I just picked up a piece that I might term “1980s kitsch.” Now, it must be said that the cover art by John Melo is quite decent. The painting portrays, halfway keeping with the plot, a guy in a kilt flourishing a pleasantly menacing firearm. It’s pretty hard to resist, really.
The kitschy part, though, is the back, which purports to show some sort of government dossiers on two of the main characters, complete with angular 1970s/1980s-style computer printing, “Top Secret” seemingly hand-stamped across the files, and photos of the subjects. Yes, that sort of thing can get a little too cute rather quickly, but it’s all right as a secondary illustration, for back cover rather than front. And that state-of-the-art printout circa 1986 has a charming quaintness.
Yet perhaps equally striking are the surveillance photographs of Lazarus Long and Mary Spelling. The pictures in this post are small, but go to my Heinlein Early Works page and see them in larger size. Look at the characters in action on the front. Look at the black-and-whites on the back. Look at the front again. Look closely at those faces—they are the same people, right? The headshots on the back are of the very models John Melo used for the cover painting. The book was worth buying almost for this unusual fact alone.
Oh, and I finally acquired an old copy of the lovely Harry Harrison/Jim Burns Planet Story, too—an absolute visual treat. The thing is of great coffee-table-book size, so even scanning the cover on my smaller machine will be a significant task, and then mating those 3 or 4 scans together...well, it will be a major project for some other weekend. Right now, therefore, please enjoy the new Methuselah’s Children by Melo!
Author of four-dozen-odd pieces of literary criticism and reviews, novel Student Body, some poetry, and quite a bit of advising/Banner training materials.