I actually like this one quite a bit! Let me get serious for a moment and explain why:
1) First of all, the art is well executed. There’s a very good use of light and shadow, the perspective is solid and nobody is in an anatomically improbable position. This alone puts it ahead of 98% of the covers on this site.
2) Secondly, it’s unexpected. It’s got the usual fantasy cliches of spellcasting witch and buff blonde warrior, but… they’re kissing! And she’s not into it! It makes you want to know more.
3) Third, it clearly illustrates an actual event in the story.Okay, I haven’t read the book, but this scene is so specific it’s hard to imagine that the artist just made it up out of his or her own head. I can feel pretty sure that if I pick this one up I will, at some point, learn why Sword Dude and Magic Lady are necking awkwardly on a staircase.
4) It’s not too over-the-top. We see a lot of ‘covers from the story’ that select what is probably the zaniest bit of the book to illustrate. Or they try and pack every oddball character or element into the scene. This is fairly minimalist: there’s just two characters and the scene is intriguing without being a complete WTF moment.
In summary, if I was a fantasy author this is the kind of cover I would want.
Alright, I’ll get off my soapbox. We now return you to your regularly scheduled cover snark, already in progress!
He was (noted dark fantasist) CL Moore’s husband. This book was originally from 1946, and I gather is actually pretty darn good (Piers Anthony? When you could have gotten Marion Zimmer Bradley’s endorsement?).
I’m in agreement with Tom Noir here. This cover ain’t bad.
That said, it did suggest the idle thought,
“You must remember this,
That’s one sick wizard kiss …”
But it was “based on” the famous Lewis Padgett story.
If I had to guess, the swordsman has been enthralled by the blue witch who is not impressed by his intentions, which were probably more to do with sticking his sword somewhere. No, the shiny metal one. No, not – – – oh, suit yourself.
Anti-Sceptic: given that this story was probably half written by C. L. Moore (like everything published under both her and name and his after they got married), I think we can safely say that it does not contain pointless sexism.