In October 2016, Penguin released six of their greatest masterworks of science fiction and fantasy, with bright, bold “bare boards” naked hardcover designs. The series was curated by crowd favourite Neil Gaiman, and each volume opens with his introductory series essay on the charm and value of science fiction.
The series includes many of my own favourites, particularly Stranger in a Strange Land and The Once and Future King. It’s nice to see these in sturdy volumes for a change, but sadly the binding is glued, which leaves open questions regarding their longevity.
A dazzling jewel-box Lucite box-set was also briefly available, but it was produced in very limited numbers and it sold out soon after publication, however the individual titles are still all currently in print. The covers are designed by Spanish artist Alex Trochut, and the titles are printed straight onto the books’ boards in stylized, embossed gold leaf type – with distinctive type-art for each cover, and a cute individualised symbol on the back.
Note that the spine titles on these editions run from bottom to top (normal for most European languages except English), so they appear “upside-down” in an English-language shelf.
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke
About the book: A space-opera spanning from the dawn of man to humanity reaching the stars.
Neuromancer by William Gibson
About the book:
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
About the book: A human raised on Mars, Michael Valentine Smith arrives on Earth for the first time, and as he struggles to understand humanity, his own psionic powers make him a messiah figure.
Dune by Frank Herbert
About the book: The epic story of Paul Atreides, who will become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, whose sands are the only source of a powerful drug called “the spice.”
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
About the book: A lone human emissary goes on mission to Winter, an unknown alien world whose inhabitants can choose—and change—their gender.
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
About the book: A delightful retelling of the saga of King Arthur. It follows Arthur from his youth, through the disillusioning early years of his reign, to maturity when his vision of the Round Table develops into the search for the Holy Grail, and finally to his weary old age.
The Penguin Galaxy Boxed Set
Complete set. 6 volumes in a lucite case.
Where to buy: Abe books (OOP) – Rare