Stainless Steel Art (24)

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The very first images of the Rat…

The first short story, ‘The Stainless Steel Rat,’- technically a novelette, I think – featuring Slippery Jim, appeared in the August 1957 issue of Astounding magazine. This story now makes up the opening chapters of the novel The Stainless Steel Rat.

Illustrations for that very first appearance were by the great Frank Kelly Freas (1922-2005). Freas provided the interior artwork and covers for countless Astounding / Analog stories, including a number of HH’s, and one of his covers was used as the cover for the Queen LP News of the World.

Art: Frank Kelly Freas

Art: Frank Kelly Freas

As ever, the scans don’t show the artwork in its true glory – the magazine these were taken from was brown with age…  This first picture appears above the title, and shows – I think – Jim in disguise at the beginning of the story before the appearance of the police robot.

Art: Frank Kelly Freas

Art: Frank Kelly Freas

Here’s Jim in a pretty natty outfit, about to cause chaos in a bank. These days, of course, banks cause their own chaos and lose billions without the need for the intervention of a thief…😉

Art: Frank Kelly Freas

Art: Frank Kelly Freas

And finally, here’s an image from the end of the story, where Jim is trying to escape the clutches of the dreaded Special Corps… and we all know how that turned out, don’t we?

One Response to “Stainless Steel Art (24)”

  1. hawaiianbrian Says:

    Looking at that first face drawing, it’s easy to see where the great comic book artist Brian Bolland (2000AD, Batman, Animal Man etc) was influenced by Freas’ style. The ‘News of the World’ album cover is fantastic (plus the album contains Queen’s best song — ‘It’s Late’).

    And if I could ramble on some more, both Brian May and Roger Taylor are big SF fans. Taylor’s first solo album was called Fun in Space and had a SF cover (the familiar BEM or ‘bug-eyed monster’!). May’s song ’39’ is based on Einstein’s time dilation effect. Finally, Queen did the soundtrack for the film ‘Flash Gordon’, so there’s another indirect link to Harry Harrison.

    The saying that all rock stars are frustrated actors may have some truth to it, but it may also be the case that many rock stars are frustrated SF writers!

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