Friday 9 April 2021

It's a fact! Science Fiction is a very popular literary genre; how about the stamps?

According to an article last year in The Guardian, many authors still don't think much of science fiction, a genre which owes its popularity to the 1920s pulp fiction paperbacks.  But what we now include in science fiction goes back to the previous century to the work of Mary Shelley and H G Wells.

Royal Mail reckon that SF includes one of Britain’s best inventions - The Future. 

"The steam engine powered not only the Industrial Revolution but the imagination too. In 1818, Mary Shelley reworked the Gothic romance to address the advances of contemporary science. By the 1890s, this type of story was called the ‘scientific romance’, and in a few short years HG Wells and his generation had formulated the elements of ‘science fiction’. The genre has since spread around the world and has become a key way in which humans think through their possible futures.

"We celebrate classic science fiction on the 75th anniversary of the death of HG Wells and 70th of publication of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids.

"The illustrations feature on the 6 stamps have a unique interpretation of each of the science fiction classics by 6 different artists."

Pair of 1st class stamps: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Time Machine by H G Wells

Pair of £1.70 stamps: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Pair of £2.55 stamps - Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke, and Shikasta by Doris Lessing

Technical details

Designed by Webb & Webb Design Ltd the 35mm se-tenant stamps are printed in litho by International Security Printers (Cartor).

The specially commissioned artwork is
Frankenstein illustration by Sabina Šinko;
The Time Machine illustration by Francisco Rodríguez, reference image of sunrise in the Namib Desert © Magdalena Paluchowska/Alamy Stock Photo;
Brave New World illustration by Thomas Danthony;
The Day of the Triffids illustration by Mick Brownfield;
Childhood’s End illustration by Matt Murphy;
Shikasta illustration by Sarah Jones;   all illustrations © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2021.


Set of 6 stamps, first day cover, presentation pack, stamp cards.


I like the subjects and I think the designs are innovative - it is so nice to see new artwork, whether or not you like it, rather than stock/library (or even specially commissioned) photographs.  But I suspect, like science fiction as a genre, it's a Marmite issue - you like it or hate it!  Reading more about the issue in the general media may encourage more people to read the books.


  1. This is definitely my thing I love science fiction especially novels, the Authors that are covered have read books by all of them apart from Doris Lessing. HG Wells is my favourite Sci-fi author of all-time, I would have thought they would have went with War of the Worlds rather than The Time Machine which I find quite odd. The stamps themselves look great and very attractive.

  2. I like 'em too. My favourite is the Day Of The Triffids stamp, but they are all so, so, so much better than David Jason's gurning mug. Artwork on stamps eh! Who'd have thunk?

  3. Its a shame that now prices are linear we cant have 6 1st class stamps to get them all to a wider audience but thats a fiver less for RM's coffers!

  4. They miss a trick by not producing a second class stamp and making up a 2nd class booklet, like they do with the 1st class commemorative stamps.

  5. I'm in two minds about this set... I like The Time Machine and Childhood's End but Frankenstein is terrible and Brave New World is dull. Shikasta is OK; and I agree with Eeeeen that Day of the Triffids is the best of the lot.

    I also agree with Martin; we could have had a different Wells stamp - or indeed a full set, The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Shape of Things to Come, The First Men in the Moon, The Food of the Gods. Backed up by a minisheet of non-SF works Kipps, The History of Mr Polly, Tono-Bungay, The New Machiavelli.


Thank you for reading the blog and commenting: please use an identity (name or pseudonym) rather than being Anonymous; it helps us to know which 'anonymous' comments are from the same person to avoid confusion. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, but will be published as soon as possible.