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From: Dan Parmenter <dan@lec.com>
Subject: (urth) cover artists
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 15:07:09 

Speaking of Don Maitz and the covers, isn't there also a series of
covers for the British versions that are by someone else?  I saw them
once at an SF convention, and the only one that stuck out in my mind
vividly was CLAW, which was, I believe, a depiction of Severian above
the mines of Saltus, with all manner of archeological junk surrounding

Does anyone have scans of the British covers?  I remember them being
quite good, but I'm disinclined to buy new copies just to see 'em

I still think that Maitz could have done a better job depicting
fuligin.  Perhaps as an artist he preferred the challenge of depicting
a black cloak under different lighting conditions (the four covers
depict light growing brighter) to simply showing a blackness the color
of soot.

The Maitz covers certainly fail to convey to the casual reader just
what they're in for.  It's pretty difficult to explain to someone that
one of your favorite books looks (on the surface) like yet another
sword and sorcery epic.  But of course in addition to everything else,
it *is* a story with quite recognizable fantasy and SF motifs so
perhaps any other cover would be unfair too.  Nevertheless, despite
its many awards, I'm not sure if the general readership of SF responds
to it that well.  My first real exposure to the series occurred around
the time that Wolfe was the guest of honor at Boskone (a Boston SF
convention) in 1984.  Several members of the committee admitted that
they didn't even like Wolfe's writing!  There's a particular segment
of SF readership that calls itself "literary fandom" that seems to
openly despise any SF that attempts to go much beyond space opera
which makes it that much harder for "literary" SF to be accepted.  The
fanboys don't like it and serious literary critics won't even look at
it (because it's SF).  I remember literally begging a coworker to at
least read the first story in FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS so she would see
that there's good SF (a possibility she wouldn't entertain).  She
never did.  But don't get me started on the uselessness of "genre" or
we'll be here all night.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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