I love this one! Not really sure about the “red white and grey” tagline (grey = robots?) but the visual image is weird and fun and intriguing me (and probably nothing to do with the contents of the book, I would guess).
I think that the future president of the USA felt that his country needed a face-lift. So he had a giant robot built to cut off Canada and lay it on top of the US, and voila! A new country! He would go on to call it “the United States of Canada”. Initially he wanted to call it “MouthWarblingGoatYacht”, but the people voted against it.
OK. Having dug out my copy of “The Garden of Unearthly Delights”, the collection of Josh Kirby paintings, I see that his comment on this cover was “Inspired by the general feel of the book, rather than any actual incident”, which is not his usual approach when painting a cover.
If I had to guess what the “Red, white and grey” comment was about I’d guess American Civil War, so the robot should be sawing some way further south.
@Muttley: The strapline really doesn’t have anything to do with the story, so far as I’ve been able to figure out in the quarter-century I’ve had it.
As for the art, I could never see even a tonal connection, but I’m not Josh Kirby. (Terry Pratchett once wrote that, while he loved Kirby’s Discworld covers, he realized very early on that the cover was always going to be what was going on in Kirby’s head rather than in his own.)
Don, I agree absolutely about the Pratchett covers.
Paul Kidby’s covers almost exactly match what I see in my head on reading the books. Sam Vimes would in my mind tend more towards Philip Glenister than Clint Eastwood, but otherwise they are strikingly good.
Josh Kirby’s covers are arresting, but generally frustrating when you try to look deeper into them (which they invite, being so detailed). For my money, the problem was that Pratchett has a strong practical, engineering, streak: his worlds are well-described, self-consistent and coherent. Josh Kirby was more concerned with form than content, and painted what he saw in the books, in his own style, which doesn’t agree with that of most of the readers.
There is no doubt that Kirby was a consummate draftsman and could produce exceptionally realistic paintings when he felt it was appropriate – some of his Hitchcock covers for Pan (contained in The Garden of Unearthly Delights, a collection of his paintings) show that very well. What you see on the Pratchett covers is exactly what Kirby wanted you to see, as Pratchett said.
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