Non-English language science fiction presses present a fascinating territory to explore. Their volumes provide not only a window into what SF was available to read but also the distinct visual language used to convey those works. Italian SF cover art remains a firm favorite–from Karel Thole’s Philip K. Dick covers to the haunting landscapes of Mariella Anderlini. And a new artist joins the ranks!
Luciana Tom Matalon was born in 1937 near Venice and studied art in Milan. Her paintings, sculpture, and jewelry have appeared in exhibitions around the world. She has a short biography on her eponymous foundation website. You can also search her art by decade–there are quite a few that are “science fictional” yet did not appear on covers. If anyone knows of more specifics of her science fiction art (process, interaction with presses, etc.), let me know in the comments!
She created fifteen science fiction covers for the Cosmo Collana di Fantascienza series of the Italian press Editrice Nord between 1971-1975. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database also identifies one 1979 cover of John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar (1968) for a Spanish press–there is a chance that multiple others go uncredited.
Her art evokes a glimpse at an empyrean conjunction–like a Hubble telescope image that presents an immense cosmic expanse as a digestible (and gorgeous) moment. There’s an appealing texture to her art: from the lattice work of the 1975 Italian edition of Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s Monument (1974) the pockmarks of the 1972 cover for Philip José Farmer’s Flesh (1960).
Matalon’s cover for the 1979 Spanish edition of John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar (1968) might be my favorite of the bunch–the urban expanse radiates outward like a cracked windshield.
Which novels/collections have you read? Do you have a favorite Matalon cover?
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