The Joys of Old Sci-Fi Books (& Covers)

The Joys of Old Sci-Fi Books (& Covers)

In which I show off a slightly haphazard collection of old Pan C.S. Lewis and Penguin John Wyndham sci-fi, and try to justify their purchase as an exercise in learning about humanity through the writings of old sci-fi writers, rather than just because I like the wonderfully trashy covers.

What? I never said I had fancy tastes.



What about you? Do you like old sci-fi, or old books in general? What’s your weakness when it comes to books? (Other than just, well, books…)


4 Replies to “The Joys of Old Sci-Fi Books (& Covers)”

  1. Jack Lewis can go and boil his head, him and his dodgy Christian allegories, but I love John Wyndham! I can’t post images or links here, but I replied to your tweet with a picture of my editions. Wyndham’s best book, by far, is The Chrysalids, which if you’ve never read it I won’t spoil (but read it! Now!), but note that the cover illustration here is wildly inappropriate. (It was clearly some stock SF cover plastered on without any thought at all). The cover of The Outward Urge is interesting, too (much more so than the book, which is basic space opera); it is a Penguin original from 1958, as purchased new by my father for 1 shilling and sixpence, but the really odd thing is the naming of a co-author, one Lucas Parkes. If I tell you that Wyndham’s real full name was John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, perhaps that might clear up the mystery of who this co-author was – Wyndham himself! Most odd.

    1. Oh dear – I was a bit worried that I might have that problem on re-reading. I still remember my disappointment on re-reading Narnia in my early teens and realising it wasn’t quite the fantasy story I thought it was…!

      I’ve never met a Wyndham I haven’t liked, although I’m not sure if I’ve read The Chrysalids. It’s going on the TBR, whether it’s a re-read or not! I did most of my old sci-fi reading in my teens, so things are a little hazy…

      I love the sound of your collection – how strange that Wyndham listed himself as a co-author! I’d love to know the story behind that particular decision.

  2. I love pretty much anything by Lewis, and we have those same SF books, although I think our covers are slightly different. Still old as dirt and delightfully quirky. Ironically, I’ve never read them yet (they belonged to Tim before I met him, and he’s a huge SF fan from way back), but I’ve heard they’re an odd sort of appealing.

    I’ve never read Wyndham but now you have me curious! I cut my scifi teeth on Asimov and Heinlein, though it’s been so many years that I’m hard-pressed to remember much detail. Sigh . . . I guess that means my TBR pile gains yet another bunch of additions!

    1. I have to admit that I find Asimov very hard going, and have never read Heinlein – I’m not very good with hard sci-fi. I love Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, and, of course, Wyndham! The C.S. Lewis books I remember as being very odd and very good – I definitely need to re-read them! (My TBR is tottering dangerously as we speak…!)

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