The text of the book is SF criticism by Eisler. In the pre-internet age this was valuable information for me; it was in this book that I first learned of Moorcock’s Elric, Harrison’s Deathworld, and E.E. Doc Smith’s Lensmen. Eisler opines about many of the SF greats, Asimov, Heinlein, Van Vogt, Wells, Sturgeon, etc. I can’t say I agree with all of his opinions.
Puzzlingly, the captions to the illustrations on every page do not provide information about the artist or books they first adorned. Instead, we are supposed to pretend this book of SF illustration is a history book from the future, and the pictures are photos of equipment and personages from various alien cultures and future wars. Sometimes the captions are bizarre jokes – a painting of a stocky man in a space suit, we are told, is a still from “Archie Bunker Goes to the Stars,” the “24th century vidshow.”
This is a great book to own; the pictures are mostly quite good, the captions strange, and Eisler’s criticism interesting. Recommended.