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