Sci-Fi Sundays: Galaxy, February 1965


Originally published at:


Ah yes, I “fondly” recall a similar setup from the 80’s. free film with every roll processed, because the money was always in the film processing. Although this 60’s ad appears to be using generic film.

In the 80’s, the scheme involved using motion picture film (slides with negatives!) that seemed, to me as an ignorant pre-internet consumer, unlikely to be handled by your generic corner film shop. So you had a degree of lock-in. I escaped by gradually losing interest in photography as grad school consumed more and more time and money for frivolities like film became more scarce.


Well, there’s a generic leaf just above the beetle too, presumably representing botany, so the beetle probably is there to represent zoology, given the vast numbers of species they have (and J.B.S Haldane’s famous flippant comment about that).


Sea Monkeys of Seduction

Their world was dying – and the only way to save it was sex!


Uh, what is it with all those sentences that abruptly stop in the middle and are never finished. Also, “…as you can see in this video…” what video? Otherwise neat stuff.


Looks to me like the captions for those two pictures were swapped. The Fig.1 caption goes to Fig.2 and vice versa.


On my browser, at least, the text is overlapped by the photos.

I’m going to guess that the beetles, sine waves, and leaf illo is a sort of “generic science collage” that accompanies Ley’s science column. Another issue or two from the same year might prove this out.

I remember using a “film club” type system as late as 2002; I was a very late adopter of digital cameras. The place I used gave you a sheet of bar code stickers you stuck on the 35mm film rolls. These had my customer number, so they could auto-address the return envelope. You got rolls of film along with the prints.


Also, “Uncredited?” It’s clearly signed “BALBALIS.”

John Balbalis was a scientific illustrator with Wiley & Sons. Interestingly, the first hit on his name relates to a logo he made for an organization dedicated to study of the Shroud of Turin.



Glorious Scarab, which has two scientific names; Plusiotis Gloriosa or Chrysina Gloriosa.

Scientific names are set off from the rest of the text, usually in italics, and the specific epithet is not capitalized. Like this: Plusiotis gloriosa or Chrysina gloriosa. I don’t see how one can love science fiction and not care about science.


Scarab beetles are featured in Egyptian mythology: the sun was thought to be rolled across the sky by one, like a scarab on earth rolls a dung ball.

As to the upside-down spaceship: in space, there is no upside-down.


Thanks for going to the trouble of producing these articles, Caleb. These old SF magazines are a wonder.

I’m also having trouble with images overlapping the text, so I’m hesitant to comment on things, for fear it’s addressed in text I can’t see. Love seeing the Virgil Finlay and Gray Morrow art. Both great artists, who may have been “slumming” doing work for this magazine. I can’t imagine the pay was great. I could be quite wrong about that though.

The art accompanying the Ley piece looks like pick-up art meant to accompany such articles concerning all things “science,” as stephanjones suggests.

And finally, the bad registration of the plates on the cover is common for that time period, unfortunately. With big web presses, it was easy for a plate or two two shift, and too expensive and time consuming to stop the presses and get everything lined up properly.

Please keep 'em coming!


That spaceship was ribbed for her pleasure.


Them Space-Squid Ladies are both evidence, and generators, of Panspermia. Pretty clear they are related to both Earth Ladies, and Prairie Squid.


The beetle looks strongly to me like the Colorado Potato Beetle, which featured in a poster warning about invasive species in a Customs office I used to visit as part of my first job.


This is such a perfect subject for a regular column at Boing Boing. It deserves the editing that all the other work gets.


Interesting — I didn’t realize Virgil Finlay was still working in the mid-60s. An amazing talent. I had some issues viewing this online, but I wondered if the Cordwainer Smith story was any good?


Cool stuff as always Caleb.
Keep it coming.


It is also possible that the layout was accidentally placed incorrectly.

It does look much better (to modern eyes, at least) upside-down.

Also: nice work.


Anyone who interested in orreries and armillary spheres would probably be interested in Clickspring’s YouTube series on replicating the Antikythera mechanism..

Clickspring is the channel that had a long series on building a beautiful brass clock.


Regarding the vehicle on the “On the Storm Planet” illustration: Those are not oars, they are the upper portions of massive stabilizing jacks fired/bored into the ground to hold the vehicle in one spot when the supersonic winds got worse.

(I’m a major Cordwainer Smith fan-geek.)