Classic Covers: Ballantine Fantasy
Jun24

Classic Covers: Ballantine Fantasy

The decade of fantasy publishing kicked off by the runaway success of the The Lord of the Rings produced not only a flurry of reprints of classic fantasy, but also an entire crop of creative, iconic, and visionary cover designs. Ballantine Books launched its iconic Ballantine Adult Fantasy line on the strength of the fantasy boom, featuring cover art as wonderous as the contents of the books themselves. We’ve gathered together...

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Classic Covers: Ken Kelly
Jun14

Classic Covers: Ken Kelly

The world of fantasy illustrators has lost one of its most prolific and long-running practitioners, Ken Kelly (May 19, 1946 – June 3, 2022). From the classic Berkley Medallion line of collected Robert E. Howard to the modern Baen reissues, Tor Conan pastiches, and Wildside/Dorchester Weird Works of REH — and the thousands of fantasy and science fiction books from every major publisher in between — Kelly’s art was a...

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Classic Covers: Frank Frazetta’s Lancer/Ace Conans
Jun10

Classic Covers: Frank Frazetta’s Lancer/Ace Conans

Second only to Robert E. Howard in importance in the development of the perception of Conan, Frank Frazetta’s explosively elemental take on the Cimmerian achieved instant cultural cache and has become the defining image not only of Howard’s most famous creation, but of the barbaric hinterlands of fantasy fiction itself. Frazetta’s frenzied depictions of havoc and battle, his iron-muscled killers taut with violent...

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Classic Covers: More Roger Zelazny
May31

Classic Covers: More Roger Zelazny

Multiple-award-winning and best-selling author Roger Zelazny’s popularity wasn’t just confined to his native United States. Winner of France’s Prix Apollo, translated into dozens of languages, Zelazny’s reach was international and his appeal universal. While many of us will only ever appreciate him in one language, the multitude of artistic interpretations of his highly imaginative stories is something we can...

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Classic Covers: Roger Zelazny
May17

Classic Covers: Roger Zelazny

Roger Zelazny’s explosion onto the speculative fiction scene was practically the horn blast announcing the coming of science fiction’s New Wave, at least in the United States. This fresh injection of modern literary techniques and counter-culture sensibilities into the genre of robots and rocket ships sparked a fertile period of experimentation that saw the genre develop a keen interest in the interior world of the human...

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Classic Covers: Fred Saberhagen
May06

Classic Covers: Fred Saberhagen

Prolific writer of science fiction and fantasy series, Fred Saberhagen is best known for his Berserker series of far-future space operas in which a beleaguered mankind squares off against a malign machine intelligence, and the Swords series, detailing a massive conflict involving numerous key players and their unique swords of power. Often combining magic, post-apocalyptic, and military themes in his fiction, Saberhagen’s steady...

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Ballantine Adult Fantasy: Ernest Bramah
May03

Ballantine Adult Fantasy: Ernest Bramah

An English writer with a varied bibliography ranging from humor, to dystopian science fiction, to mystery tales of the blind detective Max Carrados, Ernest Bramah achieved literary success and is still best known for his tales of itinerant Chinese storyteller, Kai Lung. Bramah’s combination of understated humor, familiarity with East Asian culture and mythology, and most especially his inspired ‘translation’ of the...

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Classic Covers: Jack Williamson
Apr29

Classic Covers: Jack Williamson

Few writers can boast as long and as productive a career as SF Grand Master Jack Williamson — this ‘Dean of Science Fiction’ produced scores of short stories and dozens of novels across multiple genres and series during a lifetime that saw him publish work in over eight consecutive decades. Getting his start in the era of the pulps and publishing right through until the first decade of the twenty-first century,...

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Classic Covers: Avram Davidson
Apr22

Classic Covers: Avram Davidson

Twentieth-century genre fiction produced a number of huge talents that liked to try it all — writing across category labels in blissful violation of what would one day become the standard practice of brand marketing. Indeed, for prolific writers of both the pulp and science fiction golden ages of magazine fiction, casting one’s net wide across the flimsy genre partitions of the day was just a common-sense way to broaden...

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Classic Covers: Harold Lamb’s Histories
Apr15

Classic Covers: Harold Lamb’s Histories

What do you get when you cross an expert adventure storyteller with a linguistically-gifted polymath? Some of the greatest popular histories ever written. While Harold Lamb’s fiction was familiar to readers of Adventure magazine, it was his gripping histories and biographies, starting with 1927’s Genghis Khan, that won him international acclaim, and made him an acknowledged expert in both Hollywood and the State...

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Classic Covers: Adventure Magazine
Apr05

Classic Covers: Adventure Magazine

At its height, Adventure Magazine had a circulation of over 300 thousand and was published three times a month, marking it as one of the most successful fiction pulps of all time (in 1935 Time Magazine dubbed Adventure ‘The No. 1 Pulp’). Adventure gave the audience just what the title suggested; pulse-pounding tales set in exotic locales, desperate journeys on land and sea, western gunfights, jungle explorations, and...

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Ballantine Adult Fantasy: William Morris
Mar29

Ballantine Adult Fantasy: William Morris

One of the most significant figures in the cultural life of Victorian England, William Morris (1834-1896) was everything from a poet, translator, and writer of medievalist fantasy, to a political activist, printer, champion of building preservation, and a renowned innovator in textile manufacturing and interior design. When Lin Carter oversaw the Ballantine Adult Fantasy line (1969-74), he brought many of Morris’ out-of-print...

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