Thursday, January 21, 2021

Sudden Dead, Sudden Life

Fifty pages in, and despite my reluctance to give up on books, I had to bail on the 1980 psychic thriller Platforms, by New York-born novelist John R. Maxim. Despite the author’s well-written, thoughtful approach to matters both supernatural and not, his characters of education, intelligence, and taste, and sharp observations on marital discord and class envy, the novel is not for me. I have never been overly excited encountering psychic phenomena in horror, and only in small doses do I tolerate it. An entire story based around dead people speaking from beyond the grave about the various “levels” of the afterlife—“platforms” I’m presuming—really leaves me cold. 

However, its paperback covers offer immediate pleasures for the horror art connoisseur, so let’s just be thankful for that. The uncredited illustration for the 1982 Pocket edition (at top) might be by Lisa Falkenstern, or perhaps Don Ivan Punchatz, depicting business attire-clad commuters sucked into a vortex, is a personal favorite; really great conception and execution of the ominous brick-wall face. 

Reprinted for Tor's horror line in 1987, with J.K. Potter art, the book now boasts an eerie tableau of ghostly figures in the artist’s signature photorealistic style. Lastly we have a knockout French edition from 1989, by French artist Matthieu Blanchin. Dig those dark circles around the woman’s eyes—super unsettling! Blanchin did stellar horror covers for the J’ai Lu Épouvante line, most of which rival anything done by American counterparts of the era, I think you’ll agree...


Zwolf said...

I've had this book for years and look at it every once in a while and think, "Maybe I should read that..." but then it never looks like it's going to be eventful enough. I mean, just ghosts showing up, and... that's it? Doesn't seem like enough to carry a novel. But I'm glad to get some info on it, since I've been curious-but-not-curious-enough for a long time. :)

Johnny Ostentatious said...

Nice to hear I'm not the only one who tries to finish every book I pick up.