…and here, and here, and here too.
There’s an immutable law which says whenever you read a fantasy novel (of a thick nature is a bonus, but not necessary) you will at one point or another flick to the front few pages looking for a map. Blame Tolkien if you like, but I’d rather thank Tolkien. By their nature, fantasy novels take place in other worlds, or at least realities so removed from our own explanation is needed to guide us through it as well as the narrative.
But to me, the maps provide another purpose; they’re a visual accompaniment to further draw us into the world.
There’s a piece on the Guardian at the moment talking about the art of Ian Miller (not the ‘Dry Tost’ kind in my Big Fat Greek Wedding). Ian has a long history in the SFF genre, and was at least in part responsible for my love of the genre. His illustrations in Games Workshop’s early Warhammer Fantasy books held me enraptured for hours as I at first drunk in every detail, and then wondered what lay just of the horizon of the drawings.
Erfberg, 2011: Ian Miller
And this isn’t an aspect of the genre which is lost to bygone times. The Goliath series by Scott Westerfeld include a number of just beautiful illustrations throughout each book which delight even the 30 something me.
I don’t think it’s coincidence of the presence of illustrations in both children’s literature and fantasy. I’ve always held that adults who love fantasy and sci fi are just children who refused to grow up. We hold onto the delightful, and will use any sense open to us to enjoy what we love.
This has been another disconnected rant from yours truly.