Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Inside the Skull (rats + women + sword fights + robotic circuits + space)
August 31, 2012 § 26 Comments
(Ebel’s cover for the 1953 issue of Space Science Fiction)
Previous art explorations which looked at disembodied brains and visualizations of the ultra-intelligent set the stage for this post. Imagine skulls without brains: sometimes metaphorically, but often, literally hollow skull cavities that hold a vast array of mechanical devies and living captives. Or, the reader is gifted a voyeuristic peek into the skulls of bodies masquerading as humans but in reality, a mesh of circuits or a metal sheen operates those beautiful limbs and terrifying weapons….
My favorite is by far the pulp goodness of Ebel’s cover (if anyone knows the full name of this artist please let me know) for the 1953 issue of Space Science Fiction. The gorgeous heroine is held captive in gigantic stone heads with partially glass skulls — a robot that fails to conjure any menace stomps in the background across the expanse of a barren outer planet.
Another intriguing cover is the uncredited 1969 edition of The Asylum World (1969). In this incredibly disturbing vision of insanity we stare into the hollow emptiness of the mouth that opens out into a dark, mostly obscured, landscape beyond.
Although I’m generally not a fan of Kelly Freas, his pulp cover for the August 1955 issue of Fantastic Universe is also effective — a menacing machine peals away the skin exposing the brain of its hapless victim (well, in this case, the metal monster is a doctor robot).
(Edward Valigursky’s cover for the March 1956 issue of Amazing Stories)
(Robert A. Osborne’s cover for the 1963 issue of Assignment Luther (1963), Lan Right)
(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1972 issue of The Naked Sun (magazine 1956), Isaac Asimov)
(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition of Childhood’s End (1953), Arthur C. Clarke)
(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition of New Writings in SF-22 (1974), ed. Kenneth Bulmer)
(David Bergen’s cover for the 1975 edition of The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe (variant title: The Unsleeping Eye) (1974), D. G. Compton)
(Uncredited cover for the 1972 edition of Mindmix (1972), Leo P. Kelley)
(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1973 edition of Mindmix (1972), Leo P. Kelley)
(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition of The Asylum World (1969), John Jakes)
(David Plourde’s cover for the 1978 edition of On Wheels (1973), John Jakes)
(Uncredited cover for the 1964 edition of When They Came From Space (1962), Mark Clifton)
(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1977 edition of Herovit’s World (1973), Barry N. Malzberg)
(Davis Meltzer’s cover for the 1972 edition of Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964), Philip K. Dick)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the August 1955 issue of Fantastic Universe)
(Arnold Kohn’s cover for the May 1950 issue of Amazing Stories)
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