Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shelf Candy Saturday #83: The Einstein Intersection, by Samuel R. Delany

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This weekly feature
showcases beautiful book covers,
and provides information,
if available, on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
just click HERE.

Here's my choice for this week!

The Einstein Intersection
Nebula Award, 1967
Trade Paperback, 149 pages
Wesleyan University Press
July 15, 1998
(First published by Ace Books, 1967)
Science Fiction

Why do I love this cover?

The image on this cover is by the prolific 19th-century English illustrator, Aubrey Beardsley, who specialized in creating gorgeous black ink  drawings.  Although I do love his style, which contributed to the Art Nouveau movement, I dislike the subject matter of many of his drawings, which feature grotesque, decadent, and erotic images.  Because of this, he's a favorite of mine strictly in terms of his style.  His flowing, elegant lines and intricately detailed compositions are absolutely gorgeous!  The image above is one of his less objectionable creations, and I love it!

Whoever designed this cover, using an astronomer's photograph of a distant galaxy as background, had a stroke of genius!  This oddly beautiful combination is a stunning one, and I want to acquire this edition of the novel.  The presence of the galaxy makes it obvious that this is indeed a science fiction novel.  It's unfortunate that the designer is not credited; I checked out this book through the Amazon online reader, and couldn't find any designer's name mentioned anywhere.

The protagonist of this novel is an alien trying to adjust to life on a future Earth, one from which the human race has long vanished, leaving behind all kinds of artifacts.  The Beardsley drawing certainly captures the 'oddness' of the alien, I think, although I have yet to read the book.

The font used for the title and author's name is graceful enough, and doesn't distract the eye from the Beardsley drawing, but complements it. 

This is an earlier version of the cover, also published in the US, on June 30, 1998.  I don't think this one is as effective as the one above.  It looks more like a monograph on Beardsley's work than a science fiction novel.  The font used is much too common and ordinary.  Besides, that orange is just too garish!  Beardsley's drawing, of course, is just as beautiful, but I'm left wondering just what it has to do with a science fiction novel.

Here's another lovely, also not objectionable, sample of Beardsley's work:

"The Peacock Skirt"
Aubrey Beardsley
Illustration from Salome,
(from the 1894 English edition)

As you can see, Beardsley was a master of flowing line technique and intricate composition.  This is an incredibly beautiful drawing!

Aubrey Beardsley Online

 What do you think of my choice?
Leave me a comment
and let me know!



  1. This is really a great cover for all the reasons that you mention. The reflection in the water of the illustration is another very interesting touch.

    On a side note, have you read any Samuel Delany? I read a couple of his books years ago. They seemed extremely strange in terms of style and I found it difficult to wrap my head around them. I did not get them. I am wonder if I read them now if I would appreciate them more.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      The combination of Beardsley's illustration with the photo of a galaxy in the background is really inspired, I think! As you can see from the Salome illustration I posted, Beardsley was a master of drawing; his work takes my breath away! It's really too bad he created so many drawings whose subject matter is totally depraved....

      I've never read any works by Delany. However, when I looked him up on Wikipedia, I did see some mention of the strangeness of his novels. I have to go back to the Amazon page for this one and read the excerpt provided in the Amazon reader. I might not like it. But I still think the cover above is stunning!

      Which Delany books did you read, by the way?

      Thanks for the visit and the great comment!! : )


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