Iwould love to review “the complete collection of book coversillustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon” but as far as I can tell, sucha volume does not exist. What do exist: TheArt of Leo & Diane Dillon (1981)and ToEvery Thing There Is a Season: Verses from Ecclesiastes (1998).Collections I cannot review because 1) I don’t own either and 2)I’ve never seen either. I do not mind all that much, because thefirst collection does not seem to have been well-received and thesecond looks too, um, religious for my taste.
Butthe Dillons do have a special place in my heart and I would love to direct someattention their way. So I am going to talk aboutmy favourite Dillon covers.
My enjoyment of their work began with this specific set of covers.
These are from Terry Carr’s first Ace Science Fiction Specials series (The Specials without Dillon covers have been left out.)The works in the series won the Hugo and the Nebula and in one very odd case, the Campbell. Many of the book in the series are considered classics. I don’t know how it was Carr chose the Dillons to do so many of the covers. It may have been because of their existing association with Harlan Ellison.
Notall of the Ace Specials had Dillon covers, but many did. As well,the Dillons gave the impression of being judicious about whatassignments they accepted. They did not seem to be motivated purelyby money. Because of that, Dillon cover art on its own was oftenenough of a reason to consider buying a book. After all, they considered the book worthy of their cover art. See for example
Forever the longest, this association was subconscious. I had long sincestarted noting which editors and publishers put out books to my tasteand I could tell you exactly which ones. It took me a while to noticethat some artists were also associated with high-quality SF. By whichtime ii was too late to acquire a copy of TheArt of Leo & Diane Dillon (which may not be a tragedy, but it would still be nice to see it.)Learn from my mistake: note artists, acquire work of same.
Ofcourse, mere association with good books isn’t the only reason Ilike their work. Their art is (for me at least) tasty eye candy. Iwish I could articulate just why it’s tasty. Unfortunately, I’m betterat orbital mechanics than artcritspeak. But I know what I like.