I was searching online for Cordwainer Smith resources to help answer another question, and I came across an image of a book cover that I did not recognize.

Peculiar *Space Lords*

This is quite different from the (original) cover that I am most familiar with, which has a painting of a solar sail ship.

*Space Lords*

(A less tightly cropped version of this painting by Jack Gaughan was eventually used for the cover of The Rediscovery of Mankind.) Most covers of Smith's books are either abstract or show easily identifiable settings and characters (Alpha Ralpha Boulevard, the gem planet, or the Goonhogo's colonization of Venus, for examples). However, I cannot figure out what the top cover for Space Lords shows.

The collection (usually) contains five stories from the Rediscovery period: "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons," "The Dead Lady Of Clown Town," "Drunkboat," "The Ballad Of Lost C'Mell," "A Planet Named Shayol." Yet I cannot see what the cover has to do with any of them. So does this picture actually represent anything from Smith's writings? Or was the illustrator just riffing on the name "Space Lords"?

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    I'd bet your last statement sums things up. Cover artists are often commissioned for this sort of thing with little or no understanding about the book's contents. Especially considering the book itself may not have been finished at the time, having anything more than a title or high-level synopsis of the story is often the most the artist would get. – Vanguard3000 May 11 '18 at 14:01
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    Yeah. The publisher commissions this stuff, and maybe runs it past the author later. Dresden Files is at least one example (Harry Dresden never wore a hat, but publishes apparently stated wizard PI = fedora) where the author lampshaded it in text, and the cover artist and the author traded words and decided to keep the running joke going. – Radhil May 11 '18 at 14:15

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