Saturday, September 21, 2013

Shelf Candy Saturday #85: The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This weekly feature
showcases beautiful book covers,
and provides information,
if available, on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
just click HERE.

Here's my choice for this week!

The Martian Chronicles
Hardcover, 268 pages
Doubleday, First Edition
January 1, 1950
Science Fiction

Why do I love this cover?

I came across this  stunning cover on Goodreads, while compiling a list of my favorite books for yesterday's Book Blogger Hop.  With all that gorgeous blue, of course I had to feature it!

What really got my attention was the fact that this is the cover for the first edition, which was released in 1950.  Usually, I don't like science fiction covers from that decade, because the art is very tacky and sensationalistic.  So I was very pleasantly surprised by how tastefully-designed this cover is.

Although the color blue predominates, in beautiful royal and sky blue tones, there are splashes of orange at the top and bottom of the cover.  The planet Earth appears at the bottom, a small orb hanging in the midst of swirling cosmic clouds.   

The elegant, swooping lines of light that slice across space represent the flight of rockets, which, at the time this edition was published, was the symbol of SF in the public mind.  They are a very dynamic component of the composition, which comes alive and seems to even move because of them. 

The font used for the cover looks like the type used for newspaper headlines.  It is placed very strategically, and it, too, contributes to the dynamism of this cover. 

Although I already own two copies of this book, one of them included in a large, Barnes & Noble leather bound edition, I simply had to acquire this particular one!  Since this is a first edition, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get a copy.  Sure enough, when I did a Google search for it, my jaw dropped open at the astronomical (pun intended) prices!  You can see them at the link above.  There are some cheaper copies on Ebay and Alibris, but the lowest-priced one I found was around $100.00.  Thankfully, however, I also discovered that this edition was reissued in 2001!  So I was able to buy one such copy, on Abebooks (see link above)!!   I only paid $24.99, plus $3.49 S/H, for a grand total of $28.44!!!!   This is one happy bookworm/bibliophile!! 

The creator of this brilliant cover was Arthur Lidov, an American painter, illustrator, and inventor, born in Chicago in 1917.  He passed away in 1990, in Poughquag, New York.   Unfortunately, there's no Wikipedia article on this incredibly talented artist, which is not only sad, but unbelievable.  I have not found a website for him, either.


Largely self-taught, he specialized in popularizing scientific and technical material. Besides serving many national advertisers, he contributed to Life, Time, Fortune, The Saturday Evening Post, and other general and special-interest magazines. His paintings are included in several museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

In 1967, Mr. Lidov received a patent as the inventor of the Insertable Spokeless Wheel, a plastic bicycle without hubs or caps that ran on ball bearings and was, its inventor said, "impervious to flats."

Mr. Lidov was born in Chicago. He earned a degree in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1936 and was a graduate fellow in art history.

 Arthur Lidov Online

 What do you think of this cover?
Please leave a comment and
let me know!


  1. This indeed a classic cover Maria.

    Good point, this cover does look like it is 1950ish without the excesses of that decade.

    Lidov also sounds like an interesting fellow.

    Kudos on finding such a great deal on that book. It is a wonderful acquisition!

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Oh, this cover just floored me when I first saw it!! But I couldn't believe it was from the 50's. I'm sure you've seen SF covers from that time period. They are SO tasteless! This one, on the other hand, looks very modern, and could even be an abstract painting in a gallery, even with the small planet Earth at the bottom.

      I was ECSTATIC when I discovered that this book had been reissued in 2001, with the very same cover!!! And I was lucky to find such a reasonably-priced one, too. There was another of these on Abebooks, signed, and including a photo of Ray Bradbury. The price was $150.00. But if you clicked on the Abebooks link above, you know that the REAL first edition is going for $1,000.00 and more!

      Lidov was indeed a great artist and illustrator! There should be more information about him available online.

      Thanks for the great comment!! : )


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