Letters on this page
Posted 6 March:
Note: Return e-mail addresses will be posted only if you include it in your closing, or your subject matter specifically requests some sort of response; otherwise it will be omitted.
I am writing to you to learn if you have any information concerning the whereabouts of Kenneth C. Flint, author of Riders of the Sidhe and other novels of ancient Irish legends. His last novel was The Darkening Flood, which appeared in 1995. Is Mr. Flint dead or has he just stopped writing? Does anyone know?
Arthur L. Goodwin
5 March 2001
I'm an avid reader of publications such as Locus and Science Fiction
Chronicle. For years I've wondered why reviews are written that can go on
forever about the story in a particular book but not one mention of the
cover art or cover artist. At most all I ever see is a line that says "cover
by artist name" and that's about it.
When I think of the hours spent trying to get a cover created which is the
first thing buyers see on the shelf, I feel bad for the artists who go
largely unknown and unrecognized by the general book-buying public.
Especially when not even a brief mention is ever made in the often lengthy
Maybe they should start selling all books in plain brown covers with just
the title and the author's name on it. It would make for incredibly boring
looking book stores but at least the publishers, editors and authors
wouldn't have to worry about giving any credit to the artists.
23 Feb 2001
[ It's a good question -- but the main, very simple, reason is that book reviewers usually only see advance galleys, i.e. paperbound versions of books with all the text -- but not the cover art. Another reason is that the authors of books rarely have control of or input to the selection of the cover art, and in a discussion of the cover art in a book review it would be difficult to avoid judging whether the art was suitable or accurate -- and this could be unfair to the author. Artists get their due in books devoted to their art, such as are covered in Karen Haber's occasional column in Locus, which has recently looked at collections of art by Frank Kelly Freas, Chris Moore, Rowena Morrill, John Harris, Julie Bell, and others.
I recently tried to find an all-time Sci-Fi Bestseller list, and there doesn't seem to be one.
I've asked a number of reasonably literate people, and the opinions vary widely. (Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Herbert's Dune, Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land, and the list goes on.)
Do you folks know of a source on this? Maybe it could be another column for you.
5 March 2001
[ Offhand, I'd guess the all-time bestselling SF book is... L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth. But that's a whole 'nother story. No, Locus doesn't know of any authoritative list such as you're looking for. Individual publishers probably have ranking of their own books, but a problem with books like those by Bradbury, Herbert, and Heinlein is that they have changed publishers over the years, so no single source could offer complete, all-time sales figures.