David Pelham covers for Alfred Bester’s work, as part of a new series style for Penguin Science Fiction in 1974.
The blurb for Tiger! Tiger! describes the novel’s protagonist Gully Foyle as a ‘liar, lecher, ghoul, walking cancer. Obsessed by vengeance, he’s also the twenty-fourth century’s most valuable commodity – but he doesn’t know it. His story is one of the great classics of science fiction’. Pelham agreed, and wanted a portrait of Foyle on the cover, but as he explained, ‘you can’t depict such a portmanteau character in a conventional portrait because his likeness is no more than a cleverly arranged series of words’. So Pelham created ‘a composite portrait made out of debris’ in homage to the sixteenth-century Italian painter and ‘first surrealist’ (who famously did it with fruit) Guiseppe Arcimboldo. Pelham then added Foyle as a little white spot adrift in space near the portrait’s eye, ‘because that’s where we first come across him, barely getting by, living in the tangled remains of a drifting spaceship that has exploded’. And having Arcimboldo’d Bester once Pelham did it again for The Demolished Man, though with a title like that he could hardly have done otherwise. — From The Art of Penguin Science Fiction