" In this universe the night was falling; the shadows were lengthening towards an east that would not know another dawn. But elsewhere the stars were still young and the light of morning lingered; and along the path he once had followed, Man would one day go again"

Arthur C. Clarke Against the Fall of Night

Monday, October 10, 2016


My wife and I returned from 8 days in Venice Italy Friday night. (snow since then) More on this on my other blog but I will mention, it is a great city and 8 days are not nearly enough time to see all it has to offer. Great religious art by Titian, Bellini, and Tintoretto, spectacular buildings and even great surrealist masterpieces at the Guggenheim like Max Ernst's The Antipope and Attirement of the Bride, Yves Tanguy's The Soul in the Jewel Case, Paul Delvaux's The Break of Day and De Chirico's The Red Tower. We were indifferent to Ernst paintings until we saw them in person, then wow. But this is a SF site. Some time ago Joachim Boaz ran a series of posts on an Italian artist that produced some astounding SF covers

"Mariella Anderlini, under the pseudonym Allison, produced a vast number of surreal and masterful SF covers (between 1969-1988) primarily for the Italian SF publisher Libra Editrice. " quoted from his post below.

My wife had pointed out that there is a bookstore in Venice that is famous for keeping books in boats so we decided on a visit. Of course I had to see if they had any works by Allison. 

As we arrived, a tour guide was leading a group in but they dissipated in seconds after a quick photo. Okay it was a bit musty, the books were stacked vertically on tables to the ceiling, between 3 and 4 feet. So I stood on a rickey step stool (mentioned that my health insurance cards were in a pouch around my neck)  and started handing books down to my wife to get to the titles I was interested in. Luckily these have distinctive spines. I found five Libra Ediitrice and some Urania volumes a SF magazine that often reprints American and British SF. I don't read Italian but I love SF illustrators.

As we had been trying to get into the glass shop of Vittorio Constantini for some time (for many of the small shops in Venice the posted hours are the best case scenario) I decided I had enough. Before we left the owner insisted we visit the garden to see the canal.  By this time I was tired of climbing but my wife bravely clambered up and reported there was indeed a canal.

The covers below are my best attempts at presenting Allison's work, the five books are actually chipped, rubbed, the back cover of the Wright mostly missing. and the smell, after working with them a couple of hours they have been banished to the ledge on the basement landing where the smelliest offering from ABE spend some time.

 The Iron Star 1930 (1981)

The Amphibians & The World Below 1939/1949 (1981)

The Valley of Creation 1950 (1979)

The Star Kings 1949 (1970)

Final Blackout 1943 (1982)

The sixth book, in far better condition was acquired at http://www.libreriamarcopolo.com/p/about-us.html 
a small bookstore we stumbled across while looking for a banking machine. Yes the glass store opened but their credit card machine was broken. Armed with a map we set out only to get lost, again.  Part of Venice's charm is spending part of each day a bit lost, Marco Polo actually only went out for milk. The proprieter also had a beautiful copy of 
Urania containing the Sands of Mars, by Clarke, in Le Sabbie Di Marte 10'11/1952, but I found the $160 Euro price tag high.

 See the link below for a photo.

I settled for The Four Sided Triangle by William F. Temple #56 in the classic's series for 15 Euros a bit more than twice the cost of the books from the other store, and directions to the banking machine. The Four Sided is the story of childhood friends who fall for the same girl. As usually happens she moves away they become scientists, she moves back and they create a matter duplication machine, ah! high school! It became an early Hammer Horror film in 1953. And yes we bought some lovely glass. Sorry this post is so long and arrivederci.

The Four Sided Triangle 1949 (1981)

The Urania date from the 1970's to 1980
These are rough translations using

Micronauts in the Garden, cover by Karel Thole
(The Micronauts)

The Martian in the Attic, cover by Karel Thole

The Men in the Walls, cover by Karel Thole
(Of Men and Monsters)

The Anti-Man, cover by Karel Thole

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