Sci-Fi Sundays: The Original Science Fiction Stories, March 1957

This is such a wonderful cover. The look on the lady's face, the ridiculous zero-G fighting, and the bullets in the ray-gun are all fantastic. As I was looking over all the details on this cover though, I began to see a different story.

Look at their clothing. The style is about what you'd expect from 50's science fiction, with tight boots and over-alls. Her outfit has some common traits from the 50's including a shape that lends itself to a bullet bra, and a waistline that looks impossible. That waistline is what shifts the narrative in my mind though. See all those dials and indicators? how the heck are you supposed to read those? Wait a sec! Those guys in the background are probably just reading each other's belts! That certainly makes her look a tiny bit more malicious with her hand-canon. 

Publication: The Original Science Fiction Stories

Issue: March 1957, volume: 7 No. 5 

Cover art: Emsh from Saturnalia

The table of contents states that there are illustrations from Emsh, Freas, and Orban. However, I don't see any stories that carry the illustrator credit for Kelly Freas. Usually there's a line on the title page somewhere. There are a number of illustrations in this issue that are simply uncredited, and at least one of them bears his obvious signature. 

The caption that goes along with this picture is "I saw the other side of the moon...". This is especially interesting to me. This statement seems so cute and silly, but the fact is, at that time it would be 11 more years before we finally orbited the moon! Read the rest

Sci-Fi Sundays: Worlds of IF, March 1968

When I first picked up this issue of Worlds Of IF, I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes. This hodge-podge collage of a cover simply didn't instill confidence that what I would find inside would be of much quality. Boy was I wrong. The illustrations in this issue are simply delightful. The cover is actually attributed to a specific story, so I guess an artist set out to create what, in my mind, looks like an introduction to microsoft powerpoint. Then again, this was the 60s, maybe this layout was new and edgy back then. Read the rest

Sci-Fi Sundays: Analog, March 1969

As usual, Analog always shines when it comes to cover art. They've got the fantastic Kelly Freas who supplied rich and colorful depictions for many years. On top of that, the actual printing itself is of decent quality. If you compare this to the issue from the last article, you'll see that having your print lined up perfectly wasn't always the case for magazines like this.

I noticed that the pants on the illustration are tailored with a bit of detail around the tail. There's a snap and a zipper. I can't help but wonder if this was outlined explicitly in the story or if Freas, while illustrating, stopped to ponder how a pair of pants for a creature with a tail would work.

For the issues from my collection that happen to fall in the 60's through mid 70's, I really enjoy seeing what was actually going in the space program during the same period. For example, this issue was published in March of 1969. Readers would be enjoying this issue while also hearing about the Apolo 9 mission on the radio and TV. This was a period of firsts. Many of the flights were presenting large tasks, being done for the first time in space. Apallo 9 was the first space docking, which included transferring people between the modules. That's pretty wild. I can only imagine the wonder and excitement in the minds of the Sci-Fi community during this time.

Publication: Analog, Science Fiction Science Fact

Issue: March 1969, volume: LXXXII No. Read the rest

CT scan of a bee's brain

This bee is clearly smarter than me. [via]

“Bees are known to perform very complex tasks considering the size of their brains and their simplicity compared to high-level organisms,” said Gill. “If we can focus on simple tissues and find the small changes that can have profound effects on behavior, it can give us a basis to start understanding how very small changes to that brain can do that.”

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Public domain illustrations from old books

Old Book Illustrations is a search engine and browseable library of—you've guessed it!—the engraved illustrations and litho prints found in old books.

Choose the type of illustrations you want to see: animals or people, landscapes, buildings, etc. Choose your favorite illustrators from a list: Gustave Doré, John Leech, Charles H. Bennett...[and] Find illustrations by the title of the book or periodical in which they were published: Æsop's fables, Punch, L'Illustration...

The scans are high-resolution (though it appears the scanned items are sometimes worse-for-wear) and most come with lots of details about their original creation and printing. Read the rest


Google Books' scan of Edward Spitzka's book, "Insanity", includes this interesting page concerning involuntary constriction of the pupils, disturbances in the flow of words, and how patients distort letterforms when writing insane documents. [Thanks, Joel!] Read the rest