… so different, so appealing?

I was going to post this as “The Worst Science Fiction Paperbook Book Cover Ever” and let it stand, but then I noticed its resemblance to this seminal Pop Art collage by British artist Richard Hamilton.

Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?
Richard Hamilton,1956

The palette is the same, the sense of clutteredness, the busyness of the composition. Both have a white, male bodybuilder in the same approximate pose (ridiculously overmuscled in the SF version) and a woman with bare boobs who is looking upward. There’s a bright red object in the lower left of the composition — a crab-thing for the SF version, a chair for the collage.  The SF bodybuilder is casually holding a space zapper while his  Pop Art counterpart holds a lollipop. Both look ridiculous. Could (gasp) this unknown cover artist have been playing homage to the earlier work?

At any rate, this edition of Derai has a truly terrible cover, and though the artist learned from his or her mistakes in the sequel, Toyman, that codpiece on the hero still looks mighty uncomfortable. At least he isn’t wearing the peep-toe boots any more and his left arm is normally sized.

A bit of information about the Dumarest Saga, which these books are number 2 and 3 of. It’s one of the longest running SF series at 33 published books and sword and planet cheese at its finest, according to its readers. Not high art, but plenty enjoyable and similar to a cut-rate Jack Vance.

The writer, Edwin Charles Tubb, was especially prolific, authoring over 140 novels. SF and fantasy author Michael Moorcock counts among his admirers.




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