@Dead Stuff: That would make sense, so obviously Ace didn’t do it. Instead, it was a Vance double-bill with ‘The Five Gold Bands’, illustrated with two grey-ish hoops and some guy in an electric chair. http://people.uncw.edu/smithms/F-series/F-185.jpg
Uh, there’s nothing wrong with this cover, aside from it’s originality which, admittedly, might upset some people here and send up the pointless snark level a few notches higher. Well, have fun with the new flood of self-published SF rubbish, which these days is almost invariably “illustrated” by craftspeople using consumer 3d rendering programs. Lots of detail, and lots of shiny metal surfaces. None of this shoddy “drawing” nonsense! And it’ll never look dated because it’s completely lifeless and all of it looks exactly the same! Unlike this cover, no one will ever mock modern improved not-by-human-hands SF art, because no one will care enough to even bother.
Snark alert! Snark alert!
Our greatest snarks are naturally reserved for those who almost get the zeitgeist, but not quite . . . who see the snark but do not grasp the love beneath it, the implied homages to a genre we be steeped in. The love of bombast and wordplay that imbues some of the greatest examples of SF/Fantasy.
@js—maybe spend some time with
THE PEDANT THAT CAME TO SARNATH!
(Of course, I have no idea if this post will get through the wormhole.)