When thinking about how authors of speculative fiction contribute to the oeuvre of literature we cannot forget about the artists. An artist’s work can help make a book a success. In science fiction and fantasy often the greatest and most intriguing art graces the covers and can be the first thing that draws a reader into the story. When I was a kid I first got into fantasy because the old Dragonlance Chronicles covers captivated me. I loved the cover illustrations as much as I loved the stories. Sadly today, more and more book covers have left behind beautiful and intriguing artwork that spurs the imagination for mere graphic images. These covers are well done, even beautiful, but they seem all flash and not much depth. Many years ago things were different which brings me to my point. Omni Reboot is showcasing the original artwork for Dune by artist John Schoenherr created for the epic series Dune by written by Frank Herbert. I must say that through all the artistic book cover incarnations the series has taken Schoenherr’s impressionistic, strange, ambiguous and beautiful work will remain my favorite art for the series. The style fits the scope of the story perfectly. The real treat for aficionados of this work is that Omni Reboot is showcasing on their website some artwork previously unreleased and unseen by newer fans of Herbert books and Schoenherr’s work.
“I can envision no more perfect visual representation of my Dune world than John Schoenherr’s careful and accurate illustrations.” – Frank Herbert
When looking at these beautiful art pieces one can see why the author felt this way. Shoenherr’s work became most visible while he worked with Analog magazine, one of the foundational and most important science fictions magazines, and he did artwork for authors such as Gordon R. Dickson, Clifford D. Simak and Anne McCaffrey as well as many covers for the magazine itself. He went on to do art and illustration for children’s books later in his career but it was his work associated with Frank Herbert’s Dune that won him the prestigious Hugo for Best Professional artist. To take a look at all of the art pieces they have on the site in their archives for Dune go to the Omni Reboot website. The article by Jeff Love is enlightening and the artwork is amazing.