SF Book Covers

I’ve always liked the science fiction author Eric Frank Russell, who is best known for short stories like “Allamagoosa” and “And Then There Were None.” I happened across an old novel of his in a used book store, The Mindwarpers. It was OK, not great, but really struck me afterward was the cover.

The novel is a near-future story set in the Cold War (thus making it today some sort of past near-future story–we need a name for those). All the characters are ordinary human beings. The only advanced technology in the story is a sort of brainwashing device–not mind control, just the insertion of some false memories. It’s barely a science fiction story at all; it would work just as well as a Robert Ludlum novel.

Now look at the cover, which can of course be found on the web. It’s some sort of space ship flying past a planet. It’s obvious that whoever painted the cover, and whoever decided to put that painting on this novel, never even read it.

I don’t expect all that much from a science fiction publisher, but surely it’s not going overboard to expect them to actually read the book.

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