Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: Short Takes

Weinberg Tales: Collecting Fantasy Art, Doug Ellis, Bob Garcia & Phyllis Weinberg, eds. (Amer­ican Fantasy Press 978-0-99078466-1, $25.00, 269pp, pb) April 2017. Cover by Douglas Klauba.

Weinberg Tales is an affectionate memorial to the late, great, fantastic art collector and authority Bob Weinberg. Designed to echo the look of an old pulp magazine, printed on pulp paper, it provides surprisingly good image reproduction. The charm­ing, old-style cover by Douglas Klauba based on a Virgil Finlay painting features both Bob & Phyllis Weinberg in heroic poses.

Heartfelt tributes appear from the many people, both pros and fans, whom Bob and Phyllis be­friended. The book is filled with tales of art col­lecting, wheeling and dealing amongst collectors, artists, publishers, and fans. Also featured are several articles by Weinberg on the collecting life that previously appeared in Tangents online. Black-and-white reproductions of artwork – including a Margaret Brundage mermaid painting and an even racier nude – as well as work by Hannes Bok, Virgil Finlay, Edd Cartier, Ed Emshwiller, and Brom, round out this charming farewell. Anyone interested in fan history and SF art will enjoy it.


I Can Be Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t, Diane Dillon (The Blue Sky Press 978-1-338-16690-3, $17.99, unpaginated, hc) February 2018. Cover by Diane Dillon.

In I Can Be Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t!, Caldecott-award-winning artist Diane Dillon flies solo in this appealing children’s book she wrote and illustrated to emphasize the benefits of reading.

The book follows the adventures of young Zoe as she considers the infinite variety of possibilities open to her in life, and fights off discouraging voices. The book has a bit of a fantasy element in it, and best of all, encourages children to learn to read. As Zoe says: “Go away, voice…. I can be anything… but first, I have to learn to read. And don’t tell me I can’t!”


In The Realms of Mystery and Wonder: Col­lected Prose Poems and Artwork of Clark Ash­ton Smith, Clark Ashton Smith (Centipede Press 978-1-61347-058-9, 439pp, hc) November 2017.

If you ever wondered what the “Bard of Auburn” got up to when he wasn’t writing memorable fantasy tales, In The Realms of Mystery and Wonder: Collected Prose Poems and Artwork of Clark Ashton-Smith should satisfy your questions.

When he grew tired of penning fiction, Ashton-Smith sculpted strange visages and portrait heads of unfamiliar gods and odd species in soapstone. He also drew and painted fantastic scenes. His artwork has a naïve charm, especially the sculptures, which were largely unknown aside from a few photographs that had been featured on obscure Arkham House dust jackets.

Over 200 images of Ashton-Smith’s sculptures and paintings are featured in excellent reproductions, es­pecially the photos of his 3D work which amplifiy the impact of these small works, described as “miniature grotesques.” Included in the 2D work are reproduc­tions of the illustrations Ashton-Smith painted to accompany his poem “The Hashish Eater”.

Also on offer in this handsome volume: photos of the bard himself and assorted friends and relatives, prose poems, an appreciation by Fritz Leiber, and various memoirs and remembrances of “CAS” or “Klarkash-Ton,” as he was known by his fannish familiars. The gilded endpapers and bound-in ribbon bookmark add a note of restrained elegance to this high-quality volume. (Note: Centipede Press’s print run of In the Realms of Mystery and Wonder has sold out.)


The Name of the Wind: Deluxe 10th Anniver­sary Edition, Patrick Rothfuss, illustrated by Daniel Dos Santos (DAW 978-0-7564-1371-2, $40.00, 723pp, hc) October 2017. Cover by Sam Weber.

It’s unusual for DAW to publish a deluxe hardcover containing illustrations by an award-winning artist like Dan dos Santos, but Patrick Rothfuss is one of DAW’s shining stars, and for this celebratory 10th-anniversary edition of Rothfuss’s first, bestselling novel The Name of the Wind, his publishers have pulled out all the stops, creating a handsome, massive volume sure to please the writer’s fans.

Although dos Santos is usually associated with colorful cover art, here he displays his skill at interior illustrations. The elaborate endpapers, red paper edges, and full-color cover art by Sam Weber on the dust jacket make this a very attractive volume. In addition, the author provides illustrated maps and directory, a pronunciation key, an Aturan calendar, and a monetary guide to currencies in his saga. For a closer look at the book’s artwork: <www.theartof­thenameofthewind.com>.


Beren and Lúthien, J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by Alan Lee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 978-1-328-79182-5, $30.00, 288pp, hc) June 2017. Cover by Alan Lee.

Beren and Lúthien: famed artist Alan Lee’s illus­trations have long been associated with the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and in Beren and Lúthien, his new color illustrations and black-and-white sketches are perhaps the most significant element in this collection of fragments from Tolkien’s tales of the Elder Days.

The colors are greyed-out and moody, the full-page illustrations are printed on glossy paper contrasting with the matte text pages, and framed by a unifying decorative element that helps to create a sense of an­tiquity. This is an attractive book that will most likely appeal to Alan Lee fans and Tolkien completists.

This review and more like it in the October 2018 issue of Locus.

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