(1955- ) US painter, illustrator and author, active from the late 1970s. His work, which has appeared widely, is conspicuously painterly; though he is entirely capable of creating dynamic "action" Superheroes flexing their musculature in the usual fashion, his landscape-dominated vistas, with their traditional (if heightened) use of perspective, are perhaps more reminiscent of the work of a similarly painterly illustrator like N C Wyeth (1882-1945) than contemporary workers such as Boris Vallejo. Authors for whom he has executed covers include Ted Chiang, Lisa Goldstein, Robert E Howard, Jay Lake, Ken Scholes, Charles Stross and Gene Wolfe, among others.
Manchess is of specific sf interest for Above the Timberline (2017), a tale set in a Ruined Earth America about 1500 years into the future, after a series of twenty-first century planetary Disasters, caused by precipitate Climate Change, have first generated the expected global warming, then through a (rather implausibly explained) "Pole Shift" have caused a new ice age, with the old temperate zones becoming polar. Deep under the ice, an explorer has begun to uncover transfigured relics of a great buried City (see Ruins and Futurity); his son soon follows in search of his now-lost father, is befriended by sentient polar bears, falls in love, is harassed by a Villain from New York. The tale is perhaps most remarkable for a subtle interplay between text and illustration, which almost but not quite ever slides into the interactive conventions of the Graphic Novel. Manchess's haunting depictions of the ice-age polar regions that dominate the tale, almost all of them double-page, are very much the heart of the enterprise. [JC]
born Kentucky: 1955
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