Friday, 12 October 2012

An Inappropriate Book Cover

I read Poul Anderson's The Golden Slave once when I bought it and will comment here when I have reread it. Meanwhile, I can at least comment on the cover of the edition that I have (New York, 1980), attached here although slightly unfocused.

In one way, it is a good cover illustration: detailed and with two clear facial expressions. The only problem is that there is no such scene in the book and it gives a false impression of the contents. There are other covers on the Internet and I would have preferred one of those.

Appropriately, the other titles by the same author, advertised before the title page by the phrase, "Be Sure to Read These Other Exciting Books by Poul Anderson:..." are Rogue Sword and the three The Last Viking volumes. Thus, here, it seems, were uniform editions of Anderson's five volumes of historical fiction.

The introductory "Author's Note" begins, "This might have happened." (p. 5). Thus, Anderson readers are informed that they will find neither fantasy, eg, real gods, nor science fiction, eg, time travelers, in this novel. In the Note and an Epilogue, Anderson presents enough historical, geographical and literary background information to help his readers into the novel. Now, all that remains is to read or, in my case, to reread it.

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