(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1970 edition of You Will Never Be The Same (1963), Cordwainer Smith)
“Now I shall tell of the city of Zenobia, which is wonderful in this fashion: though set on dry terrain it stands on high pilings, the houses are of bamboo and zinc, with many platforms and balconies placed on stilts at various heights, crossing one another, linked by ladders and hanging sidewalks, surmounted by cone-roofed belvederes, barrels storing water, weather vanes, jutting pulleys, and fishpoles and cranes” — Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities, 1972, pg. 35)
Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities has a choice place on my living room bookshelf next to various Saramago and Pynchon novels. Whenever I pick it up I’m immediately immersed in intense nostalgia, I see my father reading it on the sofa, I remember paging through the piles of his students’ Calvino inspired photo-essay submissions, I even hear him discussing Calvino’s allegorical flights of fancy at the dinner table — the joys of the growing up with Architecture professor parents!
As a result, I love whenever fantastic cities (often with allegorical undertones) proliferate the covers and pages of science fiction and fantasy. I revel in the descriptions of the conglomerate every changing city that floats around the Pacific Ocean in Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash (1992), The City of Dreadful Night in Delany’s Nova (1968), the decaying/fungal laced-metropolis of Ambergris in Jeff VanderMeer’s Shrike: An Afterword, etc.
Continuing my theme of sci-fi covers depicting an assortment of elevated city (Part I HERE), I’ve selected a nice variety of Lehr, Ellis, Jones and Freas covers from the 1970s that hint (some more successfully than others) at unusual cityscapes.
(as always, are the books/stories worth reading? Trimble’s The City Machine (1972) has been on my list for sometime)
(Dean Ellis’ cover for the August 1978 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact)
(Dean Ellis’ cover for the November, 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact)
(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1972 edition if The City Machine (1972), Louis Trimble)
For more similar posts see my Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art Index