I’m putting this out to the universe: I’d buy a coffee table book that presented all the cover art of Robert A. Heinlein’s thirty-odd novels. And by that I mean the many, many editions printed (and reprinted) from the 1940s to the late 1980s.
The length of Heinlein’s writing career, and the many, many reprints created a virtual history of different styles of science ficiton cover art through the 20th century. But by keeping the coffee table book dedicated to the cover art made for Heinlein’s books, it keeps the focus tight and will accentuate how art changed from decade to decade — illustrating how the very same books were interpreted by different artists through the decades.
The challenge in putting together this book would be in getting the covers loaned from members of the RAH Society (in order to scan them and clean them), and the related task of tracking down the copyrights. But it could be done. Naturally this book needs to be entirely in color or there’s no point. And perhaps the covers should be limited to the US and UK editions.
I’ve seen coffee table books of worse ideas than this.
I remember clearly that posters of the cover art for “Friday” (1982) were being sold at a science fiction convention I attended back in the early 1980s, so chances are that in addition to reproducting the actual covers, this coffee table book could also present a few of the original paintings without the title info. Chances are the original paintings or slides for the last batch of books Heinlein wrote still exist in their sans text form – Friday (1982), Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984), The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985), To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987).
Maybe I should do this.