It looks like Korero Press has another fantastic book coming out soon: Rayguns and Rocketships is by ace designer Rian Hughes. It’s a celebration of old Sci-Fi book covers from the ’40s and ’50s! Here’s the official teaser copy:
Rayguns and rockets! Spacesuited heroes caught in the tentacles of evil insectoid aliens! Who could resist such wonders? Science-fiction paperbacks exploded over the 1940s and ’50s literary landscape with the force of an alien gamma bomb.
Titles such as Rodent Mutation, The Human Bat vs The Robot Gangster, Dawn of the Mutants and Mushroom Men from Mars appeared from fly-by-night publishers making the most of the end of post-war paper rationing. They were brash and seductive – for around a shilling the future was yours. The stories were often conceived around a pre-commissioned cover and a title suggested by the publisher, and the writers were paid by the word, and sometimes not paid at all. Titles were knocked out at a key-pounding pace, sometimes over a weekend, by authors now lost to literary history (plus a few professionals who could spot an opportunity) who were forced to write under pseudonyms like Ray Cosmic, Steve Future, Vector Magroon or Vargo Statten.
Despite the tight deadlines and poor pay, the books’ cover artists still managed to produce works of multi-hued, brain-bending brilliance, and collected here is an overview of their output during an unparalleled period of brash optimism and experimentation in publishing.
Rayguns and Rocketships just launched on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. A signed limited edition, a deluxe hardcover in a slipcase and a regular trade edition discounted from the retail price will all be available to backers. Fans and pop culture lovers can back this on Kickstarter now!
Rian Hughes is an award-winning graphic designer. I like to use his book on logos in my business classes, in fact. I found some time to catch up with him with my 5 ½ questions:
QUESTION 1: I’m so excited you’ve created this book. Why hasn’t this been done before and what’s the story behind it?
RIAN HUGHES: It began as a cataloguing project. Without really trying, I’ve accumulated something of a collection of vintage SF paperbacks since I found Rodent Mutation at a jumble sale way back when I was on my art foundation. After a few decades of picking these things up, you find you have quite a few shelves worth. I scanned them in and did a prototype book via Blurb (print on demand service) a few years back, mainly for my own amusement. Yak at Korero Press, whom I’d previously collaborated on ‘Logo-a-Gogo’ with saw it, and here we are. Continue reading “With Further Ado #183: Rocket Time! 5 and a Half Questions With Rian Hughes”