Although I sell tons of books on various subjects, I love the old Science-Fiction/Fantasy paperbacks I read as a child and teenager. Many of these are going up for sale! It isn’t only the story that fills the pages that makes me love these books, it is also the fantastic artwork on the covers. It’s exciting to rediscover some of these books and find that the artwork is the early work of a well known artist. The first author I’d like to feature is Jack L. Chalker.
Jack L. Chalker, former teacher turned Sci-Fi writer, was born in Baltimore, MD in 1944. He was an avid reader and prolific writer, who contributed tremendously to the genre of Sci-Fi. One of his many contributions was the Jack L. Chalker Young Writers Contest. An interesting note about Chalker is that his Wonderland Gambit series, written in 1995, is similar to The Matrix, although The Matrix was released in 1999. The series revolves around the main character Cory Maddox who is thrown into the middle of a battle between two groups of people who can jump between realities, personalities, and lives. They travel through “Rabbit Holes”… do we remember the message to Neo in the Matrix, “Follow the white rabbit”? Cory Maddox is caught between realities, and slowly remembers a former life, as he travels deeper into the rabbit hole.
Jack Chalker died in February of 2005 from complications of a weakened heart. His ashes were spread in several places around the world including Hong Kong, and over the grave of H.P. Lovecraft in Providence, Rhode Island, an author he greatly admired. Losing a Sci-Fi writer like Chalker leaves a huge gap in the genre, especially when their work is left unfinished. Fans mourn the loss of the author, but also of the characters created by the author as their voices are forever silenced. This was the case for me when my absolutely favorite author, Roger Zelazny passed away. I found myself longing for the stories that would never be written, as I’d become a fan of his Amber series. Eventually more stories from Amber came to be, told by John Gregory Betancourt, but it wasn’t the same. It could never be the same. But, I will write about that in my next post!
Here are some of the books I have up for sale by Jack L. Chalker:
The art for the covers was created by renowned illustrator David B. Mattingly. Mattingly has a recognizable colorful sleek style in his artwork. Traditional painting was his game up until ten years ago when he fell in love with the digital process. He has his own book out that is on my wish list (soon it will be mine!) titled The Digital Matte Painting Handbook (Sybex Publishing). Click on the link for his website and check out his work!