Classic Science Fiction


09 April 2021
Royal Mail celebrate six classic science fiction novels by British writers with a new set of stamps featuring specially commissioned illustrations depicting key moments in the evolution of the genre. 

Stamps honour Britain's sci-fi authors

The stamps are issued in the year that marks the 75th anniversary of the death of HG Wells and the 70th anniversary of the publication of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids.
The classic novels and illustrators featured in the set are:

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: illustration by Sabina Šinko
  • The Time Machine by HG Wells: illustration by Francisco Rodríguez
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: illustration by Thomas Danthony
  • The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham: illustration by Mick Brownfield
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke: illustration by Matt Murphy
  • Shikasta by Doris Lessing: illustration by Sarah Jones

Royal Mail also worked with British writer and academic, Roger Luckhurst, on the stamp issue.

Roger is a Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London and was Distinguished Visiting Professor at Columbia University in 2016.
The full set of six stamps, available in a Presentation Pack, retails at £11.10. The stamps and a range of collectible products are available now to pre-order from  
Stamp issue date: 15 April 2021

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Sci-fi authors, stamp by stamp

Mary Shelley (1797–1851)

The daughter of radicals, Shelley wrote her most famous book when she was just 19, in a famous ghost-story competition with Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. Frankenstein switched the Gothic romance from religious terror to secular scientific horror.

HG Wells (1866–1946)

A young writer from the first generation of those with formal scientific training, Wells jumped into the new journals and magazines of the 1890s and helped fashion the British ‘scientific romance’ in his disturbing exploration of futures near and far.

Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)

Huxley was a satirical novelist who, in horrified reaction to Wells’s outline of scientific utopia, created in Brave New World one of the most enduring novels of dystopia. He explores a future where technology oppresses rather than liberates humanity.

John Wyndham (1903–69)

Wyndham captured the anxious and diminished state of England after 1945. The Day of the Triffids creates a catastrophe and then explores various ways of living in the ruins. This book was a major influence on what became known as post-apocalyptic fiction.

Arthur C Clarke (1917–2008)

In ecstatic visions of expansion into outer space and evolutionary leaps for humanity, Clarke combined a longing for transcendence with an interest in the mechanics of technology. This strand is often termed ‘hard SF’, for extrapolating possible futures from known science.

Doris Lessing (1919–2013)

A hugely versatile novelist, Lessing turned to science fiction in the 1970s to explore questions of gender, colonisation and power. Women have always been involved in science fiction, but Lessing’s generation gave the genre new avenues of social criticism.