The Art Of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal (book review).

When I heard that there was another Jim Burns book on the horizon, this was on the top of my list to see next. After all, I own and love his three previous books, ‘Lightship’, ‘Transluminal’ and ‘Imago’. ‘Hyperluminal’ takes this to the next level of what he’s done next although there are some samples from both of those books in here as well.


Be it spacecraft, exotic locations, aliens, animals or people. Jim Burns can do it all and is the only UK artist to win 3 Hugo Awards. Mind you, it does help that since the mid-80s, that his work has also appeared over there, increasing his exposure to those with the power to vote. Burns’ sense of colour and the fact that he reads the book he’s going to paint the cover of before painting it ensures there is a connection from the start. He’s a firm favourite of writers like Greg Bear, Peter Hamilton and Robert Silverberg. Seeing the covers without any titles cluttering them up here also makes this book a pleasure to look at, especially when the book series covers are put together collectively and you can see the same character throughout.

Burns-Exordium 4 - Rifter's Covenenant

I hadn’t realised until now that it was his art that was on the cover of ‘Beyond Bedlam’ by Wyman Guinn back in 1972 and was actually his second ever paid Science Fiction composition. Oddly, it features neither people or spaceships but is still startlingly effective even if Burns thought he had a lot to learn at that time.

Burns-Homeward Bound (Harry Turtledove)

Burns points out that with many publishers taking different routes to having covers these days, there is less call for proper artists but does get a lot of private commissions and we see some samples here. He’s also now explored fantasy and mythology and can paint a neat dragon, of which there are a few samples here.

Burns-Seasons of Plenty (Colin Greenland)

If there’s only one artbook that you can afford this year, then this is the one to pick up.

GF Willmetts

September 2014

(pub: Titan Books. 176 page paperback. Price: £24.99 (UK), $34.95 (US), $39.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78116-844-8)

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