The Illustrated Book Of Science Fiction Ideas & Dreams by David Kyle (book review).

June 13, 2021 | By | 1 Reply More

This book, ‘The Illustrated Book Of Science Fiction Ideas & Dreams’, is a companion piece to David Kyle’s ‘A Pictorial History Of Science Fiction’, looking at different aspects of SF although it would have been difficult not to have some elements of history, simply for its placement in time.

Even so, there has to be some comparisons. There’s certainly more art pages in proportion to text. Kyle also quotes large portions of text from various books. These days, there would be a change of font or go italic to distinguish from author text and found that a little jarring after so long a time.

What probably makes this book a good investment is the selection of illustrations and some I haven’t seen before. There’s a brilliant black and white illustration by Kelly Freas from Analog in 1972 on page 64 showing a man hauling a levitating workload and a godlike being as part of the background mountain. Sheer magic.

Oddly, the strength of this book comes less from the text but the art from over the decades of Science Fiction history from covers to interior illustrations with everyone up to 1977 being covered. Its not comprehensive in that regard but there’s a fair bet there’s going to be a lot of art you haven’t seen before.

A lot of the black and white illustrations are larger than their original print size but it does show how laboriously they created their own textures without any mechanical aids. I suspect much of the art came from Kyle’s own collection. Oddly, there are no bug-eyed monsters (BEMs) but there are several with eyes on stalks.

Given the choice, make sure you get the book and treat this one as a supplement.

GF Willmetts

June 2021

(pub: Hamlyn, 1977. 173 page illustrated indexed large hardback. Price: I pulled a copy for under £ 4.00 (UK). . ISBN: 0-600-38248-6)

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Category: Books, Illustration, Scifi

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (1)

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  1. Steve says:

    Hi Geoff, I think you meant to say in your last sentence “Given the choice, make sure you get the FIRST book and treat this one as a supplement.”
    The review made me dig out my own original copies from back in the day. I agree there are some superb b&w interiors from the likes of Virgil Finlay that you don’t see as often as the covers.
    Best wishes on a great newsletter.

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