None of the following three covers with art by Paul Lehr really hits the mark. The painting on the cover of Hellstrom’s Hive (1982) is especially anemic; as far as I am concerned, it has very little of interest to say about Frank Herbert’s novel, the SF genre, Lehr’s chosen subject matter, or anything else other than, perhaps, the vain hope that slick technique alone would be enough to fulfil the brief. (Yes, I understand the idea here is that the viewer is supposed put together the visual clues to realize that the red barn, farm house, windrows of hay, etc., are actually located on a planet that is not earth, and that the tiny figures on the hill are not merely your typical human farmers but something more sinister; however, when such a simple idea is so blandly and schematically worked out, how can the viewer’s reaction be anything but boredom?) The fact that Lehr’s hypothetical hope turned out to be not so vain after all — the painting, obviously, was published — seems to me to have been less likely an endorsement of the painting as an effective cover illustration and more likely a tribute to Lehr’s long track record as a distinctive, reliable, and admired SF cover artist.
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Click here to view all of the covers with art by Paul Lehr that I’ve posted so far.