Monday, February 12, 2007

The Ballad of Beta-2

Ace Books (Ace Double M-121), New York, 1965

So many of Delany's short (because of Ace Books word limits) early novels are small masterpieces in their own right. This one follows a PhD student in ethnography out into space looking for the origin of a song. Something as simple as this becomes an involved tale of culture, language and isolation which has such a level of sophistication that it is difficult to see what the cover artist was thinking. This cover is credited to Ed Valigursky. One can see where he was going with it on reading the story but it does seem a little dated even for 1965. Perhaps it would have been more at home on the cover of the SF of the decade before. One can't say the same of the typographical choices on the cover! Could that font be any more 'sixties'?

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