Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The horror...the horror...

In an article I recently read, Jonathan Rosenbaum mentions lending a book to Susan Sontag, Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon. I figured the book was probably worth reading since these are two people whose opinions I find worthwhile, so I wrote down the name of it for later invesitigation. Well, I looked it up this morning, and although the book is apparently very notable, this is what I found:

Olaf Stapledon Last and First Men
What self respecting person could ever buy something so ugly? Why do science fiction books always have the absolute worst covers? It might as well be a user's guide to Dianetics! No wonder the genre isn't taken very seriously. (And yes, I'm sorry for subjecting some of my more sensitive readers to such a gross monstrosity.)


Erin said...

I recently read Mary Shelley's lesser known work, "The Last Man." On the back of the edition I had, the publishers were clearly trying to cater to their 11-14 male population when they prefaced the premise in firey lettering, stating "Beyond Armageddon..."
Pretty ridiculous, and I'm sure whatever pre-teen fell for it was sorely disappointed by Shelley's lament at the end of Romanticism.

John said...

This is a big problem for me as well. You should the see the cover for the 1935 copy of that fateful tome "Odd John," a first edition of which figures heavily into a particularly daring forthcoming exploit. My copy of First & Last Men/Star Maker has a couple of sea-sponges on the cover and that's it. The significance of deep-sea creatures is also striking but it wouldn't be safe to discuss here. Star-Maker is fascinating, prophetic, and hilarious.

"...and when at last they came in contact, many of them were already highly industrialized, and equipped with the most "modern" weapons... It would be wearisome to describe the insane warfare which ensued."

I'll give you my copy when I'm through.