Connections: Humanity (an)atomized

Courtesy of our new 11 x 17 inch scanner/printer, my personal library, and GIMP, here are four covers that share a sort of thematic family resemblance along with a bonus cover on a slightly different theme; the artist credits, where known, are in the file names, as usual:

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The cover art for Notions: Unlimited by Robert Sheckley is uncredited, and no signature is visible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the artist turned out to be Dean Ellis.


BONUS SCAN:

Keywords: Rogue Golem by Ernest M. Kenyon, Dean Ellis, Captive Universe by Harry Harrison, Jack Faragasso, The Female Man by Joanna Russ, The Best of Barry N. Malzberg, Robert Schulz

Connections: Deskey, Getter, Ellis, McCarthy

Donald Deskey designed the original Tide bullseye logo. Marc Getter designed the cover of the first American edition of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, published in 1973. Dean Ellis illustrated the cover of the first edition of Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren, published in 1975. Paul McCarthy designed the case for his 2010 exhibition catalogue, Low Life Slow Life, to look like a Tide box, circa 1973.

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Fun Fact: Delany wrote his first pornographic novel, The Tides of Lust, in the time and space between his SF novels Nova (1968) and Dhalgren (1975). Now that is a book that some publisher or other ought to offer in a Tide-box slipcased edition.

Look Here: Seven covers for seven novels by Samuel R. Delany

Back in the 1970s, beginning (I think) with the first-edition paperback of Dhalgren, Bantam Books initiated a project to (re)print Samuel R. Delany’s novels under a unified design, which they also used for some other SF novels, such as Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz. I have seven of Delany’s novels that were published under the new design in my collection, and of those seven my four favourites just happen to be among the ones for which I have been able to determine, with a tiny bit of sleuthing, the identity of the cover artist. My favourites are Babel-17, with cover art by Vincent Segrelles (well-known in comics circles for his series, The Mercenary); Nova, with art by Eddie Jones; Dhalgren, with art by Dean Ellis; and Triton, with art by Mitchell Hooks.

And here’s a fun bit of observational trivia. If you look closely at the cover of Triton, you’ll find that the artist, Hooks, has painted his dramatic, futuristic moon base from a model constructed of mundane props from around the house — small oil cans, chess pieces, a feathered dart, a dart tip, ink bottles, a shaving mirror, and so on — cleverly arranged on a tabletop.

Anyway… enough with the preamble! Here are my scans, displayed in order of their original publication; please note, however, that the dates in the file names are not the first-publication dates but the dates of the editions/printings of the books that I own:

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As you can see above, I have two copies of Triton in my collection. What I find interesting here is that the earlier printing, from 1976, has the title printed in a sort of metallic ink, while the later printing, from 1979, does not. Was this an aesthetic choice or a cost-saving measure for a book that was not selling as well as had been expected, given the runaway success of Delany’s previous novel, Dhalgren? I suspect the latter.

Dhalgren, The Einstein Intersection, and The Ballad of Beta-2 also have titles printed in “metallic” ink; The Jewels of Aptor, Babel-17, and Nova do not.


RELATED IMAGE (previously posted here):

Look Here: Three SF covers with art by Dean Ellis

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The art on the covers of Judgment on Janus and Eye of the Monster is uncredited, and no signatures are visible, but as luck would have it, Judgment on Janus is identified as a painting by Dean Ellis on this page at The Illustration Exchange: Science Fiction and Fantasy Art Collectors’ Site, and Eye of the Monster is clearly by the same hand, though if you had told me that the Norton covers were painted by Paul Lehr circa 1980, I likely would have struggled to provide stylistic or technical reasons to reject the attribution. If Ellis in such paintings was actually trying to copy Lehr’s style circa 1970 — which, given Lehr’s reputation and success in SF circles, is by no means out of the question — he erred on the side of a type of over-simplification that Lehr himself often flirted with but did not fully embrace until a decade later.

Truth be told, I don’t really like Ellis’s technique here — or Lehr’s technique circa 1980. It’s too stripped down. The paint is boring. Yes, it’s precisely and decisively applied, but it lacks subtlety, depth… mystery…

Keywords: Judgment on Janus, Eye of the Monster, Space Skimmer.

Connections: James Bama and Dean Ellis

The V. cover (1964) is by Bama; the Eleventh Commandment (1970) is by Ellis. Both are attractive and effective variations on a “surrealist” theme, and both were scanned earlier this morning by me from my personal library of folded, spindled, and mutilated paperback fiction.

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Keywords: V., The Eleventh Commandment, surrealism.