MagazineBook reviews

Just in | Library of book reviews 


Sirens by Chris Achilleos

1/01/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Sirens in the USA - or Buy Sirens in the UK

author pic

pub: Titan Books. 128 page illustrated softcover. Price: £12.99 (UK), $19.95 (US), $24.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84856-368-1.

check out websites: and

'Sirens' was originally released in 1986 and was the second book of artist Chris Achilléos to see print. To bring in the start of the new decade, Titan Books have re-issued this long out-of-print book. In many respects, 'Sirens' is very much an examination of what Achilléos did at the start of his career and a pointer to anyone contemplating commercial art that you have to be both versatile in what you can do and the mediums you use.

Achilléos has done the lot. From book covers to film posters, cheesecake to role-playing games. Science Fiction or fantasy, it doesn't make much difference but to do your best, win the commission and more importantly, get the original artwork back. I love the tale where one publisher told Achilléos that the artwork was lost but mysteriously found it when he sent them in a bill. The text in this book is by Nigel Suckling by the way.

If you're of a particular age then you might well own some of Achilléos book cover art without realising who it was on the book covers. A lot of the Target 'Doctor Who' novelisations are his. So, surprisingly to me, are the 'Dollar' western covers depicting Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name. So are the original 'Star Trek' episode novelisations second reprints, too, come to that. Michael Moorcock and he also got on with, so he's done coverwork there, too. He also did the film poster for the animated film, 'Heavy Metal'. Do I see any wise heads nodding sagely now about where they've heard the name? At the time, Achilléos was one of the few commercial artists who was experienced with air-brush and became very much in demand.

As this is a reprint, you're going to see how the book was laid out in the past. Compared to artbooks today, picture placement next to text is practically non-existent but at least it points you to the right pages to look at and the paper isn't flimsy to flick to the right page to have a gander at what is being referred to. That's only a minor grievance and would be outside of anyone's hands today without a serious rearrange edit.

With the price this book is offered at, everyone can afford it. There is literally something in here for everyone across the genres and even if it's outside your particular field of interest, you'll marvel at the rest. Truly a great artbook to own.

GF Willmetts

Magazine > Book reviews

Just in | Library of book reviews

Add daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...


This book has 12 votes in the sci-fi charts

The all-new SFcrowsnest is now running at This is now the archive for pre-2012 content. Nothing new is being posted here.

Magazine Articles

- Features

- Movie/TV Reviews

- Book Reviews

- News

- E-mail magazine

- Encyclopedia

- Other formats: Kindle, Nook, Sony Ebook, iPhone & iPod


- Top books

- Top movies/tv series


- SciFi @ FaceBook

- Steampunk @ FaceBook

- Us @ Google+


- Search site

Reader Tools

- RSS news feed

- Facebook page for SFcrowsnest

- Twitter page for SFcrowsnest

- Google toolbar for SFcrowsnest

Webmaster Tools

- Add our content feeds to your site