Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Black Cloud

I’ve never read my copy of Fred Hoyle's ‘The Black Cloud’ - the “science fiction by a scientist” tag instantly puts me off to be honest. But I like looking at it a lot.

According to the excellent Art of Penguin Science Fiction website, this was one of the first Penguin SF book to incorporate a cover illustration (following a few iconic Wyndham and Kneale titles), and the first that allowed a picture to interfere with the orange borders. I love the idea of readers flicking through a rack of neat, identikit Penguins, suddenly seeing this black cloud looming on the horizon…


  1. I have this book and do exactly the same thing. Every now and again I'll toy with reading it, but barely scrape past page 10...

    Lovely, lovely cover though, and nice to see that the new edition in Waterstones has the same image.

  2. Is Fred Hoyle the the same Hoyle as the 'according to Hoyle' saying that turns up in Pulp Fiction, to name one source from the media?

    Nice cover. Reminds me that we had a librarian at school who put the fear of god into us at school in 1983, by basically advising us to read several books about 'Mutually Assured Destruction'. Many of the cover's had scary looking mushroom clouds on the cover. Only in recent years has it come to light how near the 'nuclear brink' we were back then. It's a little unsettling to think how tuned in this guy was in giving us a 'nuclear warning'.

  3. 'According to Hoyle' is derived from a much earlier Hoyle (18th century, I think) who was an expert on cards and a general sort of know all. Fred Hoyle was the fellow who came up with the phrase The Big Bang, although he didn't actually like the term much.

  4. Fred Hoyle is well known English astronomer. Well known scientist to oppose Big Bang theory of formation of universe. You may interest to know more:

    And this book is one of the best science fiction works ever. Yes, starting part is slightly boring but as we read further, book becomes interesting. And it's just awesome, just awesome! Do read it!