Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Best of Alex Schomburg’s 50s Novel Covers
September 5, 2011 § 119 Comments
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1955 edition of Secret of the Martian Moons (1955), Donald A. Wollheim)
Spontaneously conjure with but a meer glance — Excitement! Wonder! Adventure!
The best of the covers of old 50s/60s juveniles (sci-fi for younger readers) always stirs the recumbent inklings of adolescent wonder… Intrepid boy/men (sadly, rarely women) trek across the “expanses” of the space — rarely expansive, more like puddle jumping from planet to planet with the phrase, “and the hyperdrive shook the ship but John wasn’t afraid because he had once ridden a farm cart with one of them spooked horses back home in Smalltown, US of A” — discovering planets, setting up colonies, angering some weird looking locals…
And the inevitable…
“Son, reach out, get an education, learn some math, I’ve done all I can, get in that little tin can with those funky fins and see the world. I’ll always love you.”
The worst covers often suggest a serious case of gastrointestinal disorder, collies, and little boys doing the chainsaw — see for yourself (the last image of this post).
Alex Schomburg’s sci-fi art ranks among the greats. I’ve selected from his small group of 50s science fiction covers. I thought it might be illuminative since the majority of his work graced magazines (Starling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction, etc).
I’ve not read a majority of these novels besides Clarke’s wonderful (albeit, lacking a central conflict) Islands in the Sky (1952) so I’d love to know if any are worth finding/reading.
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1952 edition of Son of the Stars (1952), Raymond F. Jones)
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1952 edition of Islands in the Sky (1952), Arthur C. Clarke)
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1953 edition of Rocket to Luna (1953), Richard Marsten i.e. Evan Hunter)
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1954 edition of Trouble on Titan (1954), Alan E. Nourse)
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1956 edition of Mission to the Moon (1956), Lester del Rey)
And the horrible cover I promised (thankfully, NOT one of Schomburg’s)… I can’t find mention of the artist of this piece of drivel.
(Cover for the 1967 edition of The Space Olympics (1967), A. M. Lightner)