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An ode to the glorious ’70s cover art of the books of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Emily Temple

October 21, 2021, 10:00am

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Ursula K. Le Guin, legendary author of speculative fiction, intelligent thinker on gender-neutral language, and one-time owner of this gorgeous house. As a result, I have been re-reading my very old, hand-me-down copy of A Wizard of Earthsea (the 1975 Bantam edition), and every time I see it sitting around the house, I think: they don’t make book covers like this anymore. Thusly inspired, I took to the Internet Speculative Fiction database to page my way through all of the weirdest and best art to have graced the covers of Le Guin’s books in the ’70s—and decided to share it with you here. P.S. Yes, I cheated and started at 1968. However, this is my blog and I will do what I want. Enjoy.

A Wizard of Earthsea, first edition, cover art by Ruth Robbins (1968)

The Left Hand of Darkness, cover art by Diane Dillon and Leo Dillon for Ace Books (1969)

The Left Hand of Darkness, cover art by Jack Gaughan for Walker & Co. (1969)

A Wizard of Earthsea, cover art by Leo Dillon for Ace Books (1970)

The Tombs of Atuan, cover art by Gail Garraty for Atheneum (1971)

The Lathe of Heaven, cover art by Carl Berkowitz for Charles Scribner’s Sons (1971)

The Left Hand of Darkness, Dutch edition, cover art by Eloy Viktor for Meulenhoff (1971)

The Left Hand of Darkness, Italian edition, cover art by Mariella Anderlini for Libra Editrice (1971)

Planet of Exile, cover art by Josh Kirby for Ace Books (1971)

The Farthest Shore, cover art by Gail Garraty for Atheneum / Junior Literary Guild (1972)

The Left Hand of Darkness, cover art by Josh Kirby for Ace Books (1972)

Rocannon’s World, cover art by Michael Leonard for Ace Books (1972)

Rocannon’s World, cover art by Peter Goodfellow for Tandem (1972)

Planet of Exile, cover art by Peter Goodfellow for Tandem (1972)

City of Illusions, cover art by Chris Foss for Panther (1973)

The Lathe of Heaven, cover art by Charles Moll for Avon (1973)

Planet of Exile, Dutch edition, cover art by Alfons Koppelman (1973)

The Left Hand of Darkness, cover art by Colin Hay for Panther (1973)

The Lathe of Heaven, cover art by Colin Hay for Panther (1974)

The Lathe of Heaven, Dutch edition, cover art by Alfons Koppelman (1974)

The Dispossessed, first edition cover art by Fred Winkowski for Harper & Row (1974)

A Wizard of Earthsea, cover art by Brian Hampton for Puffin (1974)

The Left Hand of Darkness, German Edition, cover art by Karel Thole for Heyne (1974)

The Lathe of Heaven, German Edition, cover art by Karel Thole for Heyne (1974)

A Wizard of Earthsea, Dutch edition, cover art by Bart van Erkel for Het Spectrum (1974)

The Tombs of Atuan, Dutch Edition, cover art by Bart van Erkel for Het Spectrum (1974)

The Farthest Shore, Dutch Edition, cover art by Bart van Erkel for Het Spectrum (1974)

Rocannon’s World, Dutch Edition, cover art by Bart van Erkel for Het Spectrum (1974)

The Dispossessed, Dutch Edition, cover art by Bart van Erkel for Het Spectrum (1975)

The Left Hand of Darkness, cover art by Alex Ebel for Ace Books (1974)

Planet of Exile, cover art by Alex Ebel for Ace Books (1974)

City of Illusions, cover art by Alex Ebel for Ace Books (1974)

The Dispossessed, cover art by Alex Ebel for Avon (1975)

A Wizard of Earthsea, cover art by David Smee for Puffin (1975)

The Tombs of Atuan, cover art by David Smee for Puffin (1975)

The Farthest Shore, cover art by David Smee for Puffin (1975)

The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, cover art by Patricia Saville Voehl for Harper & Row (1975)

A Wizard of Earthsea, cover art by Pauline Ellison for Bantam Books (1975)

The Tombs of Atuan, cover art by Pauline Ellison for Bantam Books (1975)

The Farthest Shore, cover art by Pauline Ellison for Bantam Books (1975)

The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, cover art by Pauline Ellison for Bantam Books (1976)

Orsinian Tales, cover art by Muriel Nasser for Harper & Row (1976)

The Dispossessed, German Edition, cover art by Karel Thole for Heyne (1976)

Orsinian Tales, cover art by Pauline Ellison for Bantam Books (1977)

Earthsea, cover art by Tudor Humphries for Gollancz (1977)

Rocannon’s World, no artist credited, Harper & Row (1977)

Rocannon’s World, German edition, cover art by Paul Lehr for Heyne (1978)

Three Hainish Novels, cover art by Jack Woolhiser, design by John Lisco for Nelson Doubleday / SFBC (1978)

Planet of Exile, cover art by Terry Oakes for Tandem (1978)

The Dispossessed, cover art by Tony Roberts for Panther / Granada (1975)

Planet of Exile, cover art by Dan Sneberger for Harper & Row (1978)

City of Illusions, cover art by Dan Sneberger for Harper & Row (1978)

The Earthsea Trilogy, cover art by Jonathan Field for Penguin Books (1979)

The Left Hand of Darkness, Hungarian edition, cover art by Varga Pál for Kozmosz Könyvek (1979)

A Wizard of Earthsea, first German edition, cover art by Jürgen Rogner for Heyne (1979)

The Tombs of Atuan, German Edition, cover art by Jürgen Rogner for Heyne (1979)

The Farthest Shore, German Edition, cover art by Jürgen Rogner for Heyne (1979)

The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, German edition, cover art by Maxfield Parrish for Nymphenburger (1980)

The Left Hand of Darkness, cover art by Dan Sneberger for Harper & Row (1980)

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