Anyone who has ever stumbled across this blog and taken the time to read my somewhat disjointed ramblings will probably guess that I’m a sucker for a good cover. The shelves of my library are crammed with books which feature stunning designs ranging from the impossibly lurid to the sublime and all points between. Amongst the many gems however are a few titles which belong in a section labelled ‘questionable’ – designs which I like but can’t adequately describe why. The following uniform edition of four Poul Anderson books published by Coronet in 1972 most definitely belongs in this category.
I came across three of the titles on eBay a few months ago and spent several days trying to make my mind up whether or not I should buy them. I think that a part of me was almost willing someone else to grab them in the meantime and rescue me from my indecisiveness. I finally cracked and hit the ‘Buy It Now’ button knowing that I had consigned myself to the inevitable task of searching for the final book to complete the series. This objective was achieved last week when my surly postman dropped the latest consignment of vintage paperbacks through my letterbox.
So, what is it about these covers that I find so appealing? I’m still at a loss to come up with a suitable explanation to be honest. The typography is atrocious, particularly the rather amateurish font used for Anderson’s name. The uncredited artwork is… well, I’m still not entirely sure. Maybe this sense of confusion is part of the reason why I picked up the series in the first place. Whatever my thoughts, I’ll leave the final judgement of their artistic merit up to you.