Sunday, March 2, 2014

Arthur C. Clarke's 2001-Inspired Ballantine Book Covers

by John Scoleri

In March of 1969, Ballantine Books decided to take advantage of the success of Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey by re-releasing five of their Arthur C. Clarke paperback backlist titles with matching trade design. Each features artwork clearly inspired by the film (while Ballantine had published numerous books by Clarke, Signet Books had the rights to the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey and other books related to the film, one of which (The Lost Worlds of 2001) I discussed in a previous blog entry).


Several years ago, after reading Clarke's novel version of 2001: A Space Odyssey (which I not only greatly enjoyed, but which led me to appreciate the film beyond its amazing audio/visual spectacle), I decided to seek out other works by the author.

I'm not sure which of these five titles I ran across first, but as soon as I saw the ship designs so clearly inspired by the film, I decided I'd have to track them all down. Fortunately, the back of each book shows the covers of the other four titles in the series, making it was easy to know what to look for. While none are particularly rare in these editions, paperback collectors will appreciate the desire to have a matching set of books like these.

Sadly, the cover artist responsible for these renditions is not credited in the books. If you stumble across this blog entry and happen to know the artist responsible, please leave a comment and I will gladly update this entry. For now, here are the details and a larger version of each of the five books in the series.

Childhood's End
Ballantine 345-01558 75¢
Tenth Printing, March 1969


Expedition to Earth (short stories)
Ballantine 345-01559 75¢
Fourth Printing, March 1969


Earthlight
Ballantine 345-01560 75¢
Fifth Printing, March 1969


Reach for Tomorrow (short stories)
Ballantine 345-01561 75¢
Fourth Printing, March 1969


Tales from the White Hart (short stories)
Ballantine 345-01562 75¢
Fourth Printing, March 1969

2 comments:

Hamhock said...

These editions are the ones I always enjoyed. EARTHLIGHT was the first I purchased. However, when I got around to the others, the covers had been changed. It wasn't until the 1980's that I was able obtain the others. The artist did a OK job with Childhood's End, Earthlight, Expedition To Earth. The leanage of the vessels to the Discovery One was clear and well depicted. However Reach For Tomorrow failed -- the ship depicted bore almost no resemblance to 2001's technology. All it had was the three-dish antenna array from Discovery. As for Tales From The White Hart, there was absolutly nothing at all that could link it to 2001. The artwork being by the same artist was all there was. I really wish they would get it into their heads to re-do the covers to reflect 2001; the film has never been dated.

Mark Fuller Dillon said...

I suspect that Dean Ellis was the artist for these covers.

Ellis painted many covers for Ballantine in the '60s and '70s, in a style very similar to the one shown here. If you look, for example, at the covers he provided for the James White "Sector General" series, you can see a strong resemblance in some of the detailing on the ships.

In the early 1970s, Ellis painted a new series of covers for these Arthur C. Clarke reprints, but these relied less upon imagery based on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and more upon his own imagination.