Cities of Wonder, Edited by Damon Knight

Cities of Wonder, Edited by Damon Knight

This brightly colored cover is for Cities of Wonder, a collection of stories that was edited by Damon Knight and published in 1967. It features stories from authors such as Robert A. Heinlein and James Blish.

Damon Francis Knight was a prolific writer of science fiction, having published more than a dozen novels as well as a considerable number of short stories. He was also a literary critic who produced several books of criticism.

Alongside his writing, Knight was an ambitious evangelist of the speculative fiction fandom. He was the creator of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (also known by the abbreviation SFWA), as well as a co-founder of the National Fantasy Fan Federation, the Milford Writer’s Workshop, and the Clarion Writers Workshop. The SFWA’s lifetime achievement award was eventually renamed in his honor — the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

Cities of Wonder, Edited by Damon Knight - Back Cover

Though many copies of this book crop out the artist signature (including the one we’re showing here), there are copies on which the signature survived. Thus we are able to confirm this art was created by Jack Faragasso.

Faragasso is a New York artist and art instructor who has done an enormous amount of book covers (including one for FROOMB! by John Lymington). He’s also published several books on art, and he serves as Instructor Emeritus at The Art Students League of New York.

Here’s an interesting fact about Jack Faragasso: in 1952, when he was still a young art student, he hired a model for a photo shoot — some of those photos were used as references for book covers. The model was unknown at the time, but she went on to be known as “The Queen of Pin-Ups.” In case you haven’t yet figured out who this model was, it was none other than Bettie Page.

You can see more of Faragasso’s work at his website.

As for the book itself, here’s a complete list of its contents:

  • Introduction by Damon Knight
  • Single Combat by Robert Abernathy
  • Dumb Waiter by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • Jesting Pilot by Henry Kuttner
  • “It’s Great to Be Back!” by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Billenium by J. G. Ballard
  • Okie by James Blish
  • The Luckiest Man in Denv by C. M. Kornbluth
  • The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster
  • The Under-Privileged by Brian Aldiss
  • By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent BenĂ©t
  • Forgetfulness by Don A. Stuart