What a treat this is! A totally sci-fi themed selection from artist Fergus Purcell. Fergus (or Fergadelic if you’re going by his revealing pseudonym) has carved quite a name for himself in the underground art scene, with his trippy illustrations and designs for Palace Skateboards. Fergus loves the weird, the wild and the wonky, as you can see from his clothing label Aries and his absolutely spectacular collection of rare sci-fi reads. Without further ado, here he is…
Philip K.Dick: Clans Of The Alphane Moon
I’m a super fan of Philip K.Dick and this is my favourite of his books. It’s about mental health problems, divorce, inter-planetary warfare and co-stars a slime mould. Essential reading.
Brian Aldiss: Frankenstein Unbound
This was made into a rather shonky film (quite fun) that doesn’t do it justice. The book is sublime. A tear in the fabric of time throws the narrator back to the early 19th Century, to the shores of Lake Geneva. Byron, the Shelleys and Frankenstein’s monster are all there, the myth intertwined with the historical reality. It’s not so much a deconstruction of the original novel as a further exploration of its themes (maybe “Frankenstein Redux”?) and indeed a love letter to Mary Shelley’s wonderful book.
Ursula K. LeGuin: The Dispossessed
A book about anarcho syndicalism versus capitalism could be dry as fuck, but this isn’t. A deep, emotional and exciting story of a culture clash and the man caught in the middle. So much of sci-fi literature is based on a great premise that is then rather poorly explored, and this is an example of the opposite. It is detailed, provocative and convincing. I’ve bought several copies over the years as gifts for people as I feel that it’s a great advert for how amazing sci-fi can be.
Mick Farren: The Texts Of Festival
Mick Farren was an important figure in the UK early 1970s counterculture. He contributed lyrics to Hawkwind and Motorhead, was a member of various bands, a music journalist, a Hell’s Angels affiliate and an author. This is his first book and it combines all those themes. A post apocalyptic Britain society has disintegrated and hostile tribes roam the land. There is desolation and then there is Festival, an island of feudal community and religion.
Creating a proto-Mad Max aesthetic, Farren combines his contemporary interest in the underground and rock ‘n roll (the leader of the marauding tribe is called Iggy, for example) with a future primitive mythos to create a super entertaining book that has a deep resonance – at least for anyone that’s interested in bikers, the MC5 and the cultural stirrings that preceded punk rock. This book is greasy and crusty!
Harry Harrison: The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World
I read this when I was a teenager and it was one of the key books that got me into sci-fi. Great hero (a wily techno villain), great adversary (a primal sub human giant), great supporting cast of characters and a time-travelling plot that presents various fun scenarios and historical backgrounds. It was also serialised in the favourite comic of my youth, 2,000 A.D., which made me love it even more.