Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thrift Shop Book Covers: Berserker Man

Berserker Man is the third Berserker novel (and fourth book) by Fred Saberhagen.  Its debut was a fashionable paperback original by ACE in 1979, which is the exact edition that caught my eye.  The artwork is a Boris Vallejo original, and it is a perfect 1970s science fiction cover.  The colors are vivid (yet somehow muted all the same) with a stark contrast between light and dark.  And, amazingly, it is an image I can look at again and again and see something new; a flash of coral, a uranium splash, an oxidized reflection of fire.

The Berserker stories have been going strong since the 1960s, and even today have a cult following.  A Berserker is a self-replicating war machine, which was design to destroy life.  The name “berserker” was borrowed from Norse legend.  It is defined (in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary) as—
“[A]n ancient Scandanavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable.”
The opening paragraph:

“Well, Elly Temesvar thought grayly, we’ve given it a good fight, done better than anyone might have expected, considering how little ship we have to fight it with.”
This is the second in a new series of posts featuring the cover art and miscellany of books I find at thrift stores and used bookshops.  It is reserved for books I purchased as much for the cover art as for the story or author. 

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