Although I don’t travel very often or very far, and I have never gone on any kind of “book buying trip,” I am definitely a happier traveller when I am able to steal time from the “real” purpose of any trip I might take to visit a few stores that sell used books. Last Friday, for instance, my wife, our son, and I drove from Regina to Calgary, via Saskatoon, to attend a wedding, and over the next few days, return trip included, I managed to spend a couple of hurried hours browsing through a thrift shop and four different bookstores… although, unfortunately for me, only three of the four sold used books that I could afford. The fourth — which is actually the store in Calgary that I visited first, and only because it was located near a comics and Magic card shop that our son wanted to visit — was clearly designed to appeal to upper-middle-class bibliophiles with discerning taste and deep pockets, i.e., not me. I was fairly happy with both the selection of books and the prices at the two “Fair’s Fair” used bookstores we visited in Calgary, however, and very happy with the selection and prices at the store that we stopped at, briefly, in Saskatoon on the return trip.
And so now, here I am, typing this post while sitting about a metre from two-dozen vintage paperbacks, all newly accessioned to my collection, including this one, with cover art by Jeffrey Jones, which has been on my “want list” for a few years now:
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More later, of course!
Keywords:The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories by Roger Zelazny, Jeffrey Jones.
Before today, I had never heard the name John Cayea, but thanks to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB), I was quickly able to find out that Cayea created the expressive but bizarre art featured on the cover of Eando Binder’s Night of the Saucers, which I purchased earlier this morning for a dollar and four cents:
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One’s first impression of the above cover is of an attractive human couple about to kiss, but closer inspection reveals that what we’ve got here are two severed heads, each of which is suspended from a flying saucer by lines lashed to its hair. And what’s more, each dead head has not one but two faces, one human and the other bestial, that look in opposite directions like the two faces of the Roman god Janus. Judging from the copy on the back cover, I would venture to guess that image is intended to convey the idea of hidden identities, of aliens masquerading as humans, or maybe aliens as the puppeteers of human hosts, although I must admit that don’t intend to read the book any time soon to find out for sure. I just sampled a couple of pages at random and that’s quite enough for me: the writing is dreadful.
Anyway… turns out that Night of the Saucers, published in 1971, is the earliest listing for Cayea in the ISFDB; the latest is his Bosch-inspired cover for Stephen King’s The Stand, published in 1990. Since I can’t find any earlier work by Cayea on any other sites, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Night of the Saucers was (probably) one of the first cover illustration jobs of John Cayea’s career, and as such, I’d say it was a fine effort.
ISFDB has a small selection of covers with art by Cayea, published between 1971 and 1980 (although someone should tell the site admin that not all of them display properly). What one notices immediately as one browses through the images is that Cayea’s later covers are quite far removed, both technically and stylistically, from the cover displayed above; in fact, if one didn’t know better, one might think they were done by a different artist. To give you an idea of what I am going to call Cayea’s “mature style,” here are three of the best that ISFDB has to offer:
My favourite of the three is the cover of A Wreath of Stars — excellent work!
Keywords:Night of the Saucers, Deus Irae, A Wreath of Stars, Unto Zeor, Forever.
Here are three more covers with art by Jeffrey Jones, scanned from the copies I have on hand at RCN headquarters here in the Queen City and posted below in order of publication:
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You can see the photo reference for the first cover — which, in terms of draughtsmanship and painting technique, I would describe as the weakest of the three, though I do find the composition interesting — on Jeffrey Jones’s official Web site. It’s the first image on this page, right beside the figure reference for the painting Age of Innocence.
The N. C. Wyeth influence is pretty obvious in Jones’s Nine Princes cover — see, for instance, Wyeth’s paintings for Robin Hood, etc. Years later, Jones revisited the idea of the knight on horseback in his Game of Thrones painting. Notice how the Wyeth influence is no longer right on the surface in the later painting but has been absorbed and transformed into a style that is less about trying on techniques and motifs like pieces of clothing and more about the pleasure of manipulating and thinking in paint.
Keywords:Day of the Beasts, The Dirdir, Nine Princes in Amber.
From the bookshelves of yours truly, here are nine paperback covers (ten, actually; a bonus image was added at a later date) by Paul Lehr, along with one Lehr-ish cover by another hand:
Keywords:The Anome, The Enemy Stars, Andromeda Gun, Isle of the Dead, Counter-Clock World, Earth Abides, Pebble in the Sky, The Stars My Destination, Grimm’s World, The Cosmic Rape, Conquerors from the Darkness.