Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Infernal Machines

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition of The Stars Will Judge (1974), Irving A. Greenfield)

There are manifold possibilities for the infernal machine unraveling beneath the streets or inhabiting entire planets — it could construct simulacra, infiltrate spaceships with insinuating metal tentacles, conduct experiments, terraform the soil, create new life, manipulate politicians, cause natural disasters — technology gone mad, endlessly proliferating…  The dangers of technology, or technology in the hands of nefarious individuals is by far one of the most popular themes of science fiction.  I cannot count how many Star Trek episodes, novels, movies, and other television shows examine these scenarios — innumerable, it goes without saying.

I’ve chosen a wonderful collection of science fiction cover art with replete with a variety of infernal machines: the fear inducing robot on the cover of The Stars Will Judge, the many-limbed man attacking contraption in Rendezvous on a Lost World, the towering mass of The Killing Machine, my personal favorite — the fantastic lumbering spider-legged mechanical contrivance on the cover of Farmer in the Sky, etc.


(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1961 edition of Rendezvous on a Lost World (1961), A. Bertram Chandler)(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1964 edition of The Killing Machine (1964), Jack Vance)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1968 edition of Farmer in the Sky (1950), Robert Heinlein)

(Robert Fuqua’s cover for the March, 1943 issue of Amazing Stories)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1969 edition of Rogue Star (1968), Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson)

For related posts, Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: INDEX

10 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Infernal Machines

  1. Always love a good dose of cover art – and the process behind their creation is fascinating to watch. Plus, this selection’s a fine showing of classic sci-fi; the covers certainly reflect their decades’ style well, with the colorful dose of robotic fun.

    • Thanks for visiting! None of these novels (well, perhaps Heinlein’s Farmer in the Sky and Vance’s The Killing Machine) are considered “classics” exactly. But the artists are some of the best — I have covers here by the “big three”, Paul Lehr, Ed Emswiller, and Richard Powers.

      • My grandfather had a small collection of sci-fi paperbacks, among them the edition of The Killing Machine by Jack Vance that you have on display here. As a kid, I never did get around to reading most of those books, unfortunately, and after he passed away I’m not sure where they got off to. But my memory of that Vance book, with its sinister cover, did cause me years later to read a collected edition of The Demon Princes stories by Vance, which included that one. Interesting to see that old cover again after all these years, and to find out who the artist was. I’m unfamiliar with Richard Powers, but I’ll look through your blog archives to see if you have other examples of his work.

Comment! Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.