A Fantastic Cover

Fantastic Stories of Imagination, August, 1962

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, August, 1962

I’ve always thought the cover to the left, from August, 1962 Fantastic Stories was great.

An internet search for the names of most Sixties Fantasy or SF artists will usually garner significant information. But I found virtually nothing when I Googled the name of Vernon Kramer, who created this cover. All I can tell you is that Kramer did quite a few covers in the Sixties for Fantastic and her sister publication, Amazing Stories. Most of them were arresting paintings, but this would be my favorite.

I’ve just always thought it was haunting and beautiful and evocative. It illustrates (and I suspect inspired) a pretty nice story, “Sword of Flowers.” Back then SF magazines would often buy a well-executed painting and then pay a writer to create a story around it. I’d bet that that was the case here. In any case the story is a good one, written by Laurence Janifer under the name Larry M. Harris.Told in lush prose ‘a la Ray Bradbury, it’s a simple almost allegorical tale set in an Eden like world  and plays on our nagging sense that perhaps the real world is not really real.

Actually this issue has a lot of good stories. It was one of my favorite issues of Fantastic when I was a kid. I especially liked Robert F. Young’s “Victim of the Year,” which involves a guy who’s had a months-long string of bad luck and also a local witches coven that picks a person each year on whom its members practice their black arts. Among the other stories in the issue is “Horseman,” the second published story by Roger Zelazny. He, of course, went on  to become a multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner and wrote the hugely popular Amber series. There were other stories by Jack Sharkey, Arthur Porges, Rosel George Brown. P. Schuyler Miller, Albert Teichner, and Lawrence Eisenberg.

The stories were pretty much all excellent, and the interior illustrates were OK. But, man, love that cover.

Here’s another, larger shot of it.

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, August, 1962

Fantastic Stories of Imagination, August, 1962

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About kentmcdanielwrites

Writer and musician.

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