Friday, June 03, 2005


Imagery in Fantasy and Science Fiction fascinates me almost as much as reading the stuff. Some artists capture the sense of wonder or wow-ness very nicely, and some of these folks' art adorns the covers of some of my favorite FSF books. Michael Whelan is a master, his depiction of Roland of Gilead is the finest of any of the artists who have brought the Gunslinger to life. Whelan also provided covers for some of my favorite writers like Tad Williams and CS Friedman, his style is instantly recognizable, at least to me, and captures the moments of the book very well. Whelan also provided many of the most iconic images of Michael Moorcock's most famous creation, Elric of Melnibone.

A guy who has been getting some flack for his US covers of Erikson's novels is Stephen Youll. However, his mix of techniques often conjures up nearly photo-realistic images, he provided many covers for Robin Hobb, the first covers for George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga, and the covers for what I consider one of the best of the unfinished fantasy sagas, The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone by Greg Keyes. His brother Paul Youll is very good, too.

I also like Matt Stawicki's art, whose art adorns the covers of Karin Lowachee's novels, as well as the omnibus edition of R.A. Salvatore's Icewind Dale Trilogy is pretty impressive, too.

Speaking of R.A. Salvatore, specifically his most famous creation, Drizzt Do'Urden. A number of artists have created images of the Dark Elf, but I think Todd Lockwood's is the defining vision of this iconic character. Mr. Lockwood also created a stunning piece for Tobias Buckel's debut novel, Crystal Rain, a book I'm really looking forward to reading.

Keith Parkinson is another good artist, though I haven't seen much from him, in terms of book covers lately. For a while there, he did the covers for a lot of writers, Terry Brooks, Terry NoGoodkind, Orson Scott Card (Homecoming), David Eddings. Something about his cover for Brooks's Talisman's of Shannara really catches my fancy, even though I think Parkinson’s covers are a clear case of the art/cover being better than what's inside.

John Picacio is creating some great, eye-catching covers for PYR books, he's done a good number of the recent Gemmell books, and did a great cover for Jeffrey Ford's first collection, The Fantasy Writer's Assistant.

Dave McKean is amazingly talented, his cover of Stover's Blade of Tyshalle, for me, captures the spirit of protagonist Caine perfectly. Of course, McKean also illustrated a volume of King's Dark Tower and is probably besst known for his Sandman covers.

Of course there are legends like Frazetta, the Brothers Hildebrant, whose images of Conan and Tolkien's work, respectively, go hand in hand with each other.

I know there are some artist I am neglecting, so if any of my millions...and millions of visitors have any additional artist, I'd be happt to take a look.

A book meme from Karen Traviss...

1. Total number of books I own:
An ass-load.* Hundreds in boxes, a couple hundred piled about. Plus a growing collection of Graphic Novels.

2. The last book I bought:
Matthew Stover's Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and E.E. Knight's Tale of the Thunderbolt, picked them up on the same day.

3. The last book I read:
Hammerjack by Marc D. Giller and The Final Prophecy by Greg Keyes, the 2nd to last book in the Star Wars: New Jedi Order saga.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:
1984 - George Orwell. Read it a few times in college and the more I read it, the more I realize how scary and perfect a novel it is.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain. THE great American Novel.

The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay - Michael Chabon - Read it in one sitting on the train from Pittsburgh to NJ. For my money, the Great American novel of the 20/21st Centuries.

The Talisman - by Stephen King & Peter Straub - Read it a handful of times growing up, and remains one of my fondest reading memories.

The Coldfire Trilogy - CS Friedman. Very well written and enjoyable books, but the primary reason they mean so much to me is because I read these books on the plane to and from Hawaii and on the beach in Hawaii, during my Honeymoon.

5. Tag three people and have them do this on their blogs:
Mastage, the banzai cat, & Scott Lynch.

* in this case an ass load is defined as more than Rob has time to count, so much that they’ve taken over a room in his soon to be moved out of townhouse.

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