From the iconic orange and white covers to the amazing modern art and superb children’s illustrators, Penguin Books has always been the leader in cover art. There is even a Penguin Collector’s Society, their aim to conserve and preserve vintage Penguin books.
The first Penguin paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935 and included works by Ernest Hemingway, André Maurois and Agatha Christie. They were colour coded (orange for fiction, blue for biography, green for crime) and cost just sixpence, the same price as a packet of cigarettes. The way the public thought about books changed forever – the paperback revolution had begun.
Waris Hussein, director of the very first Doctor Who serial starring William Hartnell, voiced his disapproval at the romantic undertones in some of the story-lines of the recent Doctor Who series. Rather he called it “sexuality”. I’d rather call it what it is. It’s called love. And it’s something you’ll find in most every epic tale ever told, dating back to when stories were passed on in song and poetry.
Taken from his parents as a child and equipped with biological and technological improvements, Khemri is now an enhanced human being, trained and prepared for the glory of becoming a Prince of the Empire. Not to mention the ultimate glory: should he die, and be deemed worthy, he will be reborn…Which is just as well, because no sooner has Prince Khemri graduated to full Princehood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are ten million princes, and all of them want each other dead.
There is a good reason why there hasn’t been a book review for two weeks, and that’s because I haven’t managed to finish my book. It is an excellent book, by the way (still reading A Confusion of Princes). But I’ve been glued to the computer trying to set up a new website with the crap-cart-I-shall-not-name which has drained the life out of me, and if I have been managing to finish before 5 a.m I have been watching Big Bang Theory with Craig. And not reading. It’s appalling. Even more appalling is the fact that almost two weeks of working on this cart and I’m about to ditch it for another one.
Fantasy cover art has seen a lot of changes over the last few years. I noticed Voyager had been doing a lot of re-issues with clean, simple covers with less colour and a ‘symbol’ rather than the sometimes elaborate artwork of old. I’m not going to say I like either style better. I love the new covers on the Raymond E. Feist books and the Robin Hobb books, but I used to really enjoy examining the artwork on the Robin Hobb books by John Howe. Pre-release Harry Potter covers would have me in a somewhat fanatical state, peering intently into the laptop screen and trying to uncover any clues of what might happen in the next book.