Published cover illustration for Empire by H. Beam Piper (ACE, 1981).
Piper is perhaps not as widely read these days as later 20th Century Grandmasters like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein, but his contributions to science fiction are undeniable. He died in 1964, but his catalog was later acquired and reprinted by ACE Books. His beloved Little Fuzzy was among Michael Whelan’s earliest assignments—the first of a cool dozen covers Whelan would illustrate for his books.
In 1981, ACE packaged a selection of Federation short stories for publication. As was often the case with collections and anthologies, Michael reveled in the freedom of the assignment for Empire, unleashing his vast imagination to paint a masterful work of science fiction.
The contrast of texture is striking with the intricately carved throne of stone set against the vibrant backdrop of a galactic spiral. The celestial being atop it seems to hold the balance of planets in hand. Truly an epic work done by one Grandmaster for another.
Image: 28" x 18"
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