Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Existential Crisis

March 23, 2014 § 15 Comments

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(Uncredited cover for the 1968 edition of Operation Terror (1962), Murray Leinster)

Barry N. Malzberg’s depressed/depraved astronauts have inspired me to make a post! (unfortunately, the covers for his books do not really fit the bill).

Guy Billot’s cover for the 1975 edition of Brian Stableford’s Man in a Cage (1975) perfectly embodies the feel of existential crisis—man, hemmed in by a single red line, raises his arms against the star-studded sky in anguish.  The nature of the crisis is left oblique.  I have selected a variety of covers that convey—with varying degrees of success/precision—this same mental state.

I admit that some might not fit the bill exactly—for example, in the uncredited « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Visualizing Time, Part II (time travel + sundials + the decay of eternity + time portals)

March 1, 2014 § 12 Comments

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(Walter Popp’s cover for the 1953 issue of Fantastic Story Magazine, ed. Samuel Mines)

It has been along time since I cobbled together a cover art post…

…but it’s a good one!

This is Part II of my Visualizing Time sequence—if you haven’t seen it already check out Part I.  And in Part II we have a standoff across time with your primitive ancestors, decay and the hourglass, rewriting America’s racist past, the sundial as an arena for an epic showdown with an alien, jumping through cave paintings (a metaphor « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Space Station, Part IV

January 15, 2014 § 12 Comments

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(Uncredited cover for the 1963 edition of The Changeling Worlds (1959), Kenneth Bulmer)

Part IV of my space station themed sequence (Part IPart IIPart III)–if you have not yet checked them out I recommend you do.

Vincent Di Fate is the master of space station art.  They are hyper realistic and detailed.  Although I definitely prefer his earlier surrealist work (for example, here) there is a certain appeal to more technical depictions of future space technology.  However, my favorite of the handful Di Fate pieces I cobbled together is his for the 1975 edition of The Other Side of Tomorrow (1973)—the screens are windows into the future, and a space station is featured prominently.  I sort of enjoy Bob Eggleton’s cover for the 1993 Italian edition of To Open the Sky (1967) as well—although I suspect the cover was published on an English language book earlier, « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Fractured Bodies (unraveling, decaying, [de]constructing)

December 8, 2013 § 31 Comments

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(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1979 edition of Crompton Divided (variant title: The Alchemical Marriage of Alistair Crompton) (1978), Robert Sheckley)

Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1979 edition of Robert Sheckley’s Crompton Divided (1978) was the inspiration for this post.  I found the cover many years ago while looking through Lehr’s entire (mostly brilliant catalogue) and was intrigued.  The man, comprised of puzzle-like pieces that slowly morph into the swirls of his clothes, stares at us with hybridized eyes — a planet, a pupil — while one missing puzzle piece allows the viewer a glimpse of a barren landscape.  His brain, entirely a puzzle, is complete, but are his senses crumbling?

 Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1971 edition of Larry Niven’s collection All the Myriad Ways (1971) is even more fantastic — the puzzle pieces (bones, faces, limbs) dangle in the air « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Diagrammatic Wonders (alien sand art + planning invasions + and other more mysterious formulations), Part I

November 21, 2013 § 18 Comments

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(Virgil Finlay’s cover for the April 1957 issue of Fantastic Universe, ed. Hans Stefan Santesson)

At first glance this is a miscellaneous collection of covers on diagrammatic wonders — the aliens (or “advanced” humans) on Virgil Finlay’s cover for the April 1957 issue of Fantastic Universe conjure an image of earth with colored sand, generals plot invasions via maps and other diagrams depicting troop movements….

While some of the covers are themselves diagrams (Christopher Zacharow’s cover for the 1985 edition of Ancient of Days (1985), Michael Bishop) others place their characters in opposition to each other as pieces « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Eye[s] in the Sky, Part II

October 31, 2013 § 21 Comments

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(Peter Goodfellow’s cover for the 1979 edition of The Moment of Eclipse (1970), Brian Aldiss)

Make sure to take a peek at Part I if you enjoyed this collection!

In Part I I described how I was inspired by Ed Valigursky’s stunning and powerful cover — with its giant eye, running figures, and perspective lines drawn across the artificial field heightening the tension — to look through my image collection and find similar examples.  Since I made the last post I’ve collected quite a few more examples (from my own collection and image collections online) along similar lines.

Mitchell Hooks’ cover for the 1958 edition of The Big Eye (1949) by Max Ehrlich has long been one of my favorite covers and it has cropped up in various posts over the years….  The uncredited cover for the 1969 edition of The Cosmic Eye « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The City as Canvas, Part I

October 16, 2013 § 37 Comments

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(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” « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Vaguely Defined Looming Man Shape

October 8, 2013 § 17 Comments

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(Uncredited cover for the 1961 edition of Earth Abides (1949), George R. Stewart)

Note: if anyone can identify the artist for the first three downright spectacular covers I’d be very very happy.  I’m positive that they match stylistically (the vague human shape, the cityscape, the brush strokes, the textures).  Two of the three covers were made for Signet press and all three are from the early 1960s.  I suspect if I perused the covers from the Signet catalogue from that era I’d find even more….  Perhaps it’s the work of Sanford Kossin?  He was producing covers for Signet around the same time.

And now The Vaguely Defined Looming Man Shape « Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Crashed Spaceships, Part II

September 16, 2013 § 14 Comments

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(Earle Bergey’s cover for the February 1953 issue of Science Fiction Adventures, ed. Philip St. John — i.e. Lester del Rey)

Make sure to take a peek at Part I if you haven’t already.

Crashed spaceships!  Our heroes forced to trek across desolate landscapes, fight giant robots, and evil aliens….  Or, aliens stumble from the wreckage of their flying saucers — unusual green matter emanates while the flames reach ever upward.  I suspect that if I were a kid in the era of pulp SF magazines I would have snatched everyone with a crashed spaceship regardless of the often dubious contents.

I am generally no fan of Kelly Freas but his cover for the July 1957 issue of Science Fiction Stories, is one of my favorite action/adventure type SF covers.  Unusual aliens on the back of a massive turtle alien swimming through lava « Read the rest of this entry »

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