Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The City as Canvas, Part I
October 16, 2013 § 37 Comments
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1969 edition of Cosmic Engineers (1939), Clifford D. Simak)
The theme of this post is the future metropolis as canvas where the entire surface of the cover is arrayed and ordered by the forms and forces of the city. The city as a matrix that holds the scene unfolding amongst its spires… Richard Powers’ masterful cover for the 1969 edition of Cosmic Engineers is the perfect example. The mass of the buildings arch, indistinct, upward — causeways and platforms amongst the cityscape hold faceless humanoid forms that “look” at the viewer.
Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1956 edition of Chessboard Planet (variant title: The Fairy Chessmen) (1946), Lewis Padgett — i.e. Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore is another brilliant example. The city that fills the entire cover bends, fragments, writhes with the hero in the center. His agony is reflected in the city around him.
Gray Morrow’s cover for the Febuary 1967 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow, ed. Frederik Pohl is an archetypal cover of this theme. The almost birds-eye perspective allows the city to fill the entire frame of site. The action, in this case a high speed chase, unfolds across the cityscape. Many of the earlier pulp covers I’ve included below from many decades earlier reflect adhere to this archetype. Gray Morrow is clearly homaging these earlier pulp traditions.
What are your favorites?
Enjoy! (I have many many more SF city themed art posts — here)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1956 edition of Chessboard Planet (variant title: The Fairy Chessmen) (1946), Lewis Padgett — i.e. Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the February 1957 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Anthony Boucher)
(Stanley Melzoff’s cover for the 1954 edition of The Demolished Man (1952), Alfred Bester)
(H. Wesso’s cover for the June 1937 edition of Astounding Stories, ed. F. Orlin Tremaine)
(Earl Mayan’s cover for the 1963 edition of Doomsday Wing (1963), George H. Smith)
(Uncredited cover for the 1958 edition of Time in Advance (1958), William Tenn)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the July 1957 issue of Infinity Science Fiction, ed. Larry T. Shaw)
(Mitchell Hooks’ cover for the 1962 edition of The Immortals (1962), James Gunn)
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