Saturday, June 30, 2012

Shelf Candy Saturday #26: A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L'Engle

This wonderful book meme/blog hop
is hosted by
Stephanie @

The purpose of this feature is to display
a beautiful book cover,
with information, if available,
about the cover illustrator,
photographer, and/or designer.

For all the participation rules,
just click

Here's my choice for this week!

(Time #3)
Hardcover, 288 pages
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
July 1, 1978
Genre: YA, Science Fiction

Why do I love this cover?

The minute I saw this book, it was instant cover love!  Everything about this cover calls out to me -- the fact that a winged unicorn (I used to draw those in grade school!) is part of the design, the stylized, Art Deco influence of the whole layout, the circle behind the boy and the horse, which is sprinkled with stars and some clouds...even the colors, which are very earthy and muted, and normally would not be to my taste at all!  I also love the contrast between drawing styles -- the boy and the horse are done in a more abstract manner, while the strange, head/bird/dragon figures below them are more realistic, and the brown flowers are also more abstract.  To make things even more interesting, there's that realistic-looking head of a young boy at the very bottom of the cover.   He's looking up at the scene above him, as if he were having a vision, or perhaps remembering the previous night's dream of a fantastical world.

The figure of that winged unicorn is so very beautiful!  His neck arches gracefully, his wings are majestic and meticulously detailed, and yet, there's a touch of whimsy about him.  He's glancing at the boy sitting on his back, out of the corner of his eye.  Another interesting detail about the unicorn's figure: it reminds me of the horse figures on ancient Greek vases.  That makes this cover even more interesting, since it shows a knowledge of art history.  Besides, every artist that ever lived has been influenced by previous artists, and incorporated those influences into a unique art style. 

I found this book on eBay, specifically at an online store known as Downtown Books.  They also have a physical store location, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I'm not likely to go there anytime soon!  What I love about their hardcovers is that most of them have dust jackets covered in mylar.  Besides, they have a lot of vintage books.  I also purchased one of my past SCS features, The Robe, at this store.

When I received this book in the mail, and saw who the cover illustrators were, I knew why I had loved that cover on sight!  The artists are a husband and wife team, and they are legendary in the book illustration world -- Leo and Diane Dillon!  The book jacket layout is by Suzanne Haldane.  The font used for the title and author's name, which is very classically simple, is probably also her choice.  Unfortunately, I could not find any information about this designer.

I have several books in my collection with covers done by the Dillons.  I found them either at second-hand bookstores, or neighborhood yard sales.  I've always been attracted to the work of these artists!

Sadly, Leo Dillon died from lung cancer on May 26, 2012, at the age of 79. 

Where To Buy This EditionAmazon

Leo and Diane Dillon
(photo by Beth Gwinn, Locus Online Magazine)

From the Locus Magazine Article

Leo Dillon (Lionel John Dillon, Jr.) and Diane Dillon (née Diane Claire Sorber) were born 11 days apart in March 1933, on opposite coasts. He grew up in Brooklyn, she was born and raised in California, and they met in 1953 while attending Parsons School of Design in New York City. They married in 1957. Son Lee (Lionel John Dillon III), born in 1965, also became an artist; in the '90s, he collaborated with them on several projects, including the illustrations for Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch by Nancy Willard (1991).

They met Harlan Ellison in 1959, after doing illustrations for Rogue, the men's magazine he was then editing in Chicago. That meeting would eventually have major consequences for the field of SF and fantasy art, thanks to their illustrations for Dangerous Visions (1967), and a subsequent meeting
with Terry Carr, who recruited them as cover artists for the Ace Specials in the '60s and '70's.It was mainly that work
for Ace which earned them their
1971 Hugo for SF art.

You can access the entire article,
which includes a
fascinating interview with Karen Haber,

For further information:

The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon

Wikipedia article on the Dillons

JVJ Publishing: Leo and Diane Dillon page

NCCIL: Leo and Diane Dillon

So what do you think
of this cover?
What beautiful cover(s)
are you featuring this week?


  1. Gorgeous pick! I love how simple they kept the design of the winged unicorn (and the cover in general). It's sooooo pretty with the night sky!

    My shelf candy is here if you'd like a look :)

  2. Hey, Claire!

    So glad you like this cover, too! I love the work of these artists!! They are wonderffully creative! I agree with you -- the design is simple, yet very effective.

    I'll be heading over to your blog! Thanks for the nice comment!! : )

  3. Great choice Maria! That is a great cover.

    I love science fiction/fantasy inspired art. It has been a few years but I used to attend a few science fiction conventions that had art shows. Many artists who produced the genre's book cover art participated. The works were often awe inspiring.

  4. Hey, Brian!

    Oh, I LOVE SF/fantasy art myself!! And, of course, I also love reading these two genres.

    I haven't gone to that many conventions -- just a couple of small ones here in Miami. They were Star Trek conventions (TOS -- the only version I'm interested in). I remember the fanzines, the art...although mostly they had glossy photos of the actors and starships for sale. And they invariably played some of the episodes, as well as the famous "blooper reel"! Lol. I miss going to such things...

    You're SO lucky!! I'd sure love to know what conventions you've been to!!

    Thanks for the great comment!! : )

  5. The Pegasus is incredible. There is a lot of detail here. The layout reminds me a bit of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. You manage to find such unique covers that I have not seen before. These two are a powerful designing duo.
    Thanks for your lovely complements, but I am still changing things. The problem that I have is that my taste covers a lot of ground and it is difficult to find something that appeals to me in design and also allows me to add a hodge podge of pics, buttons, etc. I love art though, so I am having a wonderful time.

  6. Hi Maria - Science Fiction Conventions can really be fun. I am an alumni and still live near SUNY Stony Brook and every year they have a large convention called ICON. I think I attended every one of these from 1986 through 1993 and have attended about half of them since. Unfortunately I missed it this year. It is really a great convention. I also attended a Creation Convention in NYC back in the late 1980s.

    I would imagine that a city like Miami would have some impressive Cons.

    TOS will always be my favorite but to some extent and with reservations I have liked all the Star Trek series. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I have seen every episode of every series and of course all the movies :)

  7. Hey, Steph!

    You know, now that you've mentioned it, I do see the resemblance to the C.S. Lewis book, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". And how ironic -- I included a Narnia illustration done by the Dillons, in this post.

    I like to not only feature new books, but older ones as well. You can find some great illustrations on those! That's why I love online sellers such as eBay and Amazon -- they not only have new releases, but also books that were published years ago. It also helps to go to second-hand bookstores and yard sales.

    You're very welcome for my compliments about your blog! I sure do hope you bring back that header showing all the classic authors with laptops! It gives your blog a LOT of class. Seriously. Glad you're having fun experimenting, though!

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a great comment!! : )

  8. Hi, again, Brian!

    Oh, I REALLY envy you!! The conventions I went to down here were small, usually held in somebody's house,..except for one I went to in Miami Beach. It was held in a hotel meeting room. That was the only fairly large one I went to. All the big cons are always held up north -- in cities like New York,, Chicago, Boston... In fact, there's a large con to be held in Chicago this August -- Chicon, which showcases SF and fantasy art. How I wish I could go!! But there's just no way...

    I've tried watching the other versions of Star Trek, but just couldn't get into them at all. After Captain Kirk, Picard just didn't cut it. And, although I was happy to finally see a woman at the helm in the Voyager series, I just couldn't warm up to her or the other characters...

    The original cast was a family. Their chemistry really clicked. The actors brought so much of themselves to their roles! Those episodes are just very, very special!!

    Thanks for another terrific comment, and...LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!! : )

  9. Love the art deco influence in this! The cover is wonderful - it appeals to both a young reader and an adult. I think the I love the story of the designers even more. What a great design couple! Another wonderful pick, Maria!

  10. Yes, it was love at first sight when I saw this cover! I wasn't at all surprised, when I found out who the artists were, since I've long admired their work. And I think you're right -- even though this book was written for young adults, it can also appeal to adults. Of course, I'm referring to the story itself just as much as the cover.

    I fet so sad when I found out, during my research for this post, that Leo had recently passed away...You can tell from the photo that they really loved each other...

    Thanks for the great comment!! : )


THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

As of today, 9/23/18, I have permanently enabled comment moderation, due to a sudden rash of SPAM comments. I appreciate your patience!

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)