Well, thanks to Schoenherr’s work log, we can pinpoint the exact date of his first trip. Fifty years ago today - on August 7, 1963 - he was commissioned to make a cover and 18 spot illustrations for Parts 1, 2, and 3 of “Dune World” which was to be serialized in Analog Science Fact and Science Fiction starting with the December 1963 issue.
ARRAKIS - VERY DEEP BLUE SKY - MILKY SUNLIGHT - GIVES SILVERY CASTE. [sic] GRAY WINDBLOWN LEAVES CLAW-LIKE BRANCHES GRAY & BROWNAnd another sketchbook contains an early incarnation of that world.
Frequently, I have to ask myself if the artist was actually illustrating the story his work accompanied. Not so with John Schoenherr. His December cover caught with tremendous power and beauty the “Dune mood” I struggled so hard to create. It’s one of the few such works of which I’d like to have the original.According to Analog editor John W. Campbell (quoted in the same book), this cover was “Schoenherr’s sixth attempt, I believe. Getting the feeling of desolation, danger, dryness and action was not easy; he earned his pay on that one!”
Yes, a cool $250. And did Herbert wind up with the original? I’m not sure. But stay tuned for more souvenirs from these first trips to “Dune World”.
*I’m on the lookout for the precise source for this quote, though it appeared in James E. Gunn’s The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Viking, 1988).