Here's to you, Richard Powers
And yet despite his mighty influence on the trajectory of sf cover art for the 50's, 60's and beyond, Powers was never formally recognized by any of sf's major accolades, including the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. I'm not an expert on Powers, and his career long preceded mine, but I suspect he probably didn't care much about awards. So perhaps it didn't matter to him that the field for which he gave so much, never formally recognized his body of work.
Fast forward to 2007 -- I was asked to be one of the judges for the Science Fiction Hall of Fame's 2008 class of inductees. I was not only honored to be in the company of my fellow judges, but delighted to make the case for Richard Powers. He wasn't inducted by me. He was inducted by our whole team, as were the other inductees, which were sometimes fiercely, but thoughtfully debated. It was a team effort -- Charles Stross, Ellen Datlow, Nancy Kress, Michael Cassutt, Ellen Asher, Robin Wayne Bailey, and me; that was this year's judging crew. Congrats to all of this year's inductees and their families; I was proud and humbled to be part of this process. Richard Powers -- wherever you are -- as of June 21, 2008, you'll forevermore be a Science Fiction Hall of Famer, the formal recognition your work deserved all these years, and will now deservedly have.
(pictured above: Richard Powers' cover illustration for Edmund Hamilton's THE STAR OF LIFE)