Thursday 30 May 2013

Messing About in Boats

A bunch of covers, all from UK publishers over the past few years, all with very similar etched/linocut-style images of boats on stormy seas, and similar colour palettes...

UPDATE: More examples, suggested by sharp-eyed commenters...

Lot's Wife Saw Afghans

This imminent translation of an award-winning book of Greek dystopian SF has a cover...

..that is surely based on this famous photo by Steve McCurry.

Even in the climate-change-fucked future, Europeans have better skin care and make-up than 1980s Afghan women.

Friday 24 May 2013

Needle in Arm, Head Bursting into Flames

In chatting online with talented Swedish designer Magnus Häglund (see his excellent personal designs for H. G. Wells books, done as newspaper front pages, here), I learned of a book I can't believe I didn't already know about: a Swedish modern classic, a dystopian novel about a totalitarian future with the population kept under control through the use of truth drugs and the like. It's Karin Boye's Kallocain, from 1940, and my determination to read it made me thrilled to discover an English translation has been put online by the University of Wisconsin.

There's nothing like a real book, though, and in searching for covers, I found a beauty, from a Norwegian publisher, Lanterne.

The same publisher had some other, wonderfully psychedelic SF covers:

Many of these have a very David Pelham feel.

For more, see this Flickr page.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Loss of Pubic Hair

It's always pleasant to see a mostly forgotten author you love be brought back into print for other people to rediscover. The latest example of this I have is Alfred Hayes, who the ever-wondrous NYRB is resurrecting later this year.

The downside to such a resurrection is that the nice new editions almost always look much better than the mouldy old tattered second-hand copies of the books I already own.

Oddly, there was a much different cover for My Face For the World to See originally mooted, and shown on some bookshop sites. I'm not sure if it was ditched because of pubic hair concerns, or because it didn't match the style of the In Love cover.

All three photos are by Saul Leiter.

Given the intro to My Face... is being written by David Thomson, I'm intrigued to see how he's going to work his embarrassing Nicole Kidman obsession into it.

And to conclude, here's my old Penguin edition of In Love.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Wait, what?

As someone who is always on the look-out for classics that I've somehow missed, I was intrigued tocome across a publisher called Bibliolis Books, who are putting out lesser-known works by great (or at least important) writers, like so:

And with some of the better-known books in their catalogue, nothing seems amiss:

But looking deeper through their list, I'm a bit alarmed by the covers given some other better-known books.

Mistah Kurtz--he on a road trip

The book that fits this cover would be significantly less odd than the one Stoker wrote

Eppie was a surprisingly modern girl

Gulliver joins Kurtz

This makes the book's social comedy look more like some Kafkaesque nightmare

Despite the cover, this book contains no pretentious nightclubbers who refuse to act their age

Sit, Earnest, sit--good dog.

Again, you see what they meant, but it's all wrong

Is this a case of Tutis-like randomness? That seems unlikely--there's more care given to the titles printed than Tutis ever showed. But what the hell is going on with these covers? Bibliolis's own website is no help, being virtually information-free. What is going on here?