Covers (and things)

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Mon Nov 6 12:39:31 EST 2000



Hello again.  Before I get started on the main part of this message:

1.  It's good to be back (I've been sick for a week, and my only e-mail access
is at work...)

2.  I told the bookshop that YOTG was already out of print.  They told their
wholesaler (who were still saying "not yet published" on order returns);
wholesaler replied "Is it?!?" and complained to Gollancz.  A copy earmarked for
me is now on its way, and should reach the bookshop midweek (which means I'll
get it on Friday).  Hooray!

(Yes, I know I could have got it from Amazon or somewhere - and the Greenwillow
edition would have been cheaper, too.  But I WILL NOT GIVE IN.  These big
bookshops and chains are trying (probably deliberately, although I can't say for
certain) to put the small bookshops out of business, and we will all lose out if
they do.  I order books from a small local bookshop, and I am prepared to
complain, loudly, if they are not treated fairly by their suppliers.

Anyway, Covers.

FIRE AND HEMLOCK

Is this the DWJ book with the most different cover designs?  A few weeks ago, I
found a copy with a cover I actually liked, by Alan Fraser, showing a quite good
interpretation of the F&H picture (Mandarin, or whatever they were called that
year, 1993).  I must decide whom to give my old copy to (cover by Bruce Hogarth,
1990 (Polly and about 8 hemlock branches against a red background of flames)).

There was an earlier cover with lots of yellow, apparently executed in pastels
or coloured pencils, which wasn't bad - who drew that?  There was the awful one
with some female (Laurel?) on a horse (which should make her Mary Fields ;-) ).
And now there's one almost as bad in which (Polly?) has the black pouched
eyes...

Any others?

CHRESTOMANCI

The new uniform edition of Chrestomanci books have a strange person on the
cover.  He looks a bit like Chrestomanci, only more of a showman than an
enchanter, and not _nearly_ so well-dressed!

Last week I discovered who this person is.  It is, of course, John Wellington
Wells.  ("Who??" I hear you cry.)

Lying in bed, ill, listening to the wireless, I heard a song.  I correctly
identified the composer and lyricist (hardly difficult, even if "only the Goon
seemed to appreciate" them...)  It reminded me so frocibly of these covers that
I just had to share it with you all, so I went and looked it up.  It goes like
this:

Oh! my name is John Wellington Wells
I'm a dealer in magic and spells,
     In blessings and and curses
     And ever-filled purses,
In prophecies, witches and knells.

If you want a proud foe to "make tracks" -
If you'd melt a rich uncle in wax -
     You've but to look in
     On our resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe! [1]

We've a first-class assortment of magic;
And for raising a posthumous shade
With effects that are comic or tragic,
There's no cheaper house in the trade.

Love-philtre - we've quantities of it;
And for knowledge if anyone burns,
We keep an extremely small prophet, a prophet
Who brings us unbounded returns:

For he can prophesy
With a wink _of_ his eye,
Peep with security
Into futurity,
Sum up your history,
Clear up a mystery,
Humour proclivity
For a nativity (for a nativity);

With mirrors so magical,
Tetrapods tragical,
Bogies spectacular,
Answers oracular,
Facts astronomical,
Solemn or comical,
And, if you want it, he
Makes a reduction on taking a quantity!

Oh! If anyone anything lacks,
He'll find it all ready in stacks,
     If he'll only look in
     On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

He can raise you hosts
          of ghosts,
And that without reflectors;
And creepy things
          with wings,
And gaunt and grisly spectres.
He can fill you crowds
          of shrouds,
And horrify you vastly;
He can rack your brains
          with chains,
And gibberings grim and ghastly!

Then if you plan it, he
Changes organity,
With an urbanity,
Full of Satanity,
Vexes humanity
With an inanity
Fatal to vanity -
Driving your foes to the verge of insanity!

Barring tautology,
In demonology,
'Lectro-biology,
Mystic nosology,
Spirit philology,
High-class astrology,
Such is his knowledge, he
Isn't the man to require an apology!

Oh!  My name is John Wellington Wells,
I'm a dealer in magic and spells,
     In blessings and curses
     And ever-filled purses,
In prophecies, witches and knells.

If anyone anything lacks,
He'll find it all ready in stacks,
     If he'll only look in
     On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

[1] This is JWW's pronunciation of the firm's address, 70 St Mary Axe

[I've gone and typed the whole song in.  Ouch!]

It comes from "The Sorceror" by, as you will by now have guessed, Gilbert and
Sullivan.  What amazes me is that I've never heard it before.  I wonder if there
are any productions happening locally...

Philip.




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