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I have no idea why I got this book. The cover art is quite remarkable in its own right and possibly caught my eye. (My wife wondered how the nipple shields might be attached; myself I wonder how much practical use they are in combat.) It turns out to be the cover for the wrong book; the heroine of Conquest of the Amazon is blonde and wears a white suit, whereas this lady is dark-haired and not wearing anything much at all. More critically, the cover suggests a sword-and-sorcery romp, when in fact the Amazon is a near-future woman using her super-powers to keep the space lanes clear from marauding Martians and treacherous if handsome men from Jupiter. I'm sure it sold well anyway - heck, I must have bought it (or perhaps someone else bought it for me) - but I wonder how many early readers suffered buyer's remorse after realising that it wasn't the Conan ripoff they were expecting?

I vaguely knew of John Russell Fearn, of course, but I don't think I had read any of his works before. This turns out to be the seventh book in a series of twenty pulp adventures of the Amazon, who acquired super powers half a century ago at the age of three, and is exercising them in the cause of Good. It is, frankly, not a good book, yet I got through to the end after tossing Dagger Magic aside because it doesn't take itself too seriously. At first I was tweeting particularly eye-catching samples of Fearn's deathless prose -
"Book me a reservation on the next helicoliner following the Mount Everest route."

"The end of the world is within sight. I thought you should know that."

"This woman has always been a smooth talker. She can get out of any tight corner by using subtlety." [Subtlety, eh? The fiendish minx!]
- but then I decided to just go with the flow, as the Amazon tries to simultaneously stop the Sun going out, hold back the glaciers, and resist the culture of the Great Red Spot. It's all utterly implausible, but it's a romantic portrayal of a future where a benevolent science rules and a superwoman saves the world. Short (126 pages) and rather sweet.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
stevegreen
Oct. 11th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
Any idea who the artist was?
nwhyte
Oct. 12th, 2012 08:11 am (UTC)
It may be Ron Turner, though Wikipedia gives him credit for a 1998 edition rather than the 1948 printing which I have.
dsgood
Oct. 12th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC)
Looks to me like the nipple shields are glued on.
nwhyte
Oct. 12th, 2012 08:12 am (UTC)
Not practical in battle, surely?

Perhaps it's body paint.
yea_mon
Oct. 12th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
It's originally the UK cover of "Jalav: Amazon Warrior - The Crystals of Mida", Sharon Green, Star Books 1983.

It caught my eye back in the day...
nwhyte
Oct. 12th, 2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
Actually, my copy of Conquest of the Amazon was originally published in 1948, when Sharon Green would have been about six, so I think that the inspiration will have flowed in the other direction...
yea_mon
Oct. 12th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
I'm talking about the cover in your post - not the novels themselves.
nwhyte
Oct. 12th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
Yes, but the cover of my copy was printed in 1948, so can hardly have been inspired by the cover of a novel published in 1983 and written by an author born in 1942!
yea_mon
Oct. 13th, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC)
I'm a bit confused, so just to make sure I haven't misunderstood anything, I must ask:

Are you saying that the cover at the top of this post is that of the 1948 edition?

Cheers.
nwhyte
Oct. 13th, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
Yes!
yea_mon
Oct. 14th, 2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
I find that hard to believe for several reasons, the most obvious being the sheer amount of female flesh exposed. Also, the hairstyles of the man and woman on the cover seem to fit the 70s - 80s period. I also wonder as to whether a book from 1948 would have as detailed a cover art as we see above. The same point goes for the publisher's tag in the upper right corner - were they seen in the 40s?

I also looked at the covers of the Sharon Green book, The Crystals of Mida, I mentioned earlier. At this link you can see both the British and US versions of her book - the British version being the one with the same cover art as your Conquest of the Amazon. The US version is interesting in that the art, whilst different from the British one, is near identical in composition. Taking our two differing contentions we then get these possible attribution-chains:

1. Racy 1948 cover of Conquest of the Amazon inspires US Artist to crib and modify cover for The Crystals of Mida, US Artist tells UK publisher about the 1948 cover and they decide to use 1948 cover for the UK edition.

or

2. Sharon Green's US cover is inspired by the writing in the book (and so is appropriate to it), UK artist work is inspired by the US cover. Late 80s edition of CotA has a lazy producer who re-uses the Amazon artwork from Sharon Green's UK Edition.

In support of (2) this discussion on Trojan Publications would seem to indicate they were into re-using artwork originally commissioned for major publishers.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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