On twitter, I recently learned from Jay O’Connell (cover artist and author) that all of Roger Zelazny’s work will be back in print. What exactly “everything back in print” means in reality I’m not entirely sure–will it include only the best known novels? All the short stories? Are works Zelazny wanted to “kill off” like To Die in Italbar (1973) really going to get reprints? Regardless, I was inspired to look back at the non-English language covers his work has received over the years. Naturally, as I moved to the fantastic Italian presses, I re-encountered and fell in love (again) with Allison’s evocative take on Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber (Corwin) five-novel sequence.
In 2021, I posted Part I of my Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art series on the Atelier Heinrichs & Bachmann. Between 1966 and 1971, they created a kaleidoscopic array of psychedelic visions for the German press Heyne Bücher. I described their art as follows: “Pop surrealism? Lowbrow art? The Andy Warhol effect? However you classify Atelier Heinrichs & Bachmann’s covers […] they’re gleeful and sarcastic.” And despite a few readers who disliked their exuberant/chaotic hilarity (someone described them as the “very nadir in SF cover art”), I stand by my positive assessment. And I bring you Part II of my series!
Italian artist, author, translator, and comic book critic Ferruccio Alessandri (1935-) created twenty-two covers for the Italian SF magazine Galassia (most of the issues between #109-132) in 1970. Galassia magazine was instrumental in introducing Italian audiences to the New Wave movement. Issues often contained both translations of popular English language authors and original Italian short stories and experimental visions.
As a unit, Alessandri’s covers convey a terrifying hellscape of insectoid visages (#122, #110, #128, #130), encounters with the surreal (#115), the oddly humanoid shapes (#119, #114, #116, #127), etc. Like searing flashes of a planet bathed under neon light, they are micro windows into the wonderscape of science fiction. While his Galassia covers are unconnected to the contents of the issues (to the best of my knowledge), I find their cumulative effect unsettling and alien.
Damien Petruscu, a Romanian graphic designer, created science fiction and fantasy covers for a range of Romanian presses between 1966-1985. He also designed countless LP covers from 1966-1983–George Enescu to Latin pop–which you can browse over at Discogs. In my view, his SF covers gave him more opportunity to showcase his talents! I have curated a group that hint at architectural desires and artificial shapes: Urban plans, façades bathed in red mist, totemic uplifts, temples in delicate lines, surreal landscapes of buildings askew… My favorite, his cover for Voicu Bugariu’s Lumea lui Als Ob (1981), might be a direct references to the magisterial ruins of the Sasanian capital at Ctesiphon [below]. He evokes the same crisp façade, desert landscape, and delicate arch.
German painter and graphic designer Johann Peter Reuter (1949-) created fourteen credited covers for German SF presses between 1977-1984. I have identified a potential fifteenth cover included below–the 1977 edition of Isaac Asimov’s Second Foundation (1953)–that I believe fits his style and date range. From the information gleaned from his homepage, Reuter’s SF output occurred in the first few years as a freelance artist after studying art in Dortmund. He started as a figurative painter before evolving to non-figurative forms (brief artist blurb).
If you’re interested in his non-SF art, check out his fascinating series of paintings from 2004 on the visualization of the mass.
Allison’s cover for the 1978 Italian edition of Tanith Lee’s Volkhavaar (1977)
Mariella Anderlini (aka Allison) (d. 1992) was a behemoth of Italian SF art (note 1). Her covers graced entire years of science fiction editions for various Italian presses—for example, she illustrated the complete Slan. Il Meglio della Fantascienza series for Libra Editrice. Her work was ubiquitous and fantastic.
Over the years, loose cover art post sequences emerge from the back catalog of my site (both conscious and unconscious)–and one topic I return to regularly are SF covers by Italian women. Female Italian cover artists in the decades I am most interested in (50s-mid-80s), made up a far larger percentage Continue reading →
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 Continue reading →
As always which books/covers/authors intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?
Ben Bova (1932-2020) passed away a few weeks ago due to Covid-19 complications (and a stroke) (Tor Remembrance Article). While I haven’t had the best luck with his work, if you have any fond memories of him or reading his SF, let me know in the comments. I purchased his first collection Forward in Time (1973) (below) in his honor.
1. Final Stage: The Ultimate Science Fiction Anthology, ed. Barry N. Mazlberg and Edward L. Ferman (1974)
David Pelham’s cover for the 1975 edition
From the back cover: “Thirteen fantastic new stories on the classic themes of Science Fiction.” See Continue reading →
Canvas for the 1977 edition of Universe 7, ed. Terry Carr (1978)
The covers for Pocket Books and Popular Library tend not to scream “visual zeitgeist of the 70s” like the catalogs of DAW, Ace, and Del Rey/Ballantine Books (note 1). But amongst the former’s primarily forgettable stable of artists who are often uncredited (2), a few gems emerge–notably the work of Carlos Ochagavia (1913-2006) (3).
I cannot find more than a few sentences of biographical material on Ochagavia online. He was born in Spain and moved at a young age to Argentina. He arrived in the United States Continue reading →