Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BiblioFile: Luis Barnavelt I Widmo Z Muzeum Magii

We’re about due for another stirring of the pot that is the Polish editions of the Lewis Barnavelt series. Yes, we’re going about these very gradually because too much głupota tends to wear us (and our readers) down.

Who says history doesn’t repeat? As with our two previous posts, the Polish edition of The Specter from the Magician’s Museum was released by Amber in 2001, and like the previous book we highlighted this title appears to have had two different covers. As with all covers in the eight-book series, none of them make any sense and have no connection to the story.

Case in point: the published cover features a very malevolent spirit materializing from a lit fireplace. At first glance or from a distance the very thing appears to make sense: how many of John Bellairs’ books feature ghosts, evil spirits, and their ilk? Most of ‘em, right? Then you start to recall that Brad Strickland wrote this book and the wraparound dust-jacket on the American hardcover edition features that ball-with-eyes thing on the front and a rather large spider on the reverse. R-i-i-i-ght, you start to recall: this one featured a lot of spider imagery. Webs. Venom. No Jessica Drew but you get the idea. One then may notice that the fireplace behind the ghost has stockings hanging from the mantle, there are wrapped boxes on the floor, and what looks like a nutcracker is hiding off to the right. What is this – a bloody scene out of A Christmas Carol?

This is the second version of the cover, or at least the finalized version that was published. The Amber website originally featured other artwork, artwork that sort of made sense. Two kids – a girl that could pass off as a contemporary Rose Rita and a boy that could pass off as someone pretending to be Michael Brick wearing a purple shirt – are crouched over the floor. Light from a flashlight shines on the floor, which the girl is interested in, while the boy has jerked his head upward and seems scared or shocked about something. We figure it has something to do with the immense, ghostly head that radiates from behind him. It reminds us of a scene out of House where Lewis and Tarby raise the dead – but this isn’t House, that isn’t Tarby, and so on.

Inside the book we see Edward Gorey’s frontispiece has been maintained and the city Lewis Luis lives in is spelled Nowy Zebedeusz. Unlike the previous book we commented on (Luis Barnavelt List, Pierscien I Czarodziejka), Rose Rita is referred to here as Ritę Pottinger (not Rita). Similarly, the back cover of this book does not feature itself or The Ghost in the Mirror in the thumbnail images of other books in the series.

Three down, five more to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's Rita, in polish we have declination so it's another form of the same word! And Zebedeusz is a polonized version of the name of the city, it doesn't bother at all.