Attention, Earthlings! This is Captain Blastoff, coming to you from the Galaxy Gallery in the future, talking about a great popular art form of the past: Cheap Science Fiction Book Covers!
This transmission I present TWO covers from the cheap paperbacks of the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Andre Norton, née Alice Mary Norton:
I transmit my analysis of these paperback art treasures to Rik Verlin Livingston who posts them on the internet. Recently, one of his own artworks, Merlin at Home, was picked as Moderator’s Choice at that fine SF/Fantasy art site, Elfwood. To celebrate, I first peruse Merlin’s Mirror, Daw 1975.
I wish my copy of the wonderful cover art by Jack Gaughan didn’t have slight bends on it. Oh well, an aged look is appropriate to this subject matter, or, maybe, just pretend they are stray wisps of white, eldritch energy? I really like the way Gaughan’s composition flows. It’s simplicity has a medieval quality that I enjoy much more than mere realism. Oh yes, and that’s one fierce dragon; Just look at it’s face.
The story is equally enjoyable, bringing secret, sci-fi elements to this unique retelling of the Arthurian legend. I recommend it.
Our second cover comes from Eye of the Monster, Ace 1962
Cover artist uncredited. This is another one where the monster on the cover doesn’t match the description inside – something that happens quite a bit in this art form – but, hey! it’s a good toothy, giant bat, anyway . The story’s got cat-people and croc-people and it’s a real page turner, with little characterization but lots of action, monsters and “bounding” land rover vehicles in a jungle-world setting!
This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.