The Art Of Penguin Science Fiction

One of my RSS feeds caused me to stumble across this really (if you read a lot of science fiction books in the mid-60’s to mid-70’s as I did) interesting site. The Art Of Penguin Science Fiction site is a collection of the covers of science fiction books published by Penguin Books over the years.

I recognize several of these covers. From the time I was 8 or so, I practically devoured any kind of science fiction book I could get my hands on. When I exhausted the available titles in my elementary school library, my mom took me to the public library to get my own library card. I think I’ve mentioned here before that when I walked into the brand new public library near our home that I thought I had stepped into the best place on earth; books and books and books.

This cover on the page really jumped out at me. I had this book at one point in my young life (and many of the others, either in the incarnation shown or with different covers), and enjoyed the story because it dealt with one of my favorite themes, time travel, and reminded me of stories by Heinlein or Huxley as it explored social and philosophical questions.

But this cover stands out for a very different reason; one that has nothing to do with the story but instead with the design illustration. I don’t remember if I found this book in the library, bookstore or yard sale, but I do remember that my first thought when I laid eyes on the cover was a rather crude one, before I took in the entirety of the illustration.

I’ll re-word it for this post in order not to offend the sensibilities of some of my good readers.

“That guy is emitting flatulence!”

Yes, I did not immediately notice the contraption he was riding, like a mechanized witch’s broom, but only noticed the gaseous exhaust that seemed to be originating from his backside. My young mind (awww, who am I kidding? It’s the same today, lol) gravitated to the base (yet humorous, some would say) thought that this guy was, as my parents used to say, “pooting” on the cover of this book.

Take a look at this collection and see if you recognize the covers of any books you have read. And if you, like me, initially saw something different…well just chalk it up to youthful exuberance.

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