(Don Dixon’s cover art for the 1st edition of The Crucible of Time (1983), John Brunner)
This post is about a Don Dixon SF space art cover that gives me nostalgic chills. But first, a rumination….
As with so many new readers, my first science fiction adventures–almost a decade and a half ago–followed the Hugo Awards closely and the back catalogue of the established male “masters” (often those whom my dad remembered reading in his childhood–Heinlein, Clarke, Brunner, Herbert, Pohl, Anderson, etc.). And boy did John Brunner feature heavily! I read everything of his I could get my hands on. From the genius that STILL is Stand on Zanzibar (1968)–my first New Wave SF novel–to the half-hearted pulpy adventures (Born under Mars, Meeting at Infinity) that scream paycheck. These novels were some of my first reviewed works on my site (John Brunner review list below). As my readers know, my tastes have changed radically as my willingness and knowledge of lesser known authors and/or “unpopular” authors expands as I read more along the edges. Brunner’s radical New Wave SF (and at some degree his short fiction) remains a constant.
All of this is to say that it’s unsurprising that Don Dixon’s cover art to John Brunner’s The Crucible of Time (1983) provides one of the few SF covers that fills me with “nostalgic” yearning. Of all the John Brunner books I read, I remember little of the story itself—the cover commanded my attention. The depths of space arrayed with alluring stars and unknown planets… And, most importantly, the unusual spaceship filled with trees, hurtling into the unknown reaches of the galaxy. Although I seldom pay attention to these types of covers anymore when I peruse the shelves of used bookstores, Dixon’s vision casts a special mnemonic spell–a vision of a younger me exploring Brunner’s varied and expansive oeuvre and finding favorite places among all the tattered spines.
Yes, my tastes have changed from the expansive canvases of Don Dixon and his ilk to Anita Siegel‘s collages and the uncanny bodies of Wojtek Siudmak, but whenever I see The Crucible of Time on my shelf I pause a moment and reflect.
I’d love to know your nostalgic piece of SF art–be it space art or not… Perhaps the first cover that you “remember” or really inspired you to read more science fiction.
List of John Brunner’s novels + collections I’ve reviewed.
- Bedlam Planet(1968)
- Born under Mars(1967)
- Double, Double(1969)
- The Dramaturges of Yan (1982)
- Entry to Elsewhen (1972)
- Interstellar Empire (1976)
- Meeting at Infinity (1961)
- The Wrong End of Time(1971)
- Total Eclipse(1974)