"

"I knew it!" cried Uncle Vanya triumphantly. ""Edward, I can read
you like a – like a – well, I know exactly what you're up to."

The Evolution Man is the tale of an upwardly-mobile horde of hominids living in Africa towards the end of the Pleistocene and recounts how Edward the apeman gets his comeuppance when his inventions threaten to turn the tribe into Homo sapiens. It is hardly sf but it is very funny and it cleverly borrows the cover art that Picasso created for the inaugural issue of the French avant-garde journal, Minotaure, thus recalling another creature that, like Edward, is only half human.

H G WELLS The War of the Worlds, 1963 The War of the Worlds (570) by H G Wells

1963 reprint with a cover illustration by Virgil Burnett.

The plan was to release one new title a month in the sf series, with gaps being filled by reprints from Penguin's back catalogue. But when The War of the Worlds and The Black Cloud were reprinted there were no abstract or surrealist paintings, just the illustration from each title's previous print run transplanted onto a Marber grid.

FRED HOYLE The Black Cloud, 1963 The Black Cloud (1466) by Fred Hoyle

1963 reprint with a cover illustration by John Griffiths.
OLAF STAPLEDON Sirius, 1964 Sirius (1999) by Olaf Stapledon

First published 1944.

Published by Penguin Books February 1964. The cover shows In the Land Called Precious Stone (Im Lande Edelstein, 1929) by Paul Klee.

Paul Klee's zygotic painting, In the Land Called Precious Stone, may seem a strange choice of cover art for Stapledon's tale of a dog called Sirius, but exposing an embryo to brain-boosting hormones is likely to yield strange results too. For Sirius is no ordinary pooch but a Frankendog with the brain capacity and intelligence of a human. Created by an English scientist and raised on the Welsh hillsides, he is the most successful experiment yet in the quest to produce a superman.

But the puppy love between Sirius and his creator's youngest daughter matures into something more complicated and leads to rumours of bestiality among the Welsh villagers. It's an issue the menfolk are understandably sensitive about, and as the whispers turn to persecution so the man-dog's dual nature is exposed. No longer able to suppress the wolf within, Sirius becomes a kind of Doggy Jekyll and Mongrel Hyde, and Stapledon's strange romance descends into murder.

Penguin Science Fiction mailshot, 1964 Penguin Science Fiction mailshot


In March 1964 the Penguin sf series celebrated its first birthday and Brian Aldiss, who was now the owner of a second- hand Land Rover, set off on a six-month tour of Yugoslavia. Before leaving he resigned as series editor, but with his third sf anthology and further titles in the pipeline it was business as usual for the sf series, as demonstrated by the mailshot Penguin sent to booksellers with an order form on the back for 'a science fiction display pack and showcard'.

HARRY HARRISON Deathworld, 1964 Deathworld (2095) by Harry Harrison

First published January–March 1960 as a three-part serial in Astounding magazine.

Published by Penguin Books March 1964.
* The cover shows Citron from a series of Celestial Physiognomies (circa 1952-57) by Pavel Tchelitchew.

Ostensibly a cross-section of a lemon, Citron is one of a series of paintings by Pavel Tchelitchew depicting glowing wire- frame representations of round or ovoid forms caught in a cat's cradle of pulsating fluorescent lines. These Celestial Physiognomies, as the paintings became known, strip away the solidity of the objects they depict to reveal lattices of seething energy, like the criss-crossing tracks of subatomic particles seen through x-ray specs.

This rendering of solid forms as immaterial, of mass as energy and order as chaos, at first evokes notions of relativity and quantum mechanics, but the paintings may also be seen as a kind of Mandelbrot set, scaling like fractals from the micro- scopic realm of the atom, through the everyday objects on which the paintings are based, to the telescopic remoteness of the stars and planets. And it is here that the pairing of Citron with Deathworld makes sense, as the painting trans- mutes into the frontier planet Pyrrus with its two moons, Samas and Bessos, all immersed in a sea of radiation that surrounds them like a 'Keep Out' sign to off-worlders. Yet still they come, undeterred as the planet approaches and the slow click of their ship's Geiger counter increases to a frenzied crackle. What brings them is the huge reserves of radio- active ore beneath the planet's surface and the fortunes to be made by mining them.

But it is not radiation that makes Pyrrus the most hostile planet that humans have ever colonised. Nor is it the heat this radiation produces, although the convection currents this sets up cause earthquakes and eruptions that rain down molten rock. It is not the violent storms either, or the tsunamis caused by the combined gravitational pull of the two moons. What makes Pyrrus a deathworld is its teeming wildlife, all of which is deadly venomous, savagely carnivorous, or more often both, and seemingly hell-bent on attacking humans with a blind fury. Pyrrus, it seems, is not the kind of place to raise your kids, so when an accidental tourist discovers that outside the heavily fortified mining community there are human settlements coexisting in relative peace with the wildlife, he sets out to investigate.

BRIAN ALDISS (ED) Yet More Penguin Science Fiction, 1964 Yet More Penguin Science Fiction (2189) edited by Brian Aldiss

An anthology of twelve short stories, first published by Penguin Books July 1964. The cover shows a detail from The Angry One (1958) by the Chilean artist known as Matta.

• Theodore Cogswell : The Wall Around the World
• H B Fyfe : Protected Species
• Arthur C Clarke : Before Eden
• Arthur Porges : The Rescuer
• Walter M Miller : I Made You
• Damon Knight : The Country of the Kind
• C M Kornbluth : MS Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie
• Bertram Chandler : The Cage
• William Tenn : Eastward Ho!
• John Brunner : The Windows of Heaven
• James Blish : Common Time
• A E van Vogt : Fulfilment

Brian Aldiss' third Penguin sf anthology, compiled before he resigned as series editor, includes a story by C M Kornbluth about a writer named C M Kornbluth who receives a series of messages from another writer named Cecil Corwin, which is one of Kornbluth's pseudonyms. Clearly there is scope for confusion here, and the reader would soon be left wondering who's who were it not for the writer who explains that his kind 'like to dominate the reader like a matador dominates a bull; we like to tease and mystify', to which he adds that a matador 'does not show up in the bullring with a tommy gun'. So that clears that up then, barring one final question: would the real C M Kornbluth please step forward?

ISAAC ASIMOV (Ed) The Hugo Winners, 1964 The Hugo Winners (1905) edited by Isaac Asimov

An anthology of nine Hugo Award-winning stories, first published in 1962.

Published by Penguin Books October 1964. The cover shows a detail from Ruin and Five Characters (Ruine et cinq personnages, circa 1620) by an artist known as Monsù
Desiderio, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

• Walter M Miller : The Darfsteller
• Eric Frank Russell : Allamagoosa
• Murray Leinster : Exploration Team
• Arthur C Clarke : The Star
• Avram Davidson : Or All the Seas with Oysters
• Clifford D Simak : The Big Front Yard
• Robert Bloch : The Hell-Bound Train
• Daniel Keyes : Flowers for Algernon
• Poul Anderson : The Longest Voyage

The Hugo Awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder, in 1926, of the first English-language sf magazine, Amazing Stories. Originally conceived, and still regarded, as the sf Oscars, the Hugos are awarded annually at the World Science Fiction Convention or 'Worldcon'. The nine stories anthologized in The Hugo Winners might therefore be expected to represent some of the best that sf has to offer, and they do not disappoint. All are excellent, some are exceptional and one, by Avram Davidson, is extraordinary. For the discovery that safety pins are the larvae of wire coat hangers, which in turn are the pupae of adult bicycles, is sf at its most surreal and enjoyable. It must also be unique in the history of literature as the only tour de force to metamorphose into the Tour de France.

ALGIS BUDRYS Who?, 1964 Who? (2217) by Algis Budrys

First published 1958.

Published by Penguin Books November 1964. The cover shows a detail from Schakels (1934) by Raoul Hynckes, at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The painting is incorrectly identified on the book's back cover as Nature morte.

Question: Who? Answer: The Man in the Iron Mask recast as a Cold War thriller that explores the nature of human identity. When an explosion rips through a secret government research laboratory close to the Soviet border, a top Allied physicist is critically injured. The Russians are first on the scene and whisk him off behind the Iron Curtain where he spends months in a military hospital undergoing reconstructive surgery. Eventually they hand him back, but the man who returns is a cyborg with a bionic arm and a faceless metal skull. So who is he? Is he who he claims to be or a Soviet spy?

BRIAN ALDISS (Ed) Penguin Science Fiction, 1965 Penguin Science Fiction (1638) edited by Brian Aldiss

1965 reprint showing a detail from Memory of the Future (1938) by Oscar Dominguez.

By 1965 Penguin's first sf anthology was looking antiquated beside the Marber grids and paintings of its younger siblings so its fifth reprint got a makeover. However, to avoid the tautology of title and series the latter was replaced by 'a Penguin Book'.

J G BALLARD The Drowned World, 1965 The Drowned World (2229) by J G Ballard

First published 1962.

Published by Penguin Books January 1965. The cover shows The Palace of Windowed Rocks (Le palais aux rochers de fenêtres, 1942) by Yves Tanguy, at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris.

"Over the mantelpiece was a huge painting by the early 20th-century Surrealist,
Delvaux, in which ashen-faced women danced naked to the waist with dandified
skeletons in tuxedos against a spectral bone-like landscape. On another wall one
of Max Ernst's self-devouring phantasmagoric jungles screamed silently to itself

The Drowned World is one of Ballard's early quartet of disaster novels reputedly based on the classical elements of earth, air, fire and water. Which one should be fairly self-evident, and Tanguy's strange seabed offers a further clue, but the white background for the typography makes the book look anaemic. Ballard said as much in a letter to one of Penguin's editors, adding that 'if ever a book cried out for something powerful and threatening (i.e. Max Ernst, whose paintings were hammered away at throughout the book) it was that one'. Other publishers evidently agreed, as Jonathan Cape used Ernst's The Eye of Silence on the dust jacket of Ballard's 'earth' novel The Crystal World in 1966, as did Panther Books on the paperback two years later.

J G BALLARD The Crystal World, 1968 The Crystal World by J G Ballard

First published 1966.

Published by Panther Books 1968. The cover shows The Eye of Silence (L'oeil du silence, 1944-44) by Max Ernst, at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Crystal World is the only one of Ballard's four 'elements' that Penguin didn't publish. Panther acquired the paperback rights after outbidding both Corgi and Penguin with a record fee for sf in paperback at that time.

JOHN CARNELL (Ed) Lambda I and Other Stories, 1965 Lambda I and Other Stories (2275) edited by John Carnell

An anthology of stories from New Worlds magazine, first published in 1964.

Published by Penguin Books March 1965 with two new stories – Tee Vee Man and Beyond the Reach of Storms – replacing Brian Aldiss's Basis for Negotiation in the 1964 edition.
The cover shows a detail from Rassegna Medica by Giorgio Gondoni.

• Colin Kapp : Lambda I
• H A Hargreaves : Tee Vee Man
• Donald Malcolm : Beyond the Reach of Storms
• Lee Harding : Quest
• George Whitley : All Laced Up
• Philip E High : Routine Exercise
• Michael Moorcock : Flux
• John Rackham : The Last Salamander

Unlike the three Penguin Science Fiction anthologies compiled by Brian Aldiss, Lambda I and Other Stories was not an original Penguin anthology. It had appeared the previous year in America, though none of the authors were American as it's purpose was to showcase sf by Commonwealth writers. The stories were taken from the British science fiction magazine New Worlds and were chosen by the magazine's founder John Carnell, who, after eighteen years as its editor, had recently handed over control of the magazine to one of the writers featured in the anthology, Michael Moorcock.

The American edition contained a story by Brian Aldiss, in which the outbreak of World War Three sees Britain renege on a long-standing Anglo-American treaty and declare its neutrality, but this was replaced in the Penguin edition by two space-based yarns by H A Hargreaves and Donald Malcolm. It was a curious decision as the Aldiss story was far better.

TOM BOARDMAN (Ed) Connoisseur's Science Fiction, 1965 Connoisseur's Science Fiction (2223) edited by Tom Boardman

An anthology of ten stories, first published by Penguin Books April 1965.* The cover photography is by permission of Esso Research.

• Alfred Bester : Disappearing Act
• Frederik Pohl : The Wizards of Pung's Corners
• Kurt Vonnegut : Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
• Theodore Sturgeon : Mr Costello, Hero
• Jack Finney : Quit Zoomin' Those Hands Through the Air
• J G Ballard : Build-Up
• Isaac Asimov : The Fun They Had
• Eric Frank Russell : Diabologic
• J T McIntosh : Made in U.S.A.
• Fredric Brown : The Waveries

The possibility of a fourth Penguin Science Fiction anthology had first been raised when the second and third anthologies were being prepared in 1962, but with Aldiss now gone it would need a new editor, and then there was the problem of the difficult fourth title. Those Mores and Yet Mores were becoming unwieldy and Even Yet More or It's Not Over Yet More would only make things worse, so in a break with convention the anthology was called Connoisseur's Science Fiction. Like its predecessors it had been planned as twelve stories but John Anthony's The Hypnoglyph was dropped on the grounds that it was more of a horror story than sf and Chad Oliver's Didn't He Ramble was deemed too sentimental.

The ten remaining tales are mostly light-hearted although the list of heavyweight authors reads like an sf version of Who's Who. Isaac Asimov, J G Ballard, Alfred Bester, Frederik Pohl, Eric Frank Russell and Kurt Vonnegut are all there, as is Jack Finney, who is best known for the story that spawned the classic sf movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

FREDERIK POHL and C M KORNBLUTH The Space Merchants, 1965 The Space Merchants (2224) by Frederik Pohl and C M Kornbluth

First published June–August 1952 as Gravy Planet, a three-part serial in Galaxy magazine.

Published by Penguin Books July 1965. The cover shows a detail from a Planetary Folklore composition by Victor Vasarely.

In August 1965 the World Science Fiction Convention came to London. It was only the second time it had been held outside North America, and the first time – also London, in 1957 – was a year when Penguin published no sf. This time Penguin was better prepared and in the month before the Worldcon six new sf titles appeared; five in the sf series and John Christopher's « The World in Winter » in the main fiction list.

FRED and GEOFFREY HOYLE Fifth Planet, 1965 Fifth Planet (2244) by Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle

First published 1963.

Published by Penguin Books July 1965. The cover shows The Flavour of Tears (La saveur des larmes, 1948) by René Magritte, at the Musée Magritte in Brussels. The painting is incorrectly identified on the book's back cover as L'oiseau fleur (The Bird Flower).

Fifth Planet presents a novel solution to the vast distances and thus impracticality of interstellar travel. Since Muhammad cannot go to the mountain, Fred Hoyle and son bring the mountain to Muhammad as a wandering star sweeps through the solar system, cutting inside the orbits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and threatening to drag them off with it. Orbiting the star are four massive planets and a small rocky one, so as the star approaches Earth perigee, Anglo-American and Russian missions are dispatched to this fifth planet.

Why the book was paired with René Magritte's The Flavour of Tears is anyone's guess but someone at the New English Library evidently liked it because two years later one of Hoyle's solo efforts, Ossian's Ride, was reissued with Magritte's The Voice of Blood on the cover. Likewise Henry Kuttner's Ahead of Time and Magritte's The Ready-Made Bouquet.

FRED HOYLE Ossian's Ride, 1967 Ossian's Ride by Fred Hoyle

First published 1959.

Reissued by the New English Library in 1967 under its Four Square Science Fiction imprint.
The cover shows a detail from The Voice of Blood (La voix du sang, 1961) by René Magritte, at the Musée Magritte in Brussels.
HENRY KUTTNER Ahead of Time, 1967 Ahead of Time by Henry Kuttner

Ten short stories, first published as a collection in 1953.

Reissued by the New English Library in 1967 under its Four Square Science Fiction imprint.
The cover shows The Ready-Made Bouquet (Le bouquet tout fait, 1956) by René
Magritte, at the Musée Magritte in Brussels.

Or Else
Home is the Hunter
By These Presents
De Profundis
Year Day
Pile of Trouble
JULES VERNE Journey to the Centre of the Earth, 1965 Journey to the Centre of the Earth (2265) by Jules Verne

First published 1864 as Voyage au Centre de la Terre.

Published by Penguin Books July 1965 in a new translation by Robert Baldick. The cover shows a detail from an unsigned tempera painting at the Terrazza Restaurant in London.

"Is the master out of his mind?" she asked me.
I nodded.
"And he's taking you with him?"
I nodded again.
"Where?" she asked.
I pointed towards the centre of the earth.
"Into the cellar?" exclaimed the old servant.
"No," I said, "farther down than that."

If H G Wells was the father of science fiction then Jules Verne was its grandfather but his reputation in English-speaking countries had suffered because of botched translations that mutilated the texts. So when the Oxford scholar and co-editor of the Penguin Classics, Robert Baldick, produced a new translation of Journey to the Centre of the Earth for the Penguin sf series it was widely praised as one of the first faithful translations of a Verne novel.

KURT VONNEGUT Cat's Cradle, 1965 Cat's Cradle (2308) by Kurt Vonnegut

First published 1963.

Published by Penguin Books July 1965. The cover design is by Robert Hollingsworth and shows The Bullfight (La course de taureaux, 1945) by Joan Miró, at the Musée
National d'Art Moderne in Paris.

Since its introduction in 1962 the Marber grid had been rigidly deployed across much of the Penguin range but in time this adherence to the grid was relaxed and variations began to creep in. At first the changes were subtle, as on the cover of Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Algis Budrys' « Who? » where the artwork extends beneath the typography to the full height of the cover. Then without warning the wind changed and subtlety became all-out anarchy on the cover of Cat's Cradle. For one book only the funfair arrived, warping the Marber grid like a hall of mirrors to crazy-comic proportions and Miró's demented bull, like an eye-popping carousel ride, was squashed beneath a medley of riotous text.

THEODORE STURGEON More Than Human, 1965 More Than Human (2309) by Theodore Sturgeon

First published 1953.

Published by Penguin Books July 1965. The cover shows a magnified section of finger skin.

More Than Human is an extension of the Homo superior subgenre initiated by Beresford's « The Hampdenshire Wonder » and tells the story of several superhumans who join forces to form a composite Homo gestalt.

ERIC FRANK RUSSELL With a Strange Device, 1965 With a Strange Device (2358) by Eric Frank Russell

First published 1964.

Published by Penguin Books October 1965. The cover shows Landscape in Meudon
(Paysage à Meudon, 1911) by Albert Gleizes.

With a Strange Device is similar in style to Russell's earlier novel « Three to Conquer » and every bit as good, as one after another scientists at an American government research establishment abandon their work on top secret military projects. Some resign and take up menial jobs in the mid-west, others simply fail to show up for work and a few die in circum- stances which hint at suicide. Then one of the scientists is knocked unconscious falling down some steps, and on coming round he learns that a murder he committed twenty years earlier has suddenly come to light. Paranoia sets in and he takes off, secretly returning to the scene of the crime only to find there isn't one, nor any news of it. The cops know nothing and his investigations draw a blank, until the realisation dawns that the murder has only taken place in his head.

Confusion turns to anger and with it comes questions. Who has monkeyed with his mind, and why? Armed only with a deep resentment he sets out to discover the truth and is soon toughing it out in typical EFR style as fists fly in a flurry of haymakers and split lips until 'a mess of stars exploded in his left eye and he went down for the second time'. Hard-boiled sf does not get any better.

J G BALLARD The Four-Dimensional Nightmare, 1965 The Four-Dimensional Nightmare (2345) by J G Ballard

Eight stories, first published as a collection in 1963.

Published by Penguin Books November 1965 with cover art by Giorgio Gordoni.

The Voices of Time
The Sound-Sweep
Prima Belladonna
Studio 5, The Stars
The Garden of Time
The Cage of Sand
The Watch-Towers

A move away from paintings on the covers of « Lambda I and Other Stories », « Connoisseur's Science Fiction » and « More Than Human » had so far failed to convince, but a fourth attempt for The Four-Dimensional Nightmare was a glowing success. For the cover looks backlit and the artwork resembles electronic wizardry, though a closer inspection reveals chemical symbols that hint at photosynthesis. But it is not just the art that works for the same incandescence suffuses the typography and the title overhangs the image in lower-case letters, fusing the two parts of the Marber grid together. Ballard was delighted with the cover and wrote a note to Allen Lane calling it 'first-class'.

LLOYD BIGGLE JR. All the Colours of Darkness, 1966 All the Colours of Darkness (2387) by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

First published 1963.

Published by Penguin Books January 1966 with cover art by Dennis Jackson.
PIERRE BOULLE Monkey Planet, 1966 Monkey Planet (2401) by Pierre Boulle

First published 1963 as La Planète des Singes.

Published by Penguin Books February 1966. The cover shows Endotête (1951) by Victor Brauner, at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris.

Pierre Boulle's fame is based on two bestselling novels which were both made into Oscar-winning films five years after they were published, though any similarity between the books ends there. For the first, in 1952, was The Bridge Over the River Kwai, a fictional account of the Allied prisoners of war who were forced to work on the construction of a Burmese rail bridge by the occupying Japanese army during World War Two. The other novel was Monkey Planet, which was later retitled Planet of the Apes.

H G WELLS The War of the Worlds, 1966 The War of the Worlds (570) by H G Wells

1966 reprint with a cover by Alan Spain.

If « Cat's Cradle » bent the rules of the Marber grid then the 1966 reprint of The War of the Worlds dispensed with them entirely, but in doing so it raised new questions. Was it an ancient lodestone tablet, found buried on the Moon and bristling with iron filings? An electronic book for those quiet times on the U.S.S. Enterprise when the Klingons have retreated to lick their wounds? An owl's-eye view of Wells' midnight garden, revealing his penchant for topiary as typo- graphy? Or a sneeze in space, carrying the microbes that would be Earth's greatest weapon against the Martians? Whatever it is, the title-as-artwork is a triumph of the typographical over the pictorial. Or is it the other way round?

PHILIP K DICK The Man in the High Castle, 1967 The Man in the High Castle (2376) by Philip K Dick

First published 1962.

Published by Penguin Books February 1967.
* The cover shows a detail from The Petrified City (La ville pétrifiée, 1933) by Max Ernst, at the Manchester Art Gallery in England.
The painting is incorrectly identified on the book's back cover as The Petrified Forest.

The Man in the High Castle is Hawthorne Abendsen, the reclusive author of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, an alternate history sf novel in which the Allies have won the Second World War rather than Germany and Japan. It is a thought provoking idea but it does not go down well with the victorious Axis Powers, and especially the German and Japanese nationals who now live in America following the Allies' defeat. PKD's tale of life in occupied America is thus an alternate history in which the 'real' world of Abendsen's novel is itself an alternate history. The Petrified City on the book's front cover was painted by Ernst in the year that Hitler came to power in Germany and is thought to express the rising tension and nascent siege mentality that was spreading through the rest of Europe at that time.