Is that even a compliment? Versatile? Not talented, or imaginative, or skilled, or hell, even interesting. Versatile? Ah, but at least you’ve some sparkling fine artwork to…oh, hmm. Well, it WAS published in 1974, so there is a chance his mum was stoned when Mr. Aldiss stopped round to show her this.
So, the cover designer thought the best way to express the far-future sense of “The Shape Of Further Things” was by combining a groovy ’60s font with an Old English style capital “T.” The art department’s stock of Letraset rub-on transfer sheets must have been pretty low that day.
Check out the assorted, and completely out of time spacecraft floating around out there. We have a "Flash Gordon" ship, a Chimp-o-naut pod and some sort of intergalactic star destroyer prototype with floaty balls around it. (phallic?)
All this glory in front of what appears to be Mars and the very nearby Saturn, haha!! I would say everyone involved in this cover are "versatile".
If Brian Aldiss is a “versatile” writer that must mean he is really good at writing everything: science fiction, fantasy, greeting cards, menus, suicide notes, drug prescriptions, bank holdup notes, porn, Ikea instruction manuals, limericks, … Quite the “versatile” writer indeed!