Never judge a book by its cover.
We are taught this maxim, but do we ever follow it? Book covers are what draw us in, spark that first flame of interest in a story, and often dictates which books we purchase and which ones we leave sitting on the shelves of a bookstore. And perhaps no one knows this fact better than John Harris, whose artwork has been gracing the covers of science fiction novels since the 1980s.
The Art of John Harris – Beyond the Horizon is a magnificent 160 page hardcover collection that, according to the synopsis on the Titan Books website, “focuses on his wide variety of futuristic paintings, sketches, acrylics and watercolours, as well as his striking covers for a variety of esteemed SF authors, including John Scalzi, Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt, Orson Scott Card and many more.”
The art contained in this book will take your breath away. Harris’s use of vibrant color will dazzle you, while the scope will leave you feeling like a child watching these scenes of beauty transpire right outside your window (or viewport).
I have included two of Harris’s works just to introduce his magnificent artistry. The first is his painting Drunkard’s Walk, which has been immortalized as the cover of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
The second is Astropolis, which is my personal favorite from the book. The painting shows an asteroid that has been turned into a booming spaceport and seems to symbolize mankind’s drive to colonize nature to its own technological needs.
A large portion of Harris’s commentary (and consequently the book) centers around a series of paintings commissioned by Pierrot Publishing and eventually published as Mass: The Art Of John Harris, his first collection of paintings in print. He explains his
In the nineteenth century, artists from Europe travelled to all sorts of exotic places across the globe, bringing back paintings to a public who had never seen images of the pyramids or the walled cities of Asia. They must have created a real sense of wonder, and even longing, within many who saw them. Sadly, such a situation no longer exists. There is hardly any spot on the globe that has not been photographed or filmed.[…]
So this odd, quixotic little task is really an unending journey into an imagined world, a place that no-one but this artist has seen, my own Shangri-la.
Perhaps that is why science fiction continues to strike such a cord with readers: without new Earth-bound locations to fill them with wonder, readers have turned instead to the future and to the stars. And The Art of John Harris is the perfect complement to that; leaving readers captivated with covers that showcase the beauty and majesty of science fiction.
The Art of John Harris – Beyond the Horizon will be released on May 27. You can pre-order the book on the Titan Books website right here. Do not miss this beautiful collection of timeless sci-fi artwork!