Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick

Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick

Clans of the Alphane Moon is a Philip K. Dick novel that was originally published in 1964. The book is an expanded version of his short story “Shell Game,” which was published in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1954. It is set in the aftermath of a war between Earth and a planet of insectoid aliens from the planet Alphane.

The creatures on Alphane have divided themselves into clans based on the mental illnesses they suffer from. Members of the Poly clan suffer from polymorphic schizophrenia. The Pare clan suffers from paranoia, while the Ob-Com clan members all have obsessive-compulsive disorder. While some critics appreciate the unabashedly weird plot, this is not one of PKD’s better-received works.

This cover is from the book’s second edition, which was published by Ace Books in 1972. This edition features a new cover from artist Davis Meltzer. While Meltzer isn’t credited for this work, his signature can be spotted if you look closely at the gun.

Meltzer frequently worked as a science-fiction cover artist, painting covers for books like Clifford D. Simak’s City and Andre Norton’s Plague Ship. However, Meltzer also worked as an illustrator for the U.S. Postal Service, NASA and National Geographic. His work can be found in a number of museums and scientific publications.

Meltzer envisions a future moon colony in the February 1969 issue of National Geographic.

In spite of Meltzer’s futuristic artwork, he struggled with the transition to the digital age. “Computers have rendered my services as an illustrator null and void. I’m essentially a dinosaur in this age of blogs and Googles,” he told his alumni magazine in 2005. “I continue to work on various projects that allow me freedom of expression in my little studio at home.”

The book also features signed but uncredited interior art from Jack Gaughan, who did cover art for works such as Here Abide Monsters by Andre Norton.