One of the problems with only having so much time to consume so much media is that one is only able to know so much. True, classic works are always available, but the prevalence of some themes makes me wonder when they started. I'll bet one hundred years ago authors weren't writing feverishly about defeating evil empires, such as in...
Alpha Centauri or Die!
Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to the Solar System...only 4.3 light years away. To Kirby and his followers it meant freedom - freedom from the tyranny and repression of Earth's dictatorship.
But that freedom would have to be earned - the flight to Alpha Centauri would mean five years jammed in the belly of an obsolete spaceship, five years of praying that the food supply would last, five years of fighting off the Government ships sent out to intercept them...
And if they did manage to reach the unknown planets that were their goal, what would they find? Freedom? Or a fate more terrible than any they could have faced on Earth?
Chances are if the name Leigh Brackett doesn't ring a bell, you have certainly watched her writing in action on the big screen (hint: she wrote The Empire Strikes Back). Although this cover is from the 70s, this book was published in 1963 and looks like a quick read. I'm quickly noticing that circles and eyes are popular motifs, and this one cleverly has both. See how cleverly the planet Earth forms the pupil? And what is with the broken tape machine? Stare at some covers long enough, and they seem to stare back at you, which is exactly what the creepy couple is doing. Let's take a closer look:
Is one of them an inhabitant of Alpha Centauri? Is the other suffering the effects of five years in a tin can? I guess I'll have to read to find out!