Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Hoot von Zitzewitz’s Fantastic Flights of Fancy

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1967 edition of The Winged Man (1966), A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull)

In the 1960s the sci-fi covers of the major publishers Dell, Berkley Medallion, Signet, Avon, Ace (etc) ran the gamut from Richard Powers’ avant-garde landscapes and conglomerate faces to the fantastic collages of a relatively unknown artist by the name of Hoot von Zitzewitz (Hubertus Octavio von Zitzewitz).

I’ve cobbled together a few bits of a biography (if any one knows some more concrete facts let me know).  He was a fine arts teacher at Hofstra University and passed away around 2002.  Hoot worked as a freelance artists and art director in New York City and often painted scenes of Long Island and Upstate New York (in stunning contrast to his 60s covers which conjure outrageous flights of fantasy).

His art graces the covers of the masters: Philip K. Dick, Edgar Pangborn, Robert Heinlein, James Blish, Fritz Lieber… Sadly, he only produced covers during the 60s and only a handful at that (I’ve discovered that some are not accredited to him so there are probably more than).

I’ve included a selection of his best!

I’ve read Leiber’s The Big Time, Dick’s Counter-Clock World, and Heinlein’s Farnham’s Freehold — are the others worth reading? I’m particularly intrigued by the fascinating premise of van Vogt and Hull’s The Winged Man (above): “The crew of the submarine Sea Serpent and the submarine itself are taken by a strange winged man to the year 24,999, where a war is going on between the winged men and gigantic fishmen living under the sea.”

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1968 edition of Future Tense (1968), edited Richard Curtis)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1966 edition of West of the Sun (1953), Edgar Pangborn)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1967 edition of Shock Wave (1966),Walt and Leigh Richmond)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1967 edition of Computer War (1967), Mack Reynolds)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1965 edition of Farnham’s Freehold (1964), Robert Heinlein)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1966 edition of Worlds for the Taking (1966), Kenneth Bulmer)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover the 1962 edition of Shards of Space (1962), Robert Sheckley)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1966 edition of Titans’ Daughter (1966), James Blish)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1967 edition of The Big Time (1958), Fritz Leiber)

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for 1967 the edition of Counter-Clock World (1967), Philip K. Dick)

For similar posts and artists….

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art INDEX

5 Replies to “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Hoot von Zitzewitz’s Fantastic Flights of Fancy”

  1. I’ve got a copy of the Shard’s of Space volume… my father apparently picked it up back when it was first released (long interesting story that has nothing to do with your post).

    Funny enough though, I never cared much for Zitzewitz’s covers until recently. I put it down to my lack of artistic understanding and experience. They are still not my favories, but I appreciate them much more now.

    1. I actually only like the first image (The Winged Man) and second (Future Tense) I posted. Two of my favorites…. The others get an ‘ehh’ from me — but they are definitely avante-garde and interesting.

      1. I thought I’d responded to that… sorry.

        It’s okay. Its an anthology, so as with any such work, it is a bit of a mixed bag. The book belonged to my father, who never read Sci Fi, so I asked him about it.

        He said he’d picked it up because Sheckely had been a Professor of Chemistry (?I think?) at John’s Hopkins while my father was there. He was greatly impressed by anyone who could succeed in two fields at the same time, so he sat in on a lecture and bought one of his books.

        I read it not long ago and enjoyed it, but wouldn’t put it on my must read list.

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