Sunday, August 26, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 259: A Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L'Engle

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

***Late Edition***
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

A Wind in the Door
Madeleine L'Engle
Hardcover, 211  pages
Farrar, Straus, Giroux
January 1,1973
Fantasy, Science Fiction,
Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

It's been a while since I've featured  a book cover by my favorite cover artists of all time -- the husband and wife team of Leo and Diane Dillon. And this one exemplifies the exotic beauty of their very unique style!

I found this STUNNING cover on one of my favorite blogs, Brainfluff, whose creator, S.J. Higbee, is also a science fiction writer! How very appropriate! You can find the cover on her own cover meme post, HERE.

This cover displays a perfect union of geometric with stylized human and animal shapes. While there's a definite Art Deco influence here, which is evident in the framing of the whole design, as well as the elegant font used for the title and author's name, there's also the vibrant, sinuous, somewhat whimsical illustration and design -- the signature Dillon style. 

Fantastical, otherworldly, totally fascinating, this is a cover that mystifies, at the same time that it pulls the viewer in. The eye roams all over, while one wonders what it all means. Who is that enigmatic hooded figure in the background? Is that a winged lizard? At the bottom left of the cover, is that a fish or a dragon, or some weird combination of the two, looking upon the sleeping child, at the bottom right  of the cover?  This striking image invites the viewer to move past its intriguing spell, and find out by diving into the story!

Another element of this design I love is the repetition of the circle motif. A circle encloses the hooded figure, which is echoed in the big blue-gray marble -- obviously a planet, and yet, somehow, also a marble -- to the right of the strange, winged creature.

These master artists have pulled all of these disparate elements together into one harmonious design, and the muted colors definitely add to its appeal. Everything is just perfect!

Last but definitely not least, I find that there's a timeless quality to the Dillons' art that makes all of it look fresh and new, as if the books had been published recently. I really need to post more of their masterpieces of cover illustration and design!

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
Locus article, which includes a
fascinating interview 
with Karen Haber, HERE.

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

What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. It reminds me a bit of the cover of The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper,

    1. Hi, Sue!

      I haven't heard of that novel, so I'll hae to look it up and see.

      Thanks for commenting!! <3 :)

  2. I love this cover. In addition to everything that you wrote about it, the overall effect is so 1970ish. As you point out. the Dillon's illustrated a lot of covers and it seems that they had a major influence on science fiction book covers. I have been looking through the list and pictures of book covers that they created. I really like their work. I see that they were creating covers as late as 2009.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Glad you love this cover, too! :) :)

      Yes, it does have a 70s vibe, but I also think it's timeless. The style is just SO contemporary!

      Oh, the Dillons DEFINITELY had a great influence on fantasy and SF book covers! Their work is just AMAZING! It's great that you, too, like their work. I think it's VERY visually appealing!

      I wonder if they stopped creating covers in 2009 because of Leo's health. He passed away in 2012, at the age of 79. How sad....

      You know, I wish the Dillons' story were made into a movie. I think theirs is a WONDERFULLY romantic story, and, with their talent, I'm sure it would be a TERRIFIC movie!

      Thanks for the nice comment!! <3 :)

  3. That's definitely one unique cover. Probably one of the most unique ones I've ever seen. You always feature super intriguing covers, Maria. I love it! :D

    1. Hi, Steph!

      I don't think I've ever seen a style quite like that of the Dillons on any fantasy or SF covers, although they did have some influence on cover illustrators and designers. But they're entirely unique!

      thanks so much for the compliment and the nice comment!! HUGS!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. Replies
    1. Hi, Barb!

      Yes, it is! Thanks for commenting!! HUGS TO YOU AND THE PUPS, AND "WOOF, WOOF" TO THEM!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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