Emshwiller: Infinity X Two by Luius Ortiz (book review).

I’ve been meaning to track down ‘Emshwiller: Infinity X Two’ by Luius Ortiz for a long time. As distribution of American SF magazines back in the 1960s-80s rarely reached my neck of the woods, I only slowly became aware of the mags and their artists and so many a couple decades later. As such, I tended to miss a lot of the artists from that period and missed out on Ed Emshwiller (1925-1990). He only spent 15 years illustrating and painted and entered the industry running, selling some of his portfolio samples, before moving into animation.

Back in the day, SF magazine editors often got their writers to match a story to the art available so he also scored a double-whammy. He was interested in avant-garde animation and did some early computer animation. You can find a lot of them on YouTube if you input ‘ed emshwiller films’.

Much of Luius Ortiz’s book goes through the history of the husband and wife team before and after marriage. Carol Emshwiller, through SF workshops, ultimately became an SF author. The number of times she and their first daughter became ready available models for their husband’s paintings really does need to be totted up.

To say that Ed Emshwiller was prolific as an SF magazine and eventually book cover painter is an understatement looking at his 15 years work here. He also could etch out pictures from scratchboard and, as I noted, so many stories were created around the pictures he provided. If anything, I’m more surprised that there are only two books about his work. Apart from the more, shall we say, standardised work, he wanted to play more with abstract when he could from time to time.

While pulling information about this book, I discovered his widow and SF writer, Carol Emshwiller, died in February 2019, 12 years after this book came out.

If you can lay your hands on this book, then its definitely worth a look.

GF Willmetts

June 2020

(pub: NonStop Press, 2007. 173 page illustrated near square hardback. Price: I pulled my copy for about £53.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-933065-08-3)

check out website: http://nonstoppress.com/

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