Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Vincent Di Fate’s early 70s Covers

(Cover for the 1972 edition of Plunder (1972), Ron Goulart)

The covers of Vincent Di Fate (1945-) often evoke a Terry Gilliam-esque romp — for example, Ron Goulart’s Plunder — a lone facade and a house dot a purple and green plain, mountains emerge in the distance, planets pepper the sky, a head floats ominously, a bizarre reptilian creature in a boatie rides an antique bicycle.  I desperately want to know if it’s a scene from the book.  If so, I’m tracking down a copy!

Vincent Di Fate’s work graced a few of the great works of the genre — Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go and The Dark Design, Herbert’s DuneDune Messiah, and Children of Dune.  But generally, he designed the covers of the lesser known works of the famous authors — for example, Simak’s Cemetery World, Van Vogt’s The Man With a Thousand Names, and Niven and Gerrold’s The Flying Sorcerers.

Here’s an illustrative selection of his best from the early 1970s.  Enjoy!

(as always, are the books worth reading?  — I’ve read Shaw’s Ground Zero Man, Herbert’s The Godmakers, and Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go)

(Cover for the 1974 edition of The Man with a Thousand Names (1974), A. E. Van Vogt)

(Cover for the 1972 edition of Timetracks (1972), Keith Laumer)

(Cover for the 1972 edition of The Flying Sorcerers (serialized 1970), Larry Niven and David Gerrold)

(Cover for the 1971 edition of Ground Zero Man (1971), Bob Shaw)

(Cover for the 1972 edition of The Godmakers (1972), Frank Herbert)

(Cover for the 1971 edition of Death Cell (1971), Rob Goulart)

(Cover for the 1973 edition of To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971), Philip José Farmer)

(Cover for the 1973 edition of The Orchid Cage (1973), Herbert W. Franke)

(Cover for 1973 edition of Cemetery World (serialized 1972), Clifford D. Simak)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art Index

18 Replies to “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Vincent Di Fate’s early 70s Covers”

  1. It’s not a top hat…it’s a boatie…. other than that, I love the cover art you’ve been putting up. It always brings a smile, and usually makes me start thinking about the social-psychological significance of things like, say the recurring use of disembodied heads…

      1. And now I see that my last comment on my comment didn’t post for a long time after I’d written it…. doh! Now it looks like…. oh forget it. You took my comment as it was meant anyway…. heavy sigh

  2. I read Cemetary World some years ago. I don’t remember it very well, but I remember liking it fine. it has the same kind of sad tone as most of the Simak I have read– Man’s greatest days are long behind him, robots, animals and aliens are better people than humans, etc. I’d say it is worth a read if you already know what Simak is all about and like him, or if you don’t know what Simak is all about and are curious.

    Old SF paperbacks like Cemetary World are short and affordable, so even if you don’t like one, it is not like you’ve thrown away a substantial portion of your life and income, like if you buy one of the current new paperbacks, which are like 8 bucks and 800 pages.

    1. Yup, I’ve read Cemetery World — I guess I forgot to point that out in the post — oops. I’ve read probably 8 or so of Simak’s novels — they are an acquired taste but he’s quite interesting and original. Cemetery World was one of my favorites of his — besides the hillbillies, haha!

      What’s your favorite of his?

  3. A Heritage of Stars is probably my favorite Simak; I don’t remember it very well, but I remember enjoying it. I should reread it. The City and A Choice of Gods were pretty good. I didn’t care for Time is the Simplest Thing.

    The one line synopsis of Special Deliverance on Wikipedia makes me want to read that one. I think I may have read it when I was a kid, when it was new, but I remember zero about it.

    1. A Heritage of Stars is in my to read soon pile — I enjoyed The City, tolerated Way Station, hated Cosmic Engineers (his first book), disliked THe Goblin Reservation (I think, I read that one multiple years back), I seem to remember A Choice of Gods but I’m not sure. I read part of Time and Again — I should pick it up again. I’ve not read Special Deliverance — I tend to stay away from 80s works.

  4. Great covers, but I do get the vague sense many of them could be swapped around without anyone noticing.

    I love Simak. I’ve read loads by him, possibly most but he was prolific so it’s hard to be certain. Way Station would be my somewhat predictable favourite.

    1. I agree. At least To Your Scattered Bodies Go has scattered bodies 😉 I doubt the contents of the work pair up that well with the covers — hehe. For example, Cemetery World doesn’t have a cemetery or the multi-medium art creating machine (the main subject of the work).

      Well, it’s because Way Station is a good book. For example, I completely forgot in my list of Simak I’ve read that City is probably his best (and most famous) — and for good reason.

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