This is the first of the Ends of the World posts. I must repeat that these books are not being presented in any order: Edmund Cooper's All Fool's Day has its moments, but it's far from a great book, and demonstrates too much of the author's undoubted misogyny. I'm starting with it for the simple reason that I just finished reading it.
The reason for the crumbling of civilisation is weird sunspot activity causing a huge number of suicides, leaving most of humanity dead by their own hands. Only the unstable types are left alive--psychopaths, artists (Cooper was no friend to the Left), political extremists and so on--to eke out a living in the ruins.
My edition is the Hodder & Stoughton paperback from 1967. It has the feel of that era's Penguin covers, combining an eye-catching and -warping pattern with the hero's girlfriend in her bra and a bunch of religious cultists. It's a very Summer of Love cover, and though the cultists look like psychedelic KKK members, there's no hint of the numerous murders, deaths by rats, and other nastiness contained within.
This second cover was used on later Hodder/Coronet edition. it's by artist Chriss Foss, famed among readers of science-fiction in the '60s, '70s and early '80s for his ability to get naked breasts onto the cover of any book, irrespective of their relevance to the book itself. The book was set only a few years into its own future, and so there were no futuristic cities or Mad Max-style Amazons in there, either.
Then we have the original hardcover jacket, a moodily Masereel-like image hinting at the sinister contents.
Last of all, for completeness, here are a few of the other editions: one a scene from the book, the second quite abstract, and the third gloriously '60s-ish. These three images came from the Edmund Cooper Visual Bibliography.
So there you go. It's no masterpiece, though it does have a few nastily effective set-pieces, and Cooper's hatred of women shows through too much. This is, after all, a man who said in an interview that "let [women] have totally equal competition ... they'll see that they can't make it!"
The next time we visit the end of the world, we'll try for something with a little more quality.
UPDATE: An anonymous commenter informs me that "the illustration on the Remploy edition of All Fool's Day was originally illustrated to cover Remploy's edition of Death of Grass by John Christopher. Both novels contain scenes of which this illustration could be a representation. I think the swap-over was because of an illustrator not coming up with the goods on time and All Fool's Day was due out sooner. I am not so sure that it wasn't used on Death of Grass as well.