So there I was, in the local Goodwill. There’s really no pressing reason for me to ever venture into the Denver suburbs again, so why not? My retail senses were blinking sluggishly off and on, so I went through the whole store in a more expedient version than my usual trawl. (Actual source: a luridly printed blazer that stayed where it was, as I could not figure out how to style it.) Picking through the books (which were wildly organized, which disoriented me completely), I found a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsinger in exactly the condition I like: a paperback from the seventies with gloriously yellow pages and a brightly illustrated cover. I glanced through the copyright page to find the artist, but only discovered who it was when I scrutinized the the upper right hand corner of the drawing: Elizabeth Malczynski.
Elizabeth Malczynski (sometimes credited as Elizabeth Malczynski Littman, her married name) is an illustrator and artist specializing in fantasy art, especially dragons and fairies. While she mostly paints original fantasy pieces and exhibits them at conventions, speculative fiction fans know her name from her covers for a handful of books in the seventies: Dragonsong, Fantastic Imagination II, Gloriana, Dragonsinger, Song of the Pearl, Night Wings, Dragondrums, Engine Summer, and The Beginning Place. And it’s these covers that I like the most.
What drew me to the cover in the bookstore was the face of the adult woman on the cover. Now, I’ve never read Dragonsong, but I assume that Menolly is one of the young girls and that the adult woman is one of her teachers. The way she carries herself, her bright and comfortable clothing, and the way she’s reaching up to brush her lovely curls out of her face… I’m already intrigued by this character and want to know more about her. The same goes for the woman in the beautiful headdress on the back cover; the way she holds her head, the way her costume is a riff on a nun’s habit, and her outstretched arms. I want to read about these characters, and that’s the best work a piece of cover art unique to a book can do.
You can find Malczynski online at her website, the Dragon Studio, or on her Facebook page. She does have a blog, but it was last updated in May of 2012. You can also buy original artwork and prints at her website’s shop. FairyRoom, a blog focused on enchantment, interviewed her in two parts last year.
I don’t know how this program can be so exhausting and still go by so fast. Next week is my last week at the Denver Publishing Institute. After that? Um… I’m working on it. Have I mentioned how much I hate actually occupying liminal spaces? I’m like a dog: if I go off my routine, I am disgruntled.
This week’s links:
- This list of “15 Cereal Combinations That Will Change the World” is very inspiring, but lacks my personal invented cereal, Lucky Clares. Lucky Clares is when you put Lucky Charms marshmallows in a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. It’s two different kinds of sweet and the milk it creates is divine. (Especially when you use almond milk.)
- I’m still parsing out Jacob Clifton’s “Geek Love: The Observer Effect” over at Tor.com, but it’s definitely worth a look.
- io9 highlights John Boswell’s research into the history of same-sex unions, starting with 100 AD. It’s an interesting read about how marriage, as a concept, is quite a new thing.
- There’s a webseries based on the infamous fanfic “My Immortal.” Pound the alarm, people.
- As ambivalent as I am about Icona Pop (“I Love It” is brilliant, but their other output leaves me cold) and as much as I loathe straight girls referring to their friends as their “girlfriends” (that is not what that word means and you know it), “Girlfriend” is a really great song about lady friendship. (That I can also put on my Joan Watson/Mary Morstan mix. Sorry, mixes.)
- Tim Allen doesn’t understand why white people don’t get to say the n-word. This is why we can’t have nice things.
- As our second installment in “White Dudes Who Must Be Stopped,” this quote from Steven Moffat about how Irene Adler is only important because Sherlock wants to have sex with her (instead of, you know, that time she got away scot-free with her husband because she outsmarted him and exploited his heteronormative blind spots) reveals exactly why he is awful at female characters. The tumblr commentary is quite necessary.
- I am very much in favor of Tyler Posey playing Jaime Reyes, a.k.a. the Blue Beetle! Good work, tumblr.
- Mental Floss covers the origins of The Oregon Trail.
- An interesting take on a Wonder Woman movie from MightyGodKing, a.k.a. Christopher Bird. He talks about how Wonder Woman isn’t as strictly defined as, say, Batman or Superman, due to the creative control the various people who write her have over her story. But he’s also arguing that a Wonder Woman movie would provide that structure and make her as popular as Bats and Supes.
- At io9, Charlie Jane Anders examines the problem of “pre-mature nerdgasms” and how corporations misunderstand fandom’s love for soundbites and pictures—we love them in context of the things that we love. (This is why I crumble to the floor when confronted with certain portions of Howard Shore’s score for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.)
- Quist is a this day in queer history app! I have been enjoying it so far.
- I am fascinated by how people are so incredibly threatened by young women expressing desire—sexual and non-sexual. Case in point: GQ is being awful to One Direction fans, Aja Romano reports. Esquire gives better fashion tips anyway.
- “A Brief History of Feminist SF/F and Women in SF/F” is very inspiring, although it ends in 2006.
- Libby Anne at Love, Joy, and Feminism examines how purity culture can breed very specific mindsets about sex.
- Quirk Books gives us “Ice Cream Flavors Inspired by Books!” I have half a mind to make some of these. Never mind the fact that I will probably never own an ice cream maker.
- This tumblr gifset featuring Neville Longbottom’s parents makes me cry. In a good way.
- Here is a map of all the independent bookstores in America!
- My friend Ari reviews Tamiko Beyer’s We Come Elemental at LAMBDA Literary. Go say hi! She’s an awesome person and a lovely writer.
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones comes out soon. Brush up on Cassandra Clare’s interesting fandom history from the always glorious Gavia Baker-Whitelaw.
- Over at Bitch, Suzy X comics about how “Punk is Not Just for Straight, White Guys.“
- io9’s “The Seven Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding” should just be distributed at all writing workshops.
- Cliff at the Pervocracy points out how “keeping the peace” usually means “shut up while someone is awful to everybody.”
- Faith Erin Hicks draws about her experience at this year’s Comic-Con, including the moment she realized that she deserved to be there alongside all her heroes.
- Jess Plummer will make you love Supergirl.
This week’s acquistions:
Added: Call Me Puke by Mark Sieve (researching this post), Well Met by Rachel Lee Rubin (researching this post), Wired Love by Ella Cheever Thayer (via Aja Romano), Glaciers by Alexis Smith (via class)
Who is your favorite cover artist, especially if you’ve discovered them recently?