Andrew Jones SolarWind The Fabulous Riverboat

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"The Fabulous Riverboat"
(From the book "Solar Wind")
By : Deborah Susan Jones : Editor

It's the second book in The Riverboat Saga, a Science Fiction book by Philip Jose Farmer. "The Day of the Great Shout first appeared in "Worlds of Tomorrow" in January 1965  and also appeared as the first part of "To your scattered bodies go" in 1971 being a complete riverworld short story. This story is almost identical to the first part of To your scattered bodies go.
The Fabulous Riverboat Panther 1975
                        Philip Jose FarmerThe Suicide Express first appeared in "Worlds of Tomorrow" in March 1966 and also as the second part of To your scattered bodies go in 1971 and yet again in "THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF NEW WORLD SCIENCE FICTION" in 1991.
The Felled Star (Part 1) first appeared in "Worlds of If" in July 1967 and parts 1 and 2 make up chapters 1-14 of "THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT" published as a novel in 1971.
The Felled Star (Part 2) first appeared in "Worlds of If" in August 1967. The Fabulous Riverboat (part 1)
first appeared in "Worlds of If" in Jun 1971 and parts 1 and 2 comprise chapters 15-28 of "THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT" which was published as a novel in 1971.
The Fabulous Riverboat Panther 1978
                        Philip Jose FarmerThe Fabulous Riverboat first appeared in "Worlds of If" in August 1971 .
In 1974 Peter created this painting as the cover of the 1975 Panther Books Edition and it was republished in 1978, again in 1979 under the Granada imprint which absorbed Panther and again in1988 when yet more publishing evolution saw it published under the Grafton imprint when Harper Collins absorbed the previous imprint and the image remained on the cover until it finally disappeared after 1993.
Painted in Oil on Paper what is significant about the Artwork is that it defied convention by being painted in dull, laid back muted classical colours, decidedly different from typical covers in the genre at the time. At first the Art Director was very dubious but after some discussion decided to back Peter's hunch and sales of 20 years endorse the risk taken.
That's some track record!
The Fabulous Riverboat Granada 1979
                        Philip Jose FarmerCurious was this about the image - many years after it had been published Peter was handed copies of the other two Riverworld series books, and when placed alongside his own cover the mountain walls on the shore matched up!
A complete and total coincidence.
The design stance Peter took was "counter-culture" - he assumed the book, with its amazing storyline, would be a powerful seller as indeed would Jose farmer's name, so there seemed an opportunity to "back-pedal" visually, to take a risk, to do the opposite of the norm, the typical. He "threw convention out the window" and painted the image "as though it were a Renaissance masterpiece, not a book cover, as though it were hanging alongside Rembrandt's Nightwatch in The Riksmuseum, and as far away from "book cover art" as I could dream up, as far away from "Sci-Fi" or Pulp magazine art as I could manage, just "a picture in its own right" like perhaps a Limited Edition Print Artist might paint."
The Fabulous Riverboat Grafton 1988
                        Philip Jose FarmerIronically, whilst the original Panther publication, with its classic Steve Abis (Panther's brilliantly talented Art Director) "clean typography" balances out wonderfully against the detail and complexity of the textures in the painting, preserving the original creative idea, the final publication under the Grafton imprint uses typography that destroys much of this, obscures the overall feel of the vast scope of Riverworld encasing the river, and the steamer, and reduces the book cover to a typical "Sci-Fi" cover.
Full circle . . . . . . . . . . .
Deborah Susan Jones : Editor

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