Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Spherical Spaceships, Spherical Aliens, Unidentified Spheres

(Walter Popp’s cover for the August 1952 issue of Fantastic Adventures)

The sphere — as a manifestation of the perfectly round geometrical shape or replete with various derivations and modifications (tentacles, slight elongations, eye sockets, limbs both fleshly or mechanical) — holds a particular fascination for sci-fi artists and authors.  The possibilities are endless: spherical aliens, spherical ocean descent vehicles, spherical spaceships, spherical robotic doctors, wizards levitating spherical objects, and spherical legged war vehicles…

I’ve selected a delightful variety of these spherical manifestations.  In my favorite (above) female scientists alternately shout about, gaze at, and document descending spheres — Walter Popp’s fantastic cover conveys unbridled enthusiasm and wonder.  I find the menacing mass of a crumpling spheroid downright frightening in Emshwiller’s visual feast of a cover for Andre Norton’s The Defiant Ones!


What are your favorites?

(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1963 edition of The Defiant Agents (1962), Andre Norton)

(Hubert Rogers’ cover for the April 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction)

(John Schoenherr’s cover for the January 1973 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact)

(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1967 edition of Against the Fall of Night (1948), Arthur C. Clarke)

(Robert Fuqua’s cover for the March 1939 issue of Amazing Stories)

(Leo Morey’s cover for the March 1935 issue of Amazing Stories)

(Uncredited cover for the 1965 edition of Crashing Suns (collection published 1965, stories from the late 20s/30s), Edmond Hamilton)

(Leo Morey’s cover for the February 1936 issue of Amazing Stories)

(Clifford N. Geary’s cover for the 1956 edition of Time for the Stars (1956), Robert A. Heinlein)

(Uncredited cover for the April 1952 issue of Fantastic Story Magazine)

(John Schoenherr’s cover for the November 1962 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact)

17 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Spherical Spaceships, Spherical Aliens, Unidentified Spheres

  1. Cool – who knew the simple sphere was so futuristic/space age? I’m relatively new to anything sci-fi… and it seems like I have a lot of reading to do! Your blog looks like a good place to start 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words. My blog usually has a lot more book reviews but I’ve had a busy end of the semester (last chunk of PhD coursework — yay!). Well, my reviews tend to be along the more esoteric edges of science fiction — the lesser known works, authors, etc. if you’re new to the genre check out the Hugo Award lists for best Novel 🙂

  2. Perry Rhodan has spherical spaceships with an equatorial circumferential ring that incorporates conical thrust engines for easy navigation. And telescopic landing gear protruding from the lower hemisphere. 🙂

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 )

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.